They may call us “eclipse chasers” or maybe even “umbraphiles” (those who love the sun’s umbra or shadow) – but we don’t care. We know there’s nothing more impressive on our planet than watching the shadow of the moon slide over the landscape, dimming the sun and reminding us of our place in the great celestial dance of our solar system.
That’s right – it’s that time again: time to plan a trip for the next solar eclipse!
The next solar eclipse in the U.S. is coming up fast, on April 8, 2024, and Wherever you live and no matter how far you’re planning to travel, there are some fantastic options for viewing this eclipse – including national parks in the path of the 2024 solar eclipse.
Below I’ve detailed each of those national parks, as well as other National Park Service units in the path too. These natural and cultural gems are a great place to view the eclipse since you’ll have plenty to do before and after viewing annularity – including stargazing!
2024 Total Solar Eclipse Details
While I have an entire guide to the 2024 solar eclipse forthcoming, I thought it would be helpful to cover the basics here:
- In the U.S., the totality will begin at 1:27pm CDT and will end at 3:35pm EDT on April 8, 2024.
- The path will go from southwest to northeast across 13 U.S. states, starting in Texas and ending in Maine.
- You will have to use special eclipse safety glasses or viewers at all times during the partial phases of a total solar eclipse. Don’t have protective eclipse-viewing glasses? Look for ISO-certified options on Amazon – and be sure to buy them in advance, as they sold out for the 2017 total solar eclipse!
Amistad National Recreation Area, Texas
Situated along the Texas-Mexico border, Amistad National Recreation Area is the first park in the path of totality. The park, known for its crystal-clear waters and diverse wildlife, provides an idyllic backdrop for witnessing the eclipse. You’ll find numerous designated viewing areas, though it’s important to notice that the park has no accommodation options besides camping.
Waco Mammoth National Monument, Texas
Waco Mammoth National Monument is worth visiting in the daylight, but, with 4 minutes and 18 seconds of totality, this property is one of the best places to view the 2024 eclipse (certainly one of the places you can experience the longest totality). Since it’s just a monument, it doesn’t have any accommodation, so you’ll have to book in the nearby town of Waco.
Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas
Nestled within the picturesque Ouachita Mountains, Hot Springs National Park is set to be one of the most sought-after places to view the eclipse as it will pass directly over the park – and it’s one of only two official “national parks” in the path of totality. Also, if you can bask in the soothing thermal waters while awaiting the cosmic spectacle, it’s a pretty good deal.
According to the park’s website, in the days leading up to and during the eclipse, they expect the park (and the City of Hot Springs) to be extremely busy. This said, book way ahead if you do decide to view the eclipse from the park, as in – yesterday.
Buffalo National River, Arkansas
Surrounded by towering bluffs and untamed wilderness, Buffalo National River offers an incredible experience for those who enjoy canoeing. As for the solar eclipse, America’s First National River also gets lucky this year.
The total eclipse will begin at 1:52pm CST and will last approximately 3 and a half minutes. Keep in mind the western areas of the park will experience shorter eclipse times than the eastern portions of the park. With such good viewing seats, the area is expecting thousands of visitors from across the country, so plan ahead for reservations. Also, expect to encounter congested roadways and trails.
Ste. Genevieve National Historical Park, Arkansas
Unlike 2017, only a tiny portion of southwest Missouri will be in totality in 2024, which means there aren’t as many viewing opportunities. However, Ste. Genevieve National Historical Park is one of the places where you can go to experience the eclipse.
Ste. Genevieve National Historical Park will have viewing activities on April 8 day, but they haven’t announced anything on their website yet. Also, remember the window of “totality” starting is from 1:58pm to 2:01pm. Once the eclipse ends, you can take a tour of the many historical buildings in the town and hear some stories of the early history.
George Rogers Clark National Historical Park, Indiana
Vincennes, Indiana, is in the path of totality this year, and the best place to catch the eclipse is George Rogers Clark National Historical Park. The park will experience totality for 4 minutes and 5 seconds.
Eclipse viewers can explore the memorial dedicated to the American Revolutionary War hero before turning their gaze skyward. You can go inside it – there are some great murals and architecture. Best of all, it’s free. So, go get some history!
For those who want to spend the night before or after the eclipse, the park doesn’t have any accommodations – not even a campground. However, Vincennes has a variety of options for accommodations, from hotels to campgrounds.
Perry’s Victory & International Peace Memorial, Ohio
Perched on Lake Erie, Perry’s Victory & International Peace Memorial in Put-in-Bay, Ohio, provides a fantastic vantage point for the 2024 solar eclipse. Put-in-Bay South Bass Island finds itself in a privileged position – it’s directly in the path of totality for the eclipse – and this alignment offers an unobstructed view of the eclipse’s full phase.
However, the weather may not be the best. Ohio’s weather in April is unpredictable (speaking from experience here!), and while, the Memorial grounds are always open, the weather may not let you enjoy the eclipse. Last year, the park recorded a low temperature of 32 degrees and a high of 52 degrees on April 8th.
Note: The Memorial and visitor center will remain closed during the eclipse.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio
Nestled between Cleveland (where I call home!) and Akron, Cuyahoga Valley National Park offers a diverse landscape of forests, waterfalls, and meadows; it’s also my local national park, and the place I am planning to view the eclipse! Eclipse enthusiasts can explore the park’s extensive trail system before settling in for the celestial show.
Cuyahoga Falls is in the path of totality and visitors there will see about 2 minutes and 55 seconds of totality. On the day of the eclipse, the park will be extremely busy, so make sure to plan ahead.
Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, Maine
For those venturing to the northeastern part of the eclipse path, Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument promises an unforgettable experience.
Maine’s highest point is an international dark sky sanctuary, so it’s already popular for its astronomical profile. As the sun disappears behind the moon, the park’s rugged terrain and pristine wilderness will create a dramatic setting for eclipse enthusiasts. Cross your fingers so the skies are clear on the day of the eclipse!
Have any questions about the national parks in the path of the 2024 solar eclipse? Let me know in the comments below!