On April 8, 2024, the United States will experience a total solar eclipse. While almost everyone in the U.S. will experience at least a partial solar eclipse, a few lucky states (and Canadian provinces!) are in the path of totality. This path crosses from Texas to Prince Edward Island and offers the ideal viewing experience as the sun will be completely blocked out. Plus, the closer you are to the center of the eclipse’s path—the longer your totality experience will be! Keep reading to learn how to make the most of this rare event and why 2024 solar eclipse camping should be on your radar!
Cool. A Couple Minutes of Darkness. Why is This a Big Deal?
The April 8 total solar eclipse is already being referred to as the expected largest travel day in U.S. history. Why? A few reasons. One, this is a rare event. The next eclipse won’t occur until 2045. For many, this is a once-or-twice-in-a-lifetime opportunity! Two, this could be the most spectacular natural event you witness in your life. Viewers are often reported to have very visceral reactions—crying, jumping, shouting. It’s truly an event unlike any other.
To learn more about why this eclipse is such a big deal, we spoke to astronomy and physics expert Douglas Arion, the executive director of Mountains of Stars—an organization offering astronomy-based programs and activities to help people better understand our connection with the environment.
“Eclipses, in general, occur about every 18 months. But, to see one from any particular location on earth one may have to wait 300 to 400 years! The United States is lucky—we had the 2017 total eclipse cross the country from west to east. Now, we have the 2024 total eclipse which will cross from Texas up through Maine, and pass over many very populated areas giving a large portion of the population the chance to see it. The next eclipse to touch the United States will not occur until 2045, and some areas, such as New England, won’t see one until 2079! So, you don’t want to miss this!”
Okay, we’ve established what makes the eclipse special—but what’s the optimal viewing location? Below, we review the top reasons why viewing the eclipse from a campground is the most ideal experience you could hope to have.
Avoid Day-Of Traffic
As previously mentioned—a whole lotta people are expected to travel for the total solar eclipse. Think: thousands and thousands of more people on the roads on a random Monday that aren’t ordinarily. This is exciting! It’s also a bit of a logistical nightmare. To avoid any travel headaches on your way to and from the path of totality, you can extend your stay and make a weekend out of your eclipse adventure! Book a camping spot at a campground in the path of totality and stay Friday to Tuesday to avoid clogged roads. Plus, many 2024 solar eclipse camping locations will offer exclusive promotions to encourage longer stays as well—so you’ll not only save yourself a headache, but also a pretty penny.
Experience a Natural Phenomenon in Nature
For some reason, watching the eclipse standing on a hotel room balcony (or worse, in the parking lot) just isn’t quite what most of us picture when we think about experiencing a once-in-a-lifetime natural event.
Staying at a campground is a great way to literally remove the roof over your head and experience this event in a natural setting. Campgrounds are often located in rural areas with less light pollution (many are even in dark sky territories so you could enjoy stargazing at night!).
Picture this: the fire’s roaring. S’mores are s’moring. Birds are chirping (until they’re not—did you know that some birds get confused and go to roost during the eclipse?). You’re taking deep breaths of clean air in a serene and peaceful setting and then BAM—you experience one of the most awe-inspiring events of your life. Sounds pretty beautiful to me!
Make it More Than a Moment
Another great reason to consider staying at a campground to experience the 2024 solar eclipse is that a trip allows you to create a special memory with your friends and family. Don’t settle for a midday viewing from a parking lot when you can plan a memorable experience with those you care for most!
PLUS, many campgrounds will host events to ensure campers have a fun-filled agenda outside of the eclipse’s brief few minutes. Whether it’s a guided hike, food trucks, eclipse concert or festival, or talk from a local astronomer—be on the lookout for the fun and creative ways campground owners are sure to help campers have a special time.
Save Money Without Skimping On Your Experience
Beyond the points above, camping also is a great way to plan a fun eclipse getaway without breaking the bank. Tent camping can be an especially affordable way for campers of all experience levels to experience this event. Plus, many campgrounds offer the ability to rent RVs or stay in cabins—even glamping options—at rates that are much more affordable than traditional hotel accommodations.
2024 Solar Eclipse Camping: How to Book Your Stay in the Path of Totality
Ready to find 2024 solar eclipse camping? But how do you find a campground in the path of totality?
We’ve done the work for you! Check back on April 13th for a link to our new page that will be dedicated to featuring campgrounds accepting reservations for the 2024 eclipse that are located completely within the path of totality. While most campgrounds across the country will experience a partial eclipse—these campgrounds are the most ideal spots to make the most of this special moment.
Be sure to book right away—as the eclipse nears, inventory at campgrounds in the path of totality will be the first to sell out!
Ellie Burke is the content & SEO manager at Campspot. Hailing from the Finger Lakes region of western New York, she lives for all things family, food, farming, and wide open spaces (literal space included!). Connect with her on Instagram @ellieburkebooks.
Image Credit: Adobe Stock – revers_jr