Living up in the Northwest, our availability of clear weather is limited to the summer, and then we have a lot of light contamination from Spokane, starting about 10 miles South of us. We are in the country, as far as the neighborhood, but not away from the city light.
I've been up in Northern British Columbia, 100 miles from anything but tiny villages, and its truly amazing what you can see on a clear night. Astrophotography would be a great hobby up there.
Light pollution doesn't have to be a problem these days. I actually shot this only a few miles from Denver, CO. The trick is using a light pollution filter. They don't work as well for galaxies (which are mostly stars, so broad band emissions), but for nebula (which are narrow band emissions), they work wonders. I use the Astronomik CLS, which is one of the better ones for blocking pollutant bands.
All of my images were shot under light polluted skies using the Astronomik filter. I'm under a yellow zone that, depending on the atmospheric particulates, often turns into an orange zone (I generally judge by whether I can see the milky way or not...if I can faintly see it, then my LP conditions are more yellow-zone, if not, then orange zone. Either way, with an LP filter, you can image under heavily light polluted skies. I know many people who image under white zones.
I agree, though, it's amazing what you can see under dark skies. There is one spot in the north western corner of Colorado that is 100% free of LP of any kind. I want to get up there sometime and see what it's like. You can very clearly see the milky way, so clearly that all the dust lanes show up to the naked eye, and all the larger Messier objects (like Andromeda, Triangulum, etc.) is also visible to the naked eye.