Top 20 places To See the Great American Solar Eclipse on August 21, 2017
The experience of being present for a total solar eclipse is so incredible, that people travel all over the world to witness this phenomenon. Beyond just a sense of awe and brilliance, a total solar eclipse brings you to an entirely new level of understanding of the cosmos and will be something that you remember throughout your lifetime.
On August 21st, 2017, the United States will be in a perfect alignment to view one of the most incredible moments within our solar system. There will be ten states that will be in the ‘path of totality’, which is the narrow corridor that allows a complete view of the total solar eclipse in all of its glory. While there are other places that you can see the solar eclipse, those will only offer a partial view. To honor each state in the path of totality, here are some of the best locations that can offer you an experience that you will never forget.
John Day Fossil Beds National Monument: Make your plans early as the National Park Service is anticipating large crowds to gather in their three units. A beautiful park, it is a popular destination and known for the array of animal and plant fossils. Although their store will sell eclipse glasses, in case they run out, it’s advised that attendees bring their own. The total solar eclipse will last around two minutes.
Madras: The Central Oregon area has a very good chance for clear skies for the eclipse. On the intersection of four highways, the small town of Madras has a lot of mobility and it isn’t that far from the larger cities of Portland and Salem for hotel reservations. Anticipate that Salem will be very busy as they are right in the center of the totality. Madras offers an exquisite view from Mt. Jefferson and visitors will be able to see the mountain peak darken seventeen seconds prior to the Moon’s shadow descending on the town. The eclipse starts on Oregon’s west coast at 10:16 PDT.
Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve: There is a synchronicity in viewing an eclipse that involves the moon within an environment that carries the name of a moon landscape. This is the second state on the path of totality and the eclipse will last about one minute.
Snake River Valley: The eclipse-chasers that specialize in their photography expertise, as well as the experts on the topic, will be heading far west. Rexburg, just north of Idaho Falls has good mobility and Hwy 95, on the Snake River, between Weiser and Marin Creek Reservoir will offer better odds for exceptionally clear skies. The totality will last just a bit over two minutes.
Idaho Falls: This is the largest city that will be in the path of totality and since it is close to Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks, visitors can enjoy the beauty and charm while having a lot of mobility. Totality will begin at 11:43 AM and will last 1 minute and forty-seven seconds.
Grand Teton National Park: This famous location is placed right in the center of the eclipse path and the breathtaking view in darkness will last up to two minutes and twenty seconds. The park rangers are providing a program for the event, and viewers will experience the beauty of the eclipse in nature and all of her glory.
Casper: This is in the centerline of the eclipse and is close to both the interstates and the parks. The diehard viewers might head to the park, but this location gives you a bit more mobility. The eclipse should enter Western Wyoming at 11:35 AM MDT.
Homestead National Monument of America: Although the total solar eclipse doesn’t occur until Monday, the park has already planned a full weekend celebration that will lead up to the moment. Called ‘Darkness over the Prairie’, their event will incorporate music, a photography workshop, and stargazing. Their gift shop will be packed with an array of souvenirs so that you can take a bit of the memory home.
The Nebraska Sandhills: If you are west of Missouri, you will have improved chances of good weather. From North Platte to Lincoln, Highway I-80 will be the main causeway for eclipse-chasers. Just south of Grand Island on I-80 will allow you to see the eclipse which will last two minutes and thirty seconds.
Leavenworth and Atchison: This state’s northeast corner will just be clipped by the solar eclipse, beginning at 1:02 CDT. Leavenworth is just a short drive from Kansas City and this town will have a full one minute thirty-two seconds of complete darkness. Atchison is another town that will experience a bit of a longer duration of the eclipse, clocking in at two minutes and seventeen seconds.
Hiawatha: On the path of totality, the town will be hosting the ‘Brown County Blackout’ event and will be supplying multiple viewing sites, live entertainment as well as food and beverages in the air conditioned community center. Remember that this is still summer and the weather will be muggy and hot.
St. Joseph: In preparation for the event, St. Joseph has planned five viewing areas. Although there are many hotels in the area, the chamber of commerce is advising people to call and book their reservations directly as there is a good chance space will be booked early.
Marshall, Columbia, and Boonville: These locations will have a good two minutes and thirty seconds of the eclipse and are not that far from Kansas City. If you are a little further southeast, you can head to Cape Girardeau which is more to the edge of the path of the eclipse than the center but will have one minute forty-one seconds of darkness.
Carbondale: Southern Illinois University has an exciting lineup entitled ‘Eclipse Crossroads of America’. One of the few places that can make the claim that they will be the center of the eclipse in both 2017 and a similar event in 2024 for the North American Eclipse.
Southern Illinois: If you want to view the eclipse surrounded by the beauty of the farm fields, head a bit south of Marion. This lets you avoid the huge crowds and delight in the calm quiet of the moment. The eclipse will pass through this areas at around 1:17 PM CDT.
Hopkinsville: This western Kentucky town will have an incredible two minutes and forty-one seconds of eclipse viewing. The timing couldn’t be more perfect as it also happens to be the celebration of the town’s fifth annual ‘Little Green Men Festival’. This was inspired by an incident in the 1950’s with a UFO event and you can be sure that there will be a lot of activities that go ‘beyond cool’.
Nashville: Very few large city’s plan on going ‘completely dark’ as the total solar eclipse occurs, but this city is one of them. The intention is to offer a spectacular view so that ‘anyone can just walk out of the door and see a total eclipse’. This is an experience that will be talked about for the next ten years.
Blue Ridge/McCaysville: This is a favorite North Georgia town with a wonderful view of the eclipse at the Lake Blue Ridge. The eclipse will begin at 1:04 PM with a partial eclipse and by 2:35 PM the total eclipse will be in view, lasting thirty-five seconds.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park: This part is in both Tennessee and North Carolina and will experience a full two minutes and twenty seconds of the totality. The park has arranged three different viewing areas including Clingmans Dome, Oconaluftee, and Cades Cove. Clingmans Dome is the park’s highest peak and will require ticket purchase. Buy them early because “you’ll have the full view around you and will be able to see the shadow of the moon below’.
Charleston: This antebellum history city is planning an incredible number of events. There are special packages that include viewing from the hotel rooftop with an astronomy instructor at the College of Charleston, to their paddle wheeler blues-and-barbeque harbor cruise.
Columbia: This is the last larger city in the path of the eclipse and it will reach the location around 2:36 PM EDT. It has lots of hotels but book ahead and remember that the weather will be hot and steamy.
Resources & More Information
For answers to 76 Frequently Asked Questions on this Solar Eclipse, Click HERE for FAQ
For Google Map of the PATH of TOTALITY across the USA, Click HERE for Solar Eclipse MAP
For State by State Information on this Solar Eclipse, Click HERE for INFO
For T-shirts, mugs, pillows, tote bags to celebrate, to commemorate, Click HERE for GEAR