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Want a Front Row Seat to 2017’s Epic Solar Eclipse? Head to These 11 Spots

Written by Mary Zakheim

This blog post was updated on August 1, 2017.

On August 21, 2017, the stars are set to align over an arc of the United States — or, more, the sun, the moon, and Earth are set to align. Like, literally. The first solar eclipse that will be visible in the continental United States since 1979 is going to pass over 11 states and people are already preparing for it. Hopkinsville, a small town in Kentucky, has been named the ultimate viewing spot and is all booked up. So are the small surrounding towns. But fear not, eclipse chasers! Remember, there are 11 states that’ll have a front row seat to the event.

Check out our guide below to see what other cities you can hit up to catch the sight.

Salem, Oregon

Salem Oregon Spring Daffodils, City Center Park and Beautiful Pink Cherry Trees in Bloom in Spring

Welcome to the agricultural heart of Oregon! Surrounded by family farms peddling out scrumptious crops like blueberries, raspberries, wine, and more, the eclipse hunter will certainly not go hungry here. Stay in a bed and breakfast for a true PNW feel.

Idaho Falls, Idaho

Near to a spectacular national park, Idaho Falls is the outdoor enthusiast’s dream! Hang about in town for an artistic and laid-back look at this boon of Western hospitality or head outdoors to indulge in the area’s many adventurous activities.

Casper, Wyoming

This small town has the exact sort of charm that you’d expect an Old Western enclave to have. Complete with ties to Hollywood as well as the pioneering days of yore, Casper is a friendly place tucked into the rugged Wyoming landscape.

Scottsbluff, Nebraska

Covered wagons at Scott's Bluff National Monument, Nebraska.

Another time capsule of the Wild West, Scottsbluff has a storied history that it seeks to preserve and celebrate. While you’re in town, check out the huge symbol to pioneers that they had made it to the West: Scotts Bluff, a rock formation that signaled the end of the Great Plains and the beginning of the Rocky Mountain range.

Saint Joseph, Missouri

Sure, it was the place where Jesse James met his untimely end, but Saint Joseph proves it’s more than its past. It has thriving arts, outdoors, and cultural scenes and has already started prepping a festival around the eclipse event in August.

Bowling Green, Kentucky

There are tons of things to do in Bowling Green — if you’re into an outdoor adventure, take a tour in one of the many caves or choose to stay indoors and imbibe in the growing craft brewery scene. Either way, you’re sure to have an amazing view of the eclipse in an energetic city.

Kansas City, Kansas

J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain, by Henri-Leon Greber in Kansas City Missouri

The city straddles Kansas and Missouri — and it benefits from it. The town is host to a super successful baseball team, an eclectic mix of entertainment options, and is being recognized as a growing arts and culture paradise.

Nashville, Tennessee

Fun, laid-back, and honky-tonk come to mind when you think about this country music Mecca — but Nashville has another side for those looking for artistic sophistication, if one knows where to look. Stay in the heart of the city or in one of the quieter indie neighborhoods and see the city from a new lens.

Nantahala National Forest, North Carolina

Catch the sight from your campsite in the Natahala National Forest in North Carolina. The forest is perfectly poised to offer campers prime viewing spots and — bonus — camping, hiking, and biking are all free here and the beauty is unparalleled.

Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest, Georgia

Yonah Mountain in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest of North Georgia, USA.

Whether or not you’re down to rough it in the Georgian wilderness, Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest has a place for you. Positioned right underneath the eclipse viewing spot in Georgia, the national forest offers both rustic cabins and primitive campsites for eager viewers.

Charleston, South Carolina

Sit back and relax in this charming coastal town — cobblestone streets and a colorful history will greet you, then the growing list of chic bars and restaurants will surprise you. Dig in to the mind-blowing cuisine as you take a peek at the eclipse and prepare to be wowed by both!

Where are you going to head for the eclipse? Let us know in the comments!

About the author

Mary Zakheim

When she is not figuring out what the middle button on her headphones is for, explaining the difference between Washington State and Washington D.C., arriving to the airport too early or refusing to use the Oxford comma, you can usually find Mary in the mountains, at a show or on her couch.

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