Lonely Planet Writer

The countdown is on: here's where to stay to see the Great American Eclipse

Excitement is building for this summer’s total solar eclipse on 21 August and one of the concerns people have is where to find places to stay. The Great American Eclipse will cast a shadow that crosses the USA in a northwest to southeast direction, allowing millions of people to have a look at one of the natural world’s most spectacular events. Beginning in Oregon and ending in South Carolina, it offers those wanting to witness the once-in-a-lifetime event a wide choice of prime viewing locations.

The Great American Eclipse will take place on August 21st, like this one In China. Credit: Naoyuki Noda
The Great American Eclipse will take place on 21 August, like this one in China. Credit: Naoyuki Noda

Travel deal website, Cheapflights.com, examined the towns along the route that are seeing the biggest spikes in flight searches to come up with the top five eclipse boom towns. It selected Casper, Wyoming, as an ideal destination to see the eclipse, thanks to a high probability of clear skies and an altitude of more than 5000 feet. Redmond, located in the heart of central Oregon, gets 300 days of sunshine a year, nicely balanced by cool desert evenings, while Columbia, South Carolina, is set amidst some seriously stunning natural beauty.

Family looking at Solar Eclipse using solar glasses.
Millions of people will see the eclipse from the ground. Image by LeoPatrizi/Getty Images

Cheyenne, Wyoming, offers museums that highlight the area’s history, farmers’ markets, campgrounds, parks, hiking and biking trails, breweries and the chance to stock up on Western-themed fashion and décor. Boise, Idaho, has a lively downtown area, an abundance of restaurants, breweries and wine bars, a vibrant nightlife scene and enough outdoor activities to keep you busy. For more details and Cheapflights.com’s top five 2017 eclipse boom towns, see here.

Camping in the Simpson Desert, Queensland
Many people will camp to see the eclipse. Image: Auscape/UIG via Getty Images

In addition, Hipcamp, which lists 10,000 private campsites, has devised an interactive map of 677 campsites across the country where travellers can stay to get a glimpse at this year’s total solar eclipse as it passes through the sky. This website aims to help people find and book campsites by promoting the concept of “land sharing.” Similar to how Airbnb lists vacation rentals, private land owners can list ranches, farms, vineyards and nature preserves for rent on its site. To view the map and check location, pricing and availability, see here.