Where to Watch the Solar Eclipse in August

For the first time since 1918, the path of totality for the upcoming solar eclipse will sweep from sea to shining sea. People in a narrow path from Oregon to South Carolina will see stars in the middle of the day as the entire sun is blocked by the moon for up to 2 minutes and 40 seconds. Grab a pair of eclipse glasses and head to one of these areas on August 21 if you haven’t yet made plans.

Photo By: Chantal Anderson courtesy of Travel Oregon

Photo By: Courtesy of Visit Idaho

Photo By: Courtesy of Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce

Photo By: Courtesy of Jefferson City Convention and Visitors Bureau

Photo By: Mike Sirach via Enjoy Illinois

Photo By: Courtesy of Hopkinsville-Christian County Convention and Visitors Bureau

Photo By: Courtesy of Visit Music City

Photo By: VisitNC.com

Photo By: Courtesy of Explore Charleston

Cape Kiwanda, Oregon

The eclipse will hit U.S. land in Oregon before anywhere else, so why not hit the beach while you’re waiting for the show to start? Cape Kiwanda, in Pacific City, will get just over a minute of totality (when the silhouette of the moon completely obscures the sun). Bring your surfboard: This beach is known for its waves. 

Stanley, Idaho

Stanley, at the base of the Sawtooth Mountains, is right near the center of the path of totality, so you’ll see a longer eclipse here than in many other cities in Idaho—more than two full minutes. Stanley is close to hiking, camping (a few lucky risk-takers will score first-come, first-serve sites close to town for the eclipse), hot springs, and tons of other outdoor activities to round out the perfect long weekend.

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

With the Grand Tetons as a backdrop and the National Park squarely in the path of totality, Jackson Hole promises to be one of the most epic areas to watch the solar eclipse. The town expects to play host to more people than ever before in its history, and hotels booked up a year in advance. First-come, first-serve camping is likely your only option. Get there early: You can camp in the Jackson Ranger District of the Bridger-Teton National Forest for a maximum of five days.

Jefferson City, Missouri

Jefferson City eclipse-viewers are among some of the luckiest: They’ll watch the city plunge into darkness for nearly two minutes and 30 seconds. Few places will witness totality for longer. Watch from the steps of the Capitol, if you can arrive early enough to get a spot. This rendering anticipates the amazing view you'll get.

Southern Illinois

The path of totality barely brushes the southern tip of Illinois, but cities in its path there are in luck: they’ll see some of the longest possible eclipses, up to the maximum of 2 minutes and 40 seconds. Find some of the best viewing spots in Makanda, Alto Pass, Carbondale—where a few hotel rooms are still available—and Murphysboro.

Hopkinsville, Kentucky

With two minutes and 40 seconds of totality, Hopkinsville will also have the longest possible total eclipse, and it has nicknamed itself Eclipseville as it gets ready for the big day. You’ll be in good company if you watch the eclipse here: NASA scientists and the Chief Observer of the Vatican Observatory are expected to join.

Nashville, Tennessee

You don’t even need to leave downtown Nashville to see the eclipse, as the whole city is within the path of totality. If you haven’t picked a city or booked a room yet, you’re in luck: Nashville still had vacancy at our last count in June.

Bryson City, N.C., and Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is expecting an immense crowd, and might close roads in the park to cut down on traffic. But even if you can’t get into the park, you’ll find the same gorgeous mountain backdrop in Bryson City nearby, plus plenty of family-friendly activities throughout the weekend of the eclipse.

Charleston, South Carolina

Send off the eclipse as it leaves U.S. soil by watching from Charleston, South Carolina, which has more than a dozen viewing events planned around the city. Board the USS Yorktown, a warship-turned-museum, to watch from the harbor.

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