Best Places to Watch the Next Total Solar Eclipse in North America

Where are the best places to watch the next total solar eclipse in North America? We´ll cover this and more information about the next full eclipse in a minute.

This is the first total solar eclipse in North-America since 1979. The last time a total eclipse was visible from coast to coast in the U.S, was in June 8, 1918. Only within a roughly 65-mile-wide zone, called the path of totality, it´s where you will have the best viewings. The total phase of this full solar eclipse will be visible from a narrow path spanning all across the United States from the west coast to the east coast. According to NASA, the next total solar eclipse over the U.S. occurs April 8, 2024.

watch total solar eclipse north americaI have witnessed a total eclipse myself in 1999 and will never forget the day and sights. Around you it´s getting darker and darker, the temperature drops and then birds and wildlife becomes mysteriously quiet.

Where to see the eclipse in the USA? Have a look at total solar eclipse map further below.

A total solar eclipse is visible from the cities and areas we listed below, eclipse viewing times (local) on Mon, 21 Aug 2017 are included. It always starts with a partial eclipse, the full maximum lasts for 1-3 minutes only and it gets partial again.

Oregon: Corvallis, start 09:04, maximum 10:17, end 11:37. Salem, start at 09:05, max. at 10:18, ends at 11:37. More eclipse locations in Oregon: south of Lincoln City, Lincoln Beach, and Depoe Beach. Although a coastal point in Oregon would make for a scenic eclipse experience, the maritime climate could produce fog and morning clouds that might spoil the event for viewers.

Idaho: Idaho Falls begins 10:15, with a maximum at 11:33 and ends 12:58

Wyoming: the cities of Jackson and Casper, start time is 10:16, reaches the maximum at 11:36 and it´s all over at 13:00.

Nebraska: Harrison, begin 10:25, max 11:48, ends 13:14. North Platte, starts at 11:30, the maximum at 12:54, the ends 14:21. Grand Island, Nebraska, from 11:34, a maximum at 12:59 and the end at 14:26. Lincoln, Nebraska, the schedule starts 11:37, reaches max. at 13:03 and is over at 14:29

Kansas: Kansas City , begins 11:41, maximum 13:08, end 14:35

Missouri: Independence, from 11:41 to a maximum at 13:09 and final 14:36. Jefferson City, from 11:46, maximum 13:14, end 14:41. Washington, starts 11:48, maximum 13:16, ends 14:43

Illinois: Murphysboro (peak 2m40s at 13:19), Makanda (peak 2m40s at 13:20), Carbondale (peak 2m38s at 13:20) and Marion (peak 2m28s at 13:20) are prime total eclipse viewing locations.

Kentucky: Hopkinsville, from 11:56, to a max. at 13:25 and ends 14:51. Tip: Next to Hopkinsville at the northern tip of Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area you might get beautiful views.

Tennessee: Clarksville, it starts 11:57, maximum 13:26 and ends 14:52. Nashville, Tennessee, from 11:58, the maximum at 13:28, ends at 14:54. Cookeville, Tennessee, starts 12:01, max. 13:30, end 14:56. Gallatin and Gordonsville are good places too. With more than 37,000 hotel rooms in Nashville, there might be a chance to get one, but be prepared for high prices everywhere.

Georgia: Clayton and Toccoa (peak 2m34s at 14:35) would be a fine locations to view the eclipse from!

South Carolina: Greenville, start time 13:09, maximum 14:39, ends 16:02. Columbia, from 13:13, max. 14:43 and ends 16:06. Charleston, from 13:16 to a maximum at 14:47and it ends 16:09. In Coastal South Carolina at McCiellanville and the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge.

solar eclips map usa

Image Credit Fred Espenak (NASA’s GSFC),, Google Maps

In the surrounding areas, people will see a partial solar eclipse only.

Where can you see the solar eclipse in 2017?

If you are living within these areas you are lucky, but what if not? Having decided on the location, the first essential is an accommodation close to the site. Traffic to and from the line of totality is going to be heavy on 21 August 2017, so the closer you stay at the line of totality, the better.

Another thing you have to keep in mind is the weather. Historically many parts of the western and central states show up clear skies in August. Statistics also show that the best places to go for clear skies in August are in a swath of the West ranging from central Oregon to Nebraska. Top spot is Madras, Oregon.

But just try getting a room in Oregon is next to impossible. On the west side of the Oregon Cascades, Salem and Corvallis 90% of the available rooms are already booked. It looks similar for camping spots at the moment. But at least there is another big opportunity coming up. On Nov. 21 online reservations for campsites in Oregon state parks open up for the day of the eclipse next year. Almost 15 state parks are located in the path of totality, and most of them will be taking reservations.

The most dramatic scenery for this 2017 eclipse will be found in Wyoming. Grand Teton National Park is in the eclipse path and will surely be a magnet for eclipse observers from all over the world.

Accommodation wise Wyoming doesn’t look better. Wyoming hotel rooms have been completely reserved almost statewide, and a national astronomer’s convention has booked out Casper.

Fortunately, there might be some lesser visited locations just to the east of Jackson Hole. The Wind River Range and Gros Ventre Wilderness offer some great hiking and backpacking in the U.S. Try the Green River Lakes campground, they will over a scenic view of the eclipsed Sun above a lake and mountain.

There is another eclipse-watching advantage in Wyoming, the U.S. 26, a two-lane highway, crosses the state entirely within the path of total eclipse. In case of bad weather, eclipse watchers will be able to drive more than 400 miles without leaving the prime eclipse zone.

Where to see the eclipse? My special tip for you:

There is also another place promising not to be overcrowded, the Wind River Indian Reservation in central Wyoming. The Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes plan eclipse-day tours to the sites of ancient petroglyphs and eclipse-oriented dances. This promises to be a very personal and unforgettable experience in the little corner of Fremont County.

I’m thinking a Guest Ranch stay would get one away from the crowds too.

How to watch the solar eclipse safely?

Solar eclipses are never safe to watch without taking special precautions! Only during the few brief seconds or minutes at the maximum of a total solar eclipse the Sun can be viewed safely with the naked eye. Don´t risk you eye light, failure to use appropriate filtration may result in permanent eye damage or blindness!

The sun can be viewed directly only when using eclipse viewing glasses and filters specifically designed for this purpose. Avoid all unnecessary risks, the fact that the Sun appears dark in a filter or that you feel no discomfort does not guarantee that your eyes are safe!


If you did not manage to get special sun viewing glasses, the safest and most inexpensive of these methods is by projection. You can use binoculars to project a magnified image of the Sun on a white card, but avoid the temptation of using these instruments for direct viewing.

Tips on solar photography or how to take eclipse pictures with your smartphone?

Although looking at the screen of your HP won’t harm your eyes, lining your camera up towards the Sun is likely to leave you very vulnerable, so it´s best to wear solar eclipse viewing glasses too.

Often when people think about photographing the eclipse they think of the things they see on National Geographic – but those require a long telephoto lens which your phone doesn’t have,” explains photographer Dan Rubin.

Instead of trying to get a great shot of the eclipse itself, it requires a long telephoto lens which your phone doesn’t have; you better capture the environment under the eclipse.

An open field with a tree-lined horizon or perhaps some animals like cows and horses would look great.  Try to capture how the scene changes completely with the eclipse, when it is getting darker and keeping the Sun in frame. Although the Sun will be a tiny little dot only, you’ll still capture it. If you are in a city try to find a rooftop bar or a bridge from which to shoot.

It is the extraordinary light what distinguishes an eclipse, so you better take multiple stills at regular intervals to capture the entire event.

Think about creating a time-lapse, a beautiful mixture of photography and video that would capture the changing scene. You can use an app later (Framelapse or Lapse It) or if you have iOS 8 it comes with a built in function. But you can make a time-lapse out of images taken at one second intervals from same angle.

Everyone loves selfies, but not at the cost of your retina. Try taking a selfie with the eclipse in the background, means you’ll have your face turned away from the Sun.