‘An out-of-body experience’: 2024 North American eclipse is shaping up to be the biggest 4-minute spectacle of the decade

By Laurie Bain Wilson

Plan well in advance for Mother Nature’s magic show on April 8, 2024, when the path to totality crosses several U.S. states

This article is reproduced with permission from NextAvenue.org.

The 2024 North American Solar Eclipse is expected to be the largest travel event ever in the United States. The duration of totality will be up to four minutes and 27 seconds, almost double that of the Great American Eclipse in 2017.

The morning show will take place in the afternoon, and while the 2017 total solar eclipse was seen by around 20 million people from Oregon to South Carolina, the next total solar eclipse of 2024 will be seen by many millions more.

This is because there are already 32 million people living in the American section of the path. Many metropolitan areas are on the path to totality in states like Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. Major cities like Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, DC are all within 200 miles of the path to totality.

Pre-gaming has already begun and for good reason: in 2017, many hotels and campsites sold out well before the eclipse, especially in destinations on the way to totality, but also in nearby spots.

Here are some of the best destinations to experience the next North American solar eclipse, along with some valuable planning tips.


Polly White, 59, and Michael Zeiler, 66, co-owners of Great American Eclipse, will travel from their home in Santa Fe, Texas for the upcoming North American solar eclipse.

It’s not their first rodeo – the couple have traveled extensively around the world to see solar eclipses. Zeiler, an eclipse mapper, has experienced 10 total solar eclipses (when the moon passes between the earth and the sun, completely blocking out the sun) and three annular ones (when the moon blocks the center of the sun) and White has witnessed six total eclipses and one annular.

“We chose Fredericksburg, Texas to view the 2024 eclipse because it is near the centerline of the path of totality and because most of Texas has an excellent chance of clear skies. cleared on the day of the eclipse,” White said. “Another factor is that, if there were to be clouds, we want to be mobile if we have to get in the car to drive in search of clear skies.”

White says the couple also considered Mazatlán, Mexico, but decided it wasn’t ideal if they had to travel to another destination in the event of adverse conditions like cloud cover.

They won’t be alone in the Lone Star State. Millions of people are expected to travel to Texas. “Most of Texas is a good choice for the over-50s,” says White, “simply because it can handle the large influx of tourists that is expected. Texas has the extensive infrastructure to handle it. and excellent road networks in all directions from each of the major cities (again, in case of cloudy weather). There are also plenty of RV parks and support for this community.”

White says it’s best to plan to travel a day or two before and after the eclipse as the last major US eclipse in 2017 saw huge traffic jams, especially after the event as everyone left at the same time .

While this travel schedule is ideal, it’s not an option for everyone, including Zeiler and White. Due to the nature of their business, the couple will be busy placing orders for solar eclipse viewing glasses and other products until the last minute, she says. Then they’ll load their dog into the car and drive from New Mexico to Texas.

“We will definitely stay a few days after to avoid traffic jams,” says White. “We chose an Airbnb (ABNB) in the Fredericksburg area.”

“One of the most exciting things about these upcoming eclipses is how many people are expected to witness them,” White adds. “It’s such a wonderful experience to share with friends and family. We believe a total solar eclipse is nature’s greatest spectacle – truly the most beautiful thing you can see in nature.”

New York State

Upstate New York knows a thing or two about hosting big star-studded events – after all, the Winter Olympics have been held twice in Lake Placid, in 1932 and 1980. And Placid will host the ‘eclipse.

The scenic village nestled in the Adirondack Mountains is on its way to totality for the 2024 North American solar eclipse – for a total of three minutes and 21 seconds.

The Mirror Lake Inn Resort & Spa will be offering a Solar Eclipse Package, available April 7-8, 2024, which includes accommodations, lake view breakfast and eclipse viewing glasses.

Other New York cities will also be on the path to totality, including Rochester, Niagara Falls and Plattsburgh. Sitting well in the Finger Lakes region on the southern shore of Lake Ontario, Rochester will be on its way to totality for three minutes and 38 seconds, and has been in preparation mode for the 2024 eclipse for several years.

Rochester is celebrated as “the city that made light fun” and has a long history of achievement in science, optics and imaging, says Lisa Soto, director of tourism marketing, licensing and public relations, I LOVE NY.

Expect eclipse-related festivals and events throughout the community, including the Rochester Museum & Science Center and the RMSC’s Strasenburgh Planetarium. And breweries, distilleries, wineries, and cider houses will be festive stops along the self-guided ROC/FLX Craft Beverage Trail that stretches from Rochester to the western shores of Lake Canandaigua in the Finger Lakes.

Equally important, Rochester has one of New York State’s best cloud cover records. See Rochester Eclipse 2024 and Visit Rochester for updated eclipse information, including hotel packages.

Niagara Falls

The waterfalls at Niagara Falls State Park are naturally a compelling reason to visit Niagara County. Another reason to spring from the falls – they will be on the direct path to totality. There is also a wine route that winds through the region.

Within walking distance of Niagara Falls State Park is The DoubleTree by Hilton (HLT) Niagara Falls, which will offer linked packages. Visit the Niagara Falls Solar Eclipse site for more information.

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Indianapolis is among the top 15 American cities producing astronauts, including Neil Armstrong, alumnus of Purdue’s School of Aeronautics and Astronautics. As one of the major cities located in the direct path of the eclipse, the city is preparing to put the pedal to the metal to celebrate the celestial event.

Of course, there’s the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to visit, and if you have kids or grandkids, head to the Children’s Museum Indianapolis, the world’s largest children’s museum, for an orbit in their massive exhibit. spatial.

Stay at the Crowne Plaza at historic Union Station. Thomas Edison once worked at this station and would surely appreciate the irony of Indy turning off lights all over the city to improve darkness during the eclipse.

The New Indy Hotel is a Marriott (MAR) Tribute property honoring Indy’s history that is within walking distance of the Indiana World War Memorial and the American Legion Mall, two recommended viewing areas for the eclipse.

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For a small-town experience, there’s Paducah in western Kentucky, halfway between Nashville, Tennessee and St. Louis. More importantly, it is on the path to totality for the solar eclipse of 2024.

Paducah shines with its cultural flavor. In fact, UNESCO named Paducah the seventh creative city of crafts and folk art in the world; it houses the National Quilt Museum, the largest quilt museum in the world.

History buffs will want to hang their hats downtown at Hotel 1857, a 10-room boutique hotel housed in a renovated red-brick pre-war building that originally served as a haberdashery for gentlemen and women. turn-of-the-century tractor repair shop.

And a river runs through it. In fact, the Paducah Riverfront area is ideal for viewing the solar eclipse. Running along the confluence of the Tennessee and Ohio rivers, the riverfront offers walking paths that parallel the river with views of the adjacent Shawnee National Forest. The riverfront is separated from downtown Paducah by the infamous flood walls decorated with the “Wall to Wall” murals – 50 large-scale murals that depict the city’s history.

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Those in the Northeast may want to consider the Pine Tree State, which will be the final point on the road to totality in the United States. Hotel reservations have already begun, according to a tourist agent with the Maine Office of Tourism.

The small town communities of Houlton, Jackman and Greenville are expected to be particularly impacted by visitors, and preparations for safety and traffic are underway. Expect plenty of eclipse-related restaurant menus, activities, themed souvenir giveaways, and cool tours of the famous scale solar system that runs along Route 1 in Houlton.

The Maine Office of Tourism will provide visitors with solar eclipse glasses. Visit for updates on accommodations and events.

washington state

It is not always practical to travel a great distance to witness an eclipse in a destination lucky enough to be on the direct path to totality.

For example, those who live in the Pacific Northwest will only see a small glimpse of a partial eclipse, but that’s where Jon and Wendy Callahan will watch it, not far from their home in Vancouver, Canada.

(MORE TO BE FOLLOWED) Dow Jones Newswires

01-05-23 0501ET

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