This August 21, Americans will experience the first total solar eclipse since 1979 to touch the lower 48. But unless you’re in the path of totality, you’ll only see a partial eclipse, an experience compared to standing next to the grill and only smelling the steak instead of tasting it for real. With that in mind, here are some of the best places to watch this phenomenal solar event as it makes its way from Oregon down to South Carolina.
Duration of Totality: 2 minutes 4 seconds
Starts At: 10:19 a.m. PDT
Madras is located in Oregon’s high desert about a 2.5 hour drive southeast of Portland, in the shadow of Mount Jefferson. Come early for the Oregon Solar Fest and stick around after the eclipse to experience gorgeous sunsets like the one pictured here.
Duration of Totality: 2 minutes 18 seconds
Starts At: 11:31 a.m. MDT
While Craters of the Moon National Monuments falls just outside of the path of totality, the city of Arco, the National Park Service, NASA and Idaho State University are partnering to put on a program of starwatching events at the park in the days leading up to the eclipse and an official viewing on the day of the eclipse in Arco.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Duration of Totality: 2 minutes 20 seconds
Starts At: 11:42 a.m. MDT
Grand Teton National Park is already one of the most beautiful places in America to visit in the summer, but this August the eclipse’s path of totality goes almost directly over the small town of Jackson Hole bumping it up even higher on our bucket lists. If you want to avoid the crowds, splurge on the Total Eclipse Sky Party at the Spring Creek Ranch. Not only is the ranch located on a butte 1,000 feet above Jackson, the party includes a brunch buffet with mimosa and a Bloody Mary station, solar eclipse glasses and a special presentation from an astronomer from Wyoming Stargazing.
Duration of Totality: 2 minutes 30 seconds
Starts At: 11:49 a.m. MDT
You won’t be able to see the total solar eclipse at England’s Stonehenge, but you can catch it as is passes over Carhenge, an exact replica made from cars, in this small town in western Nebraska.
Shawnee National Forest, Illinois
Duration of Totality: 2 minutes 41.6 seconds
Starts At: 1:20 p.m. CDT
While the southern tip of Illinois isn’t a well-known tourist destination, the area surrounding the Shawnee National Forest—including nearby Carbondale—is expecting a massive influx of tourists in August since this is the place with the longest duration of totality, lasting 2 minutes 41.6 seconds.
Duration of Totality: 2 minutes 40 seconds
Starts At: 1:24 p.m. CDT
Hopkinsville has rebranded itself “Eclipseville” since this town in the southwestern corner of Kentucky has one of the longest viewing times of the eclipse in the United States. Look for plenty of small town charm and a host of events in the days leading up to the eclipse in Hopkinsville.
Duration of Totality: 1 minute 57 seconds
Starts At: 1:27 p.m. CDT
While there are other places in Tennessee that are closer to the center of the eclipse’s path with longer viewing times, this is the largest city in the United States from which you can watch it. Several of the city’s rooftop bars are hosting eclipse viewing events including Acme Feed & Seed which will provide special viewing glasses to spectators.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Duration of Totality: 1 minute 17 seconds
Starts At: 2:35 p.m. EDT
Located towards the northern limits of the total solar eclipse, the number of high vantage points you can find in this national park means that you can see the moon’s shadow move across the valley below you, which you won’t experience in flatter parts of the country. Start planning now, though. Tickets for the special viewing event at Clingmans Dome are already sold out.
Charleston, South Carolina
Duration of Totality: 1 minutes 33 seconds
Starts At: 2:46 p.m. EDT
While those in Columbia, South Carolina might experience the eclipse for longer, those in Charleston will be some of the last people to see the total solar eclipse in the continental United States.