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It's Not Too Late to Book a Trip to See This Summer's Total Solar Eclipse

America will soon be treated to its first total solar eclipse in decades. Here's where to see it.

While a total solar eclipse happens about once every 18 months, it can only be seen from Earth's surface every couple of decades. (Jake Hills / Unsplash)

America will soon be treated to its first total solar eclipse in decades. Here's where to see it.

On August 21, the mainland United States will experience its first total solar eclipse since 1979. It’ll last for only about two and a half minutes, depending on where you are, and eager eclipse chasers have already booked up many of the towns whose low pollution and clear weather assure a breathtaking view. To find last-minute places to stay and watch this historic event in its totality, we made a few calls and found some spots still accepting reservations.

Salem, Oregon

In the heart of Oregon’s Willamette Valley, plans are underway at Emerson Vineyards for a weekend-long eclipse festival, with live music, outdoor movies, wine tasting, and food trucks. Day tickets are already sold out, but as of press time, there were more than a dozen RV spots left for weekend camping, starting at $250.

Mackay, Idaho

Mackay is a 500-person town that falls directly in the center of the moon’s shadow. In addition to a four-day lineup of live music, as well as a portable planetarium dome with ongoing star shows and food vendors on site, the private ranch hosting the festival (lovingly known as The Ranch) offers easy access to the Big Lost River, which runs through the property. Score event tickets and camping—plus “eclipse glasses” with solar filters for safe stargazing—from $80.

Jackson, Wyoming

The town expects to be completely inundated for the eclipse, so the chamber is keeping an updated list of lodges and hotels that still have availability, making it a great resource if you’re planning an eclipse-hunting trip to the Tetons. The Anvil Hotel, which recently underwent a major renovation, is hosting a moon party the day of the eclipse at its prime location, a block from the town square, starting with moon flow yoga and moondust lattes. Tickets to the event are $375. Lodging at the Anvil is $1,030 per night, including two tickets to the event, with a minimum four-night stay. Rooms are still available as of press time.

Saint Joseph, Missouri

An hour from Kansas City, a massive public viewing event will take place at the local Rosecrans Memorial Airport, with astronomers on hand to explain the phenomenon and safety-filtered telescopes open for use. Nearly all the hotels in town are fully booked, but the airport is offering one- or two-day primitive camping, starting at $40, and day-pass parking for $20 on the day of the eclipse.

Cookeville, Tennessee

Cummins Falls State Park, about 80 miles east of Nashville, is a day-use park that’s home to hiking trails, swimming holes, and Tennessee’s eighth-largest waterfall. The park doesn’t normally allow overnight visitors, but on the night before the eclipse, the property will be open to primitive camping, as well as guided hikes, live music, and free eclipse glasses. Campsites are available for $50.

Greenwood, South Carolina

Greenwood’s city hall and local chamber of commerce will be handing out eclipse glasses in the town, and Mill House Pizza will be baking moon pies throughout the weekend. Watch the eclipse from Lake Greenwood State Park or beside a pond in the town’s Ninety Six National Historic Site, a Revolutionary War site. A few local hotels still have rooms available—try the Hampton Inn Greenwood.

Filed To: Camping / Music / Oregon / Wyoming / Idaho / Tennessee / Missouri / South Carolina
Nicolas Henderson/Creative Commons )

San Marcos, Texas

Billed as the world’s toughest canoe race, the Texas Water Safari, held each June, is a four-day, 260-mile jaunt from the headwaters of the San Marcos River northeast of San Antonio to the small shrimping town of Seadrift on the Gulf Coast. There’s no prize money—just bragging rights for the winner. Any boat without a motor is allowed, and you’ll have to carry your own equipment and overnight gear. Food and water are provided at aid stations along the way. Entry fees start at $175 and increase as race day approaches.

The Ring

the-ring-race.jpg
(Courtesy Quatro Hubbard)

Strasburg, Virginia

The Ring is a 71-mile trail running race in early September along the entire length of Virginia’s rough and rocky Massanutten Trail loop. To qualify, you need to have run a 50- or 100-mile race before the event and win a spot through the lottery system. Entry is free. Complete the run and you’ll become part of the tight-knit Fellowship of the Ring and be eligible for the Reverse Ring, which entails running the trail backwards in the middle of winter.

Plaza2Peak

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(David Silver)

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Each spring, competitors gather in Santa Fe’s historic plaza with a simple goal: be the first to reach 12,308-foot Deception Peak, 17 miles and 5,000 feet of elevation gain away. Competitors run or bike the first 15 miles to the local ski area before transitioning to their waiting ski-touring setups for the final push to the top. Time stops only when they’ve skied back down to the tailgate in the resort’s parking lot, which is funded by the modest entry fee of around $25. To add to the sufferfest, some participants sign up for the Expedition category, in which they strap their skis, skins, boots, and poles to their bikes for the long ride up. Start dates vary depending on snow conditions, but look for the event page to be posted on Facebook in late March or early April.

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