It’s Time to Book Your Hotel for the 2024 Solar Eclipse
Here are all the best places to witness this rare event — from Texas to Maine
You may not have figured out what you’re doing this weekend, but this is one of those rare moments when it’s going to be worth making plans a year in advance. A total solar eclipse is coming.
In 2017, the U.S. was feverishly excited about the total solar eclipse. Dubbed “The Great American Eclipse,” it was a thrilling event that brought thousands into the streets to stare up at the shrouded sun. (Safely, one hopes.) Soon, another slice of the country will have a chance to get lost in midday darkness. On April 8, 2024, another total solar eclipse will trek across the country in a thin band stretching thousands of miles from Texas to Maine.
To experience a total solar eclipse viewers must be inside a thin band called the path of totality. Outside of that strip, only a partial solar eclipse will be visible. And while a partial eclipse is also beautiful, it does not come close to the experience of the day turning black as the moon blots out the sun.
The 2024 eclipse may feel as impossibly far away as the amorphous date of the final Game of Thrones book, but eclipse fever strikes hard. Hotels and campgrounds sold out months in advance last time as thousands traveled into the path of totality. To experience the full force of the eclipse, start planning. Many hotels and campgrounds are already accepting reservations for that not-so-far-off date.
Here are 12 cities where you can book a hotel to place yourself in the path of totality. It will be the last chance to see a total solar eclipse inside the U.S. until 2045.
Where to See the Solar Eclipse 2024 in the South
Austin, Texas; Dallas, Texas; Little Rock, Arkansas
Totality begins in Austin: 1:36 pm, CT
Totality begins in Dallas: 1:40 pm, CT
Totality begins in Little Rock: 1:51 pm, CT
As the saying implies, the eclipse will be bigger in Texas. Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth and San Antonio are all situated along the path of totality. The same goes for Little Rock and parts of Oklahoma.
Austin and San Antonio sit at the edge of the path of totality. The eclipse will be visible, but it will be shorter if you’re along the edge of the path compared to the center. It is estimated that you can see about one minute and 46 seconds of total darkness in Austin. Eclipse chasers may want to travel west toward the path’s center, where the faux night will last even longer.
Events will take place — Visit Austin’s website says as much — but not much has been announced. That’s the case in many cities along the path. If the eclipse is passing through, you can bet that there will be gatherings and celebrations. However, relatively few cities have announced details about those events this far from the date.
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Where to See the Solar Eclipse 2024 in the Midwest
Cleveland, Ohio; Indianapolis, Indiana; Dayton, Ohio
Totality begins in Cleveland: 3:13 pm, ET
Totality begins in Indianapolis: 3:06 pm, ET
Totality begins in Dayton: 3:10 pm, ET
The eastern reaches of the Midwest will also spend time with the eclipse as the path of totality cuts through Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.
Cleveland sits smack in the middle of the path of totality. The same goes for Carbondale, Illinois, where the eclipse will last for more than four minutes. Cities like Dayton and Indianapolis are not quite at the edge of the path, but they aren’t in the middle, either.
Indianapolis has already announced a cache of events, and many hotels already accepting reservations. The city has announced a Total Eclipse of the Art festival at the Indianapolis Museum of Art and a viewing party at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, among other events.
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Where to See the Solar Eclipse 2024 in the Northeast
Buffalo, New York; Rochester, New York; Burlington, Vermont
Totality begins in Buffalo: 3:18 pm, ET
Totality begins in Burlington: 3:26 pm, ET
Totality begins in Rochester: 3:20 pm, ET
Totality cuts straight through northern New York and into Vermont, with both Buffalo and Burlington sitting in the heart of the path. Buffalo will see about three minutes and 40 seconds of darkness, while Burlington gets around three-and-a-half minutes. The maximum amount of totality is slightly less in the northeast than in the south.
Viewing parties are scheduled in Buffalo Harbor State Park and Niagara Falls State Park, among other places in and around Buffalo. Rochester has announced a four-day ROC the Eclipse festival, which centers around events at the Rochester Museum and Science Center. Its site includes resources on places to watch and events in the city.
Burlington will be one of the last places in the U.S. to experience totality before the eclipse continues north to Caribou, Maine, and then briefly enters New Brunswick, Canada.
Where to See the Solar Eclipse 2024 in Canada
Hamilton, Ontario; Montreal, Quebec; Fredericton, New Brunswick
Totality begins in Hamilton: 3:18 pm, ET
Totality begins in Montreal: 3:27 pm, ET
Totality begins in Fredericton: 3:33 pm ET
Canada gets a little slice of the path of totality, as well. In many of the most heavily populated locations, viewers will sit just at the edge of the path. That’s the case for Hamilton and Montreal. Viewers in New Brunswick will have a better opportunity to get into the path’s heart.
The Montréal Science Centre will host a viewing party and promises to have 10,000 eclipse glasses on hand. (It’s a year away, but it’s never a bad time for a reminder to never stare at an eclipse with the naked eye.)
The language around eclipses can get a little confusing, even frustrating. A total solar eclipse is often referred to as a once-in-a-lifetime event. That’s a muddy label. Eclipses take place with relative frequency. However, they are only visible on a small part of the planet. Total solar eclipses in 2026, 2030, 2031 and 2033 will largely only be visible in the ocean. Opportunities to see one close to home are infrequent. For instance, a total solar eclipse has not crossed Montreal since 1932 and won’t happen again for more than 100 years, according to the Montréal Science Centre.
Once-in-a-lifetime or not, it is a special event that has inspired thousands to become eclipse chasers, traveling to see any eclipse within reach. For that perfect eclipse experience, book a room or campground now while rooms and events still have space in bigger cities.
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