via Flickr/Takeshi Kuboki

Being in the path of a total solar eclipse is kind of a big deal. The last time the US saw one was in 1979, and even though the next one will be in 2024, it will be significantly less epic and will be seen from fewer places. The ideal places to view 2017’s eclipse are spots that have lots of space and unobstructed views of the sky… so, parks, basically. Luckily, state parks across the country are putting on programs and celebrations in honor of the event, and it’s not too late to plan a trip to attend one. Here are a few state park eclipse events that ought to be totally stellar!

The Total Solar Eclipse of August 21, 2017 – fly along with the shadow! from on Vimeo.

Join the fun

If you’re willing to travel for optimal eclipse spotting, aim for southern Kentucky. The Jefferson Davis State Historic Site is having a family-friendly festival with food, games, crafts, and more. This is an area that’s going to be getting a longer view of the total eclipse, which is pretty special. When something only lasts, at most, minutes, every second counts.

Don Carter State Park in Georgia is hosting a kayak float led by a naturalist, so you can enjoy the unique experience of mid-afternoon darkness while peacefully relaxing on Lake Lanier. You can rent a kayak and pick up eye protection at the event.

There are a few state park eclipse events going on in Missouri, but one of the coolest is the Total Eclipse of the Katy.The Katy Bicycle Trail happens to follow the path of the eclipse, and a group of 500 riders is planning to take full advantage of this fact. The sold-out event will take the group along the trail for maximum eclipse-age. Even though the event is booked up, it’s not too late to plan your own bike ride along a trail on the eclipse path!

state park solar eclipse events
via Flickr/Robert Stinnett

Other state park eclipse events

The rangers at Johnsonville State Historic Park are serving up BBQ bologna (a local delicacy) along with info during the eclipse. Find the details here.

Gorges State Park in North Carolina is opening extra early and will provide entertainment and activities before and after the event.

state park eclipse events
via Flickr/Mark Clifton

South Carolina has a state park in the path of the eclipse as well. Reserve a spot at Musgrove State Historic Site in advance to take advantage of their fun programs (and parking!)

State parks in the path of the eclipse

Illinois has a list of parks that will experience the event, along with the number of campsites available at each

This map shows all of the parks in Missouri that are in the path of the eclipse. They also have a handy guide to when each park will experience the phenomena.

Tenessee is in a prime location for eclipse-spotting. This website lists the parks in Tenessee that are best of experiencing the big show.

According to Kentucky, state parks that will be ideal for watching the eclipse. Reserve a site at Kentucky Lake State Resort Park, Lake Barkley State Resort Park, or Pennyrile State Forest.

The Bureau of Land Management has a guide to eclipse-viewing on public lands in Oregon, Idaho, and Wyoming

There are still state parks with campsites and cabins available for reservation in Georgia.

Nebraska also has a map of parks in the path of the eclipse, along with a list of events.

There are a couple dozen state parks in Missouri that will provide good views of the occurrence.



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