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2017 Eclipse Blog / FAQ

Tell me the best place to watch the eclipse from!

Easy!  Someplace in the path of totality, where the weather is clear on eclipse day!


(How’s that for committing to an answer?!)

But seriously, beyond that general recommendation, can’t tell you where you should watch the eclipse from – there are just too many variables in play:

Where can you find lodging?
What places might you want to visit in conjunction with the eclipse?  [pun intended!]
What is your risk tolerance for expected climate and weather?
Do you want to be on centerline or near the edge?
Is this your first total eclipse, or your tenth?
How mobile can you be on eclipse day?
How difficult is travel for you – physically/financially/logistically?
How many people (and kids) are in your party?

These and other factors will influence your decision greatly, and the decision you make will be the right one for you and you alone.

Whatever you do, make sure you are in the path!  (Download the Android app to make sure!) And be sure to let us know how great your experience was!


29 Responses to “Tell me the best place to watch the eclipse from!”

  1. jennifer kiel says:

    So..we have the choice to be at the beach in SC to watch, or up in the Smoky’s…which would you choose – beach or mountains?

    • Admin says:

      Hi Jennifer! We’ll let others respond to this question as well, because it is tricky. Many weather factors can come into play in these two locations, which will make deciding very difficult. You will have to choose where to go based on what else you might want to see, and the historical climate data. If seeing totality is important to you (as it should be!), then you will need to be prepared to move if the weather doesn’t look like it will hold!
      Statistically, neither of these these locations is high up the “clear skies” probability scale – but that doesn’t mean that the weather won’t be great. What eclipse chasers do is go where the chances are highest for clear weather, then watch the forecasts relentlessly.
      The choice is up to you, and wherever you go, make sure to be in the path! We wish you, and everyone, Clear Skies!


  2. This will be my first total solar eclipse. I am extremely lucky to have a small plane and can travel to good weather. I have plotted airports in the path of totality across the country. My question is: Will the experience be different, say, 3 miles from centerline as opposed to having a foot on either side? I understand that the time of totality will be greatest exactly on the CL but the time differences that I’ve plotted for being 3 or 4 miles away are in the tenths of second. Is there anything that I’m missing? Thanks.


    • Admin says:

      Hi Bill –

      You are not incorrect – the difference in times of totality only 3 or 4 miles either side of centerline are measured in tenths of seconds. So long as you are in the path, and close to the centerline, you will enjoy a FANTASTIC show! Thanks for the question!

      – Dan

    • Tracy Berg says:

      Hi Bill,

      I wanted to extend the invitation to you to join us at ‘Solar Port’ at the Madras Municipal Airport in Madras Oregon! We area one of the top viewing areas with the best weather conditions! We are having a great fly in for up to 5 days! Please check out our website berg and feel free to share the information!

      • LEE says:

        Hi, Will Madras be nuts, away from the airport that is? How about camping? Or BLM land? Do you think a camper van parked on the side of the road would go unnoticed. I cant find a hotel. Please resond via e-mail. Thank you, LEE

  3. Janis says:

    I plan to be in southern Nebraska for the eclipse, is there some approximation for time of day when it will appear? Thanks!

    • Admin says:

      Janis –

      Yes, the times are known very accurately, and it depends on your location. I hope you are in the path! (If you download the app, you will know that perfectly – AND it will tell you what time the eclipse happens!)

      You can also check out the Google interactive map we link to on the site.

      Either way, you will get the info you need. PLEASE make sure you are in the path, to see totality. 99% is not good enough!!


  4. Cheri says:

    If I am picking up a really small town in the path of the totality, right in the center, does it mean that any spot in that town is OK?

    • Admin says:

      Hi Cheri – If a small town is truly close to the centerline, then it doesn’t make much difference where ini that town you view from, so long as:

      1) You have permission to be at the spot
      2) The weather is good, AND
      3) You have a lot of new best friends on hand to watch it with you!


  5. Tanya says:

    I will be in Charleston for the eclipse for a totally unrelated event. We had no idea the eclipse was happening until after we booked our trip, but now I want to make sure I see it. Will the eclipse be difficult to see from inside the city? The representative at the hotel I contacted said city lights would make it difficult to view. Do I need to go to the beach or take a boat tour? Since we will be there already I want to make sure I actually get to see the eclipse! Thank you!

    • Admin says:

      Hi Tanya –

      You will definitely be able to see the eclipse from anywhere in the path – even in a large city. The thing about the street lights is that if they come on during totality, it would mess up the effect of darkness, and could compete with the view of the sky and the horizon that you’ll want to have. Go out on a night with a full Moon, around street lights that are on, and imagine trying to concentrate on seeing the Moon and stars. Street lights won’t exactly make it so you CAN’T see them, but they will compete for your attention.
      The beach is a great place to watch an eclipse! But truthfully, if the weather is good, and you are in the path, you’ll see it.


  6. Barb says:

    If I choose a small town in southern Illinois, will we be caught in mobs of traffic? Unable a day before to even reach a motel? We would reserve far in advance, but what are we expecting in terms of concentrations of people?

    • Admin says:

      Hi Barb –

      There is absolutely no way to know what type of traffic we may find on eclipse morning. Best to already be in the path, and if that’s not possible, to be on the road early to get into the path. While I don’t think there could be enough traffic to clog the roads, there is no way to know – since we have no historical basis for comparison. Your experience will be great to share with everyone on our Memories page!

      Clear Skies,

  7. Tom D says:

    I am looking for a mountain top to hike to somewhere in the path of totality. I believe I have found a few possible summits to view from, such as: thunderhead mtn, chimney top, and jump off. Does anyone have any more locations they want to share? Thanks!

  8. Steven Kuchinsky says:

    I live in NJ. Where is the closest place I can go where I will see good totality, likelihood of finding a place to stay AND likelihood of decent weather?

    • Admin says:

      Steven – No one can pick the spot for you, because there is always a chance the weather you get will be bad on eclipse day. I would not worry about what is closest, but what is best weather-wise and accommodation-wise. Make sure you are in the path on eclipse day, and that you watch the weather and be prepared to move if the weather looks bad!


  9. Gerri says:

    We have a home in Rulo, Ne. Planning to start an invite for family and friends to view from our 5 acres. We look to be in totality, would I be correct in that assessment? I want to make sure I order enough glasses to pass out to those that join us!
    Thanks, Gerri

  10. Jessica says:

    We live in Missouri!! Very excited for this day!!

  11. Kristin says:

    I live within 10 miles of Rexburg, Idaho. We keep hearing that there could be tens of thousands of people coming to our area to see the eclipse. Do you really think there will be that many and why??

    • Admin says:

      Hi Kristin –

      It is entirely possible that that will happen. There is no precedent for this event, so no one can say for sure what is going to happen, and that’s part of the excitement! Towns such as Rexburg could potentially see more tourist revenue on eclipse weekend than they regularly see in an entire season.

      Why? Because as all of us eclipse-chasing veterans have been saying for years: You HAVE to be in the path of totality, and have good weather – if you do, you will see something that is for most people firmly in the top handful of most amazing experiences of their lifetime. It is THAT spectacular.


  12. Jason Howard says:

    For those of you who are looking for the best place to view the eclipse, the church I attend has cleared out their land for those who want a spot to view the Eclipse. We will be offering food and entertainment for this event. below is the address and also our website. God Bless!!
    All Nations House Of Prayer
    313 Edwards Mill Rd.
    Hopkinsville, KY 42240
    Tel 270-885-4940

  13. SHARYN says:

    can I just wear sunglasses? will I be able to see in Lawton oklahoma??? thanks

    • Admin says:

      You CANNOT use sunglasses to protect your eyes from the Sun! You have to use approved viewers designed for direct solar viewing.

      If you have those, then you will be able to see ONLY the partial phases from OK. You must use approved eye protection at ALL TIMES if youlook at the eclipse from anywhere in OK.

  14. Carolyn Bowman says:

    I live in San Jose California. Where would a good location be to watch the partial eclipse?

    • Admin says:

      Anywhere that has good weather and where the Sun is visible! Use eye protection the whole time – and please consider the short drive drive to totality!

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