DAYTON — On Monday, August 21, all of North America will be treated to an eclipse of the sun. Anyone within the path of totality can see one of nature’s most awe-inspiring sights – a total solar eclipse.
This path, where the moon will completely cover the sun and the corona or halo can be seen, will stretch from Lincoln Beach, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. Observers outside this path will still see a partial solar eclipse where the moon covers part of the sun’s disk.
“The ‘Eclipse Across America’ is 99 years in the making where everyone in North America, including Alaska and Hawaii, will experience the eclipse in some form,” says Leisure Travel Managing Director, Micki Dudas. “Ohioans will see a partial solar eclipse with 80 to 90 percent of the sun obscured. Our AAA travel counselors report those wishing to view the eclipse in its totality are traveling to Hopkinsville, Ky., and Nashville, TN.”
This once-in-a-lifetime event (the last total solar eclipse to cross the U.S. from coast-to-coast happened in 1918) will prove to be a tourist and vacationer’s dream, as it occurs during the final few weeks of summer. More than 250 million Americans live within 600 miles of the solar eclipse path, which will undoubtedly lead to many late-season trips to do some skyward gazing. And, because the eclipse will take place on a Monday, the trek to see it could start as early as the Friday before.
“If you’re planning to travel to the so-called path of totality, we recommend you have a plan – select a destination, map out a route, book lodging and allow plenty of travel time,” continues Dudas. “Plus, be prepared for traffic congestion in larger cities before and after the actual eclipse.”
The path of totality will pass over 14 states, starting on the coast of Oregon, at 10:15 a.m. Pacific daylight time, and leaving American soil via McClellanville, S.C., at 2:49 p.m., Eastern daylight time. It will cross cities in Oregon, Idaho, a sliver of Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, a sliver of Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Darkness will last anywhere from a few seconds to two minutes 41 seconds, depending on the location.
Among some of the best cities/places for viewing the “path of totality,” as noted by science experts, will likely be:
• Madras, Ore.
• Snake River Valley, Ida.
• Casper, Wy.
• Sandhill’s of Western Nebraska
• St Joseph, Mo.
• Carbondale, Il.
• Hopkinsville, Ky.
• Nashville, Tn.
• Great Smoky Mountains
• Columbia, S.C.
“We have found that many hotels are already booked as a result of the eclipse’s draw,” noted Dudas. “Other options for last-minute travelers is camping and/or visiting a National Park such as the Great Smoky Mountains. The path of totality (where the sun will be completely eclipsed) crosses 20 National Parks across the U.S.”
If you are planning an eclipse road trip, AAA offers the following tips:
• Try to get to your viewing location one to two days ahead of the eclipse (Aug. 21).
• Pack your patience and plan for congestion on the road, especially as you get closer to locations within the path of totality.
• Book hotels, lodging, etc. as soon as possible.
• Keep up to date on weather conditions – if you find your original location may be cloudy/rainy, you may consider moving to another location.