The best places to observe totality
You’re late if you’re just starting to plan traveling to see Aug. 21’s total eclipse, but don’t let long-overbooked hotels discourage you, said Valli Herman in the Los Angeles Times. Totality will be visible along a path from Oregon to South Carolina, and in many places you can camp under the stars the night before. The eclipse’s umbral cone, or full shadow, will make landfall in Newport, Ore., at 10:15 a.m. Pacific Time, and will complete its cross-country run near Charleston, S.C., more than 90 minutes later, at around 2:49 p.m. Eastern Time. Choices of great places to be run from coast to coast:
Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming: Tickets are still available for the Oregon Solarfest, a NASAsponsored Aug. 17–22 event in Madras that will feature live music, hot-air balloon rides, and rental gear for high-desert camping. Idaho Falls is Idaho’s biggest city in the eclipse’s path, but campers will prefer the white sands of the St. Anthony Sand Dunes. In Wyoming, Jackson Hole hotels are sold out, so consider the first come, first served camping in Grand Teton National Park.
Nebraska, Missouri, Kentucky: Nebraska will be holding eclipse events “from border to border,” and because the path of totality follows a long stretch of Interstate 80, eclipse watchers can easily chase clear skies if storms roll in. Tryon, a tiny ranching town that’s “quintessential Nebraska,” will be hosting its first big party, said Chris Christen in the Omaha World-Herald. Expect wagon prairie tours, a craft fair, and horse shows. In Missouri, residents of St. Louis and Kansas City should get to St. Joseph, on the Missouri River, said Jamie Carter in TravelAndLeisure.com. In Kentucky, Cerulean and Kelly will host festivals, and Franklin will hold a telescope-making workshop the day before the eclipse.
Tennessee, South Carolina: “For urban eclipse viewing, Nashville is spot-on,” said Laurie Wilson in The Boston Globe. All of Music City will be celebrating, while parks throughout the state will have viewing parties. Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers expansive views—and from its highest vantage points, the chance to see the moon’s shadow race toward you at 1,500 miles per hour. In Columbia, S.C., which will experience the longest total eclipse (2 minutes 36 seconds) of any East Coast city, events will include a Lowcountry boil and a “Star Wars Musiclipse” concert by the South Carolina Philharmonic. For detailed lists of events in every state, visit GreatAmericanEclipse.com. ■