The 12 Best Places In America To Watch The Total Solar Eclipse

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between Earth and the Sun, blocking it as viewed from some places on the planet. During a total solar eclipse, a very rare phenomenon, the moon completely obscures the sun so that only the sun's corona is visible for a few seconds, sometimes for two minutes. A total solar eclipse will be visible along a roughly 67-mile wide path across the U.S. on August 21. This will be the first such event to cross the country in 38 years. Even more significantly, this is the first coast-to-coast eclipse in 99 years.

Madras, Oregon

The high-desert town is one of the best places to see the total eclipse for more than just a few seconds. There is even a special celebration –the Solarfest festival, in partnership with NASA – to mark the event. See unique aircraft collections and enjoy the many concerts. Tickets range from $10 to $60 per person. The eclipse starts at 9:06 a.m. You can expect two full minutes of total darkness at 10:19 a.m.

Snake River Valley, Idaho

You can witness the total eclipse for just over two minutes starting 11:33 a.m. The valley falls under the track of the lunar shadow, according to EclipsoPhile. Seeing the rare phenomenon in a natural setting outdoors is an unmatched experience. The southern half of the umbral shadow crosses the larger valley of the plain, while the northern part traverses the much narrower Long Valley of the Payette River.

Casper, Wyoming

Casper is an ideal place to witness the total darkness during the day because of its high altitude—over 5,000 feet—and high probability of clear skies. Residents have decided to celebrate the once-in-a-lifetime event with a fiesta – the 2017 Wyoming Eclipse Festival—that will include scientists, photographers, eclipse chasers and thousands of locals. The eclipse will last for nearly 2.5 minutes starting 11:42 a.m.

North Platte, Nebraska

The skies north of North Platte in the Nebraska Sandhills will be the perfect location to experience the total eclipse for 1 minute and 40 seconds at 12:54 p.m. CDT. This is when the "umbral shadow" will make almost a direct hit on Tryon and Stapleton, according to Visit North Platte. The Sandhills of Nebraska directly north of North Platte will experience nearly 2.5 minutes of totality. Starting at about mile marker 152, the I-80 will be in the path of totality all the way to Lincoln – about 251 miles.

Highland or Wathena, Kansas

The far northeast corner of the Sunflower State will be touched by the moon's dark shadow. That happens between 1:02 and 1:09 p.m. local time (CDT). Your best chances of seeing the eclipse for as long as possible are Highland and Wathena where total darkness will last for 2 minutes and 38 seconds. Other places where the sun will be covered for nearly as long are White Cloud, Troy, Severance, Robinson, Hamlin, and Denton, according to

Columbia, South Carolina

Totality begins at 2:43 p.m. ET. There are a few other places where total darkness will last a few seconds longer but they are more remote. The city has a developed network of roads and highways, so people will be able to easily move. Mobility and accessibility are important during such unique events. Set up a tent and camp near Lake Murray to watch the eclipse over the water.

Kansas City International Airport, Missouri

Across Missouri, there are more than 3 million people who live inside the path of totality and about 2.6 million who live within the metropolitan areas of Kansas City and Saint Louis, according to From the Kansas City Downtown Airport, a 45-second total eclipse will be visible, and from the Kansas City International Airport, the sun will go dark for 1 minute and 50 seconds. Right along a bend in the Mississippi River is the city of Cape Giradeau. Darkness will fall there at 1:20 p.m. and last for 1 minute and 44 seconds.

Carbondale, Illinois

Total darkness will last for 2 minutes and 38 seconds, starting 1:20 p.m. One of the best places to be is south of Carbondale in the Shawnee National Forest. In the city, go to the Saluki Stadium. Tickets are $25. Southern Illinois University as Carbondale will be the center of eclipse activity as the university plays host to NASA, a guided experience at its stadium and bevy of other activities marking the celestial event.

Rabun County, Georgia

Clayton will experience 2 minutes and 35 seconds of total darkness beginning at approximately 2:35 p.m. The exact amount of time the total eclipse will last in other locations in Rabun County will vary depending on how far north or south the location is from the northwest/southeast center line of maximum darkness, which will track along a line just north of Dillard, according to Clayton Solar Eclipse. This is the first time a solar eclipse has occurred in Georgia since March 7, 1970.

Hopkinsville, Kentucky

The city is planning a big Friday-Sunday Eclipse celebration before the sun disappears – for 2 minutes and 40 seconds – at 1:24 p.m. CT. You can reserve a campsite at the Casey Jones Distillery, Christian Way Farm & Mini Golf, Naimoli Estate, MB Roland Distillery, Jessica Dunn, and Copper Canyon Ranch, to name a few. A spot between the towns of Princeton and Hopkinsville — along Cerulean Hopkinsville Road (Route 624) — is where astronomers predict that the point of "greatest eclipse" will occur.

Nashville, Tennessee

Music City is the place to be on August 21 if you live in the state. It is the largest U.S. city in the eclipse's path. The moon will completely blot the sun for about 2 minutes. Partial eclipse begins at 11:58 a.m. CDT; the start of totality is at 1:27 p.m. CDT; total eclipse duration is 1 minute 55 seconds; and partial eclipse ends at 2:54 p.m. CDT.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The entire western half of Great Smoky National Park will fall under the path of totality for the eclipse, according to NPS. There will be public viewing events at three locations – Clingmans Dome, Cades Cove, and Oconaluftee. Experience the eclipse with the help of experts, educational exhibits, and story tellers. Tickets for the Clingmans Dome event are already sold out but cancelled tickets will become available at