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Total Solar Eclipse 2017: When, Where, and How to See It


If you’re in the right place at the right time on August 21st, you can catch a glimpse of one of nature’s most stunning sights, a total solar eclipse. But lots of people have the same idea, so the sooner you make your travel plans the better.

A total eclipse occurs when the moon completely covers the sun, with the sun’s outer atmosphere, the corona, becoming visible. In the United States, the best view will take place over a swath about 70 miles wide, passing through parts of Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Observers outside this path will still see a partial solar eclipse. Depending on where you are, at most the total eclipse will last about 2 minutes and 40 seconds. Remember to protect your eyes with special viewing glasses during partial phases of the eclipse. (Go to eclipse2017.nasa.gov for more information.)

There are many options for travelers to see the eclipse while spending time in some of the country’s most historic and beautiful spots. 

Oregon has a number of events during the weekend, from the Willamette Country Music Festival, August 17–20, to the Redmond Brewfest, August 18–19. On eclipse day, some of the best viewing will be from the steps of the state capitol in Salem at about 10:15 a.m. Or, explore some of the area’s wineries, many of which have brunch and other special programs planned for August 21st.

The path of the eclipse goes through Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park, making the Jackson Hole area an ideal and beautiful spot. Take the chairlift up to Snow King Mountain for an unforgettable view. Afterward, enjoy the town of Jackson with its restaurants, bars and shops. Outdoor enthusiasts can go hiking, horseback riding, and rafting. Or, simply enjoy the magnificent scenery and abundant wildlife. 

St. Joseph, Missouri, one of the larger cities in the path of the eclipse, and a place with links to the Pony Express, is planning a weekend of events.  The city’s Wyeth-Tootle Mansion (home to a 19th-century British astronomer), the Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art, and Pony Express National Museum all have special events scheduled. The Trails West Festival takes place August 18–21, with music, food, and arts and crafts. The eclipse starts there at 1:06 p.m.

The tiny North Carolina village of Cashiers, located on a plateau in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, is holding an Eclipse Fest August 21st on the Village Green, a 12-1/2 acre park with walking paths, gardens, sculptures, and picnic spots. The surrounding area, with its forests, lakes, rivers, and waterfalls, is a great place to explore nature.

Columbia, South Carolina, is holding its Eclipse Weekend, August 18–21. Dozens of events are planned, from museum exhibits to a laser-light show, a concert of space-themed works by the South Carolina Philharmonic, a viewing party, paddling on the Saluda River during the eclipse, and a 5K run. Visitors can see the eclipse at 2:41 p.m.

For help planning a trip to see the total solar eclipse, contact Travel Leaders COS at 800-273-0793, locally 719-597-0004, or send us an email at info@TravelLeadersCOS.com.

© Travel Leaders Group