On Monday, August 21, the moon will totally eclipse the sun—something that only happens when the moon is near perigee, which is the point of its orbit closest to Earth. What’s especially amazing about the upcoming event is that the entire continental United States will be able to witness it—something that hasn’t happened in almost a century.
As NASA noted, the eclipse will be visible from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina, passing through a total of 12 states. It’s also the first total eclipse visible only in the United States since our country’s founding. Put another way: you don’t want to miss it.
Traveling to see this summer’s solar eclipse isn’t unreasonable, either. According to USA Today, about 200 million people are within just one day’s drive of the “totality zone,” as it’s called. And many cities in the zone are places worth visiting anyway, so those who aren’t driving distance can still easily justify the trip.Here are five places you could go to view the total solar eclipse next month.
Once again, the total solar eclipse will start in Salem, a town located between Eugene and Portland, not far from the coast. In Oregon, the moon will block the sun completely for just under two minutes. There will be a viewing at the local airport and a viewing event at the capitol mall on August 21, in addition to countless smaller-scale viewing event. Oregon is also well-known for its parklands and campgrounds, though, which also offer great viewing bases.
For a minute and 24 seconds starting around 1 pm local time, Lincoln will also enjoy the total eclipse—a great destination as hotels start from just $42 there. Haymarket Park, a baseball stadium, is offering not just viewing options, but also interactive events and presentations. Nebraska’s capitol has plenty for visitors to do before and after this historic event, too—the Haymarket District is a stunning brick neighborhood packed with bars, stores and restaurants.
Idaho is expected to be one of the best states to view the eclipse because of favorable weather conditions; skies are expected to be especially clear. Boise (the state capital) is just 15 miles south of the path; if you stay there, a short drive will leave you in a prime viewing spot. Hotels in Boise start at just $58, too.
Atlanta is also just a short drive from the eclipse’s path and is especially worth it, as the sun will be eclipsed for nearly three minutes in northwest Georgia. Stay in the city before and after, but drive through and to the Blue Ridge Mountains for the actual event.
The United States finish line for the solar eclipse is the east coast’s adorable town of Charleston. After 94 minutes of cross-country travel, the eclipse will hit Charleston just before 3 p.m. local time and last for just under 2 minutes. In fact, many hotels in town are offering eclipse packages and rooftop dinners that correspond with the totality—unsurprising since it’s estimated that Charleston is the closest eclipse destination for nearly 100 million Americans.