Throughout the pandemic, we'll keep publishing news to help you navigate the state of travel today (like whether travel insurance covers the coronavirus), as well as stories about places for you to put on your bucket list once it's safe to start going more far-flung.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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