Buying a telescope, especially if it is your first one, can be a challenge. Here are some guidelines and tips for finding a store and making a smart purchase.
Thinking about buying a telescope is a bit of a process because telescopes are not toys. They are scientific instruments and unless you already know a lot about telescopes you are kind of shooting in the dark when it comes to choosing one.
My first piece of advice for you is to locate a telescope store near you, or a store that has a lot of telescopes so you can look at them, talk to someone and get a hands on feel for the instruments.
Finding an actual telescope store can be a challenge and can mean a bit of a ride on a saturday or sunday but you can often find a nice selection of quality telescopes in well stocked camera stores too.
If you don't intend to actually travel to a store and just want to purchase something online I have some great advice as far as prices, manufacturers and sellers here How to buy a telescope
Some places and tips on where to buy a telescope
Shop at Walmart? They have a nice selection of quality telescopes that you can choose from. My recommendation is to stick with any telescope made by the Meade corporation. They carry scopes from other companies but I recommend you stick with Meade. They have top quality at reasonable prices. And Walmart carries a wide selection of Meade telescopes. Here is a direct link to telescopes at Walmart
Shop at Amazon.com? They have a very wide selection of telescopes and accessories. If you are an amazon shopper you will find something that is perfect. My recommendations are to stick with a scope from either Meade, Celestron, Bushnell or Orion Telescope Store at Amazon.com
Looking for an authorized store that sells telescopes and astronomy products?
Meade has a nice locator tool that will find an authorized dealer of their products here - Meade Authorized Dealer locator
Celestron Dealer Locator - To find authorized dealers of celestron products - Celestron Dealer Locator
Open DMOZ listing of Authorized telescope dealers - Listing of over 100 authorized telescope dealers.
Looking to compare prices across various stores? Bizrate has a nice search function that will find prices and show you the lowest prices on particular telescope models Bizrate