In case you have not reading the news (let’s face it, a LOT of us haven’t been reading the news lately), there’s a huge happening coming up! A complete solar eclipse. Why is this eclipse so special? Well it’s special for Americans because it is an eclipse that crosses most of the continental United States, stretching all the way from Oregon to South Carolina. The last time an eclipse passed through the entire contiguous United States, it was 1918. If you are in the U.S., here’s everything you need to know to view the solar eclipse 2017.
The next “Great American Eclipse” won’t be around until 2024, so if you haven’t made plans yet, get on it (assuming you’re near the path of totality). The path will stretch from Oregon, passing through Wyoming, a little Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, a little Iowa and Kansas and Missouri. Following that, it will continue through Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee and South Carolina. The continents of South America, Europe and Africa will be able to see a partial eclipse.
Where is the best place to go?
Colombia, SC – 2:43pm, 2 minutes, 35 seconds.
Madras, Oregon – 10:19am, 2 minutes, 4 seconds
Nashville, Tennsaee- 1:27pm, 1 minutes 57 seconds
Hopkinsville, Kentucky – 1:24pm, 1 minutes 24 seconds
Smoky Mountains National Park – 2:35pm, 1minute 17 seconds
Greenville, SC – 2:38pm, 2 minutes 10 seconds
Carbondale, Il – 1:20pm, 2 minutes 41 seconds
St. Joseph, MO – 1:06pm, 2 minutes 39 seconds
North Platte, NE – 11:45am, 1 minute, 50 seconds
Casper, WY – 11:42am, 2 minutes, 26 seconds
Snake River Valley, ID – 11:33am, 2 minutes 18 seconds
These 11 locations will have the most complete eclipses combined with the longest duration.
Where should we go?
Find the place closest to you and start investigating. Many towns across the U.S. are having Eclipse Festivals all weekend long and are preparing for a massive influx of people. Idaho is having a festival in Idaho Falls. Casper, Wyoming is having the Wyoming Eclipse Festival. South Carolina is holding Solar Eclipse Fest in Long Creek. This website will give you details on festivals across the United States. Most of the festivals have been organizing for months and will include food, drink, bands and activities. Prepare for some pretty big crowds who are out to view the 2017 solar eclipse!
Where should we stay?
Here’s where it gets tricky. Many people have had plans for months, if not a year. Hotels, VRBOs, Airbnbs…..they have all been sold out for months in towns included in the path of totality. A search on any online booking engine, such as Booking, Expedia or Orbitz will say “sold out” for basically every hotel option near the path of totality. I looked for weeks, using this strategy. No go. I also looked a VRBO and Airbnb. A one room trailer for $1500 per night? No thanks. In addition, whenever I would find a hotel, it was grossly overpriced. A Holiday Inn for $1600 per night? Ridiculous. So I tried different strategies. Looking for campgrounds. During my search, I found plenty of options. People are even renting out space in their backyards! Then I did a search on google for “Where to stay in Wyoming for Eclipse 2017.” Several different options came up! And I lucked into a super cheap motel that wasn’t raising their prices to extreme levels. Would I rather be staying in Snake River Lodge, where I’m staying the week before? Sure would! But they had sold out and only had Penthouse Suites available and they were prohibitively expensive. If you can’t find a hotel, look for camping options (a lot of them are near festivals that will have bathrooms and food options nearby), or search on google as to whether camping on public land is legal. In many states, it is.
Is day-tripping an option?
It sure is. If you’re lucky enough to be near the path of totality, do a day trip. BUT, prepare for a lot of other people to be doing the same thing. Read up on traffic predictions and plan accordingly. Leave in plenty of time. They are estimating as many as 1 million extra people in Tennessee, as much as 2 million in South Carolina and 500,000 more people in Nebraska.
How can we prepare?
Settle your lodging choice first. If you’re camping, bring the usual stuff you would bring on a camping trip – tents, sleeping bags, etc. Next, get on Amazon and buy eclipse glasses and eclipse filters for your camera if need be. Get an eclipse map so you know exactly where to be. And definitely go over how to safely view an eclipse.
Worth mentioning also…prepare by bringing extra water, snacks and blankets for traffic gridlock and huge crowds of people. Keep you gas tanks full. Many experts are saying that this is the equivalent of around 20 Woodstock Festivals happening at the same time across the United States. It has the potential to be very crowded and crazy. And some towns may simply not be prepared. So prepare for food and water shortages on your own.
Remember to bring a jacket! The temperature for those 2 minutes will drop as much as 28 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on location.
Lastly, prepare mentally. With crowds come anxiety for many people. Road rage, kids getting lost. Not enough water or food. Keep your kid’s close (write your name and phone number on their arm). Kindness and calmness will go a long way if you want to view the 2017 solar eclipse.