Want a Great View of the Solar Eclipse? Head to a National Park

Aug 12, 2017

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In just over a week, the Great American Total Solar Eclipse will create a path across the continental US. Which means you don’t have much time left to figure out where you’re going to watch it from. Luckily, the choices are aplenty, whether you’re watching it from a plane or your own backyard. Another great option? One of 21 National parks, monuments and historic sites within the path of totality, many of which are hosting guided talks, tours and special science programs to celebrate. The NPS, in conjunction with NASA, has even posted an interactive map on its site that can help you determine the best possible vantage point.

Map courtesy of National Park Service.
Map courtesy of National Park Service.

According to the National Park Service, the 21 park sites include some of the most-visited, like Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee, Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina and both Congaree National Park and Fort Sumter National Monument in South Carolina. Also on the list: John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, OR; Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve, ID; John D. Rockefeller Jr., Memorial Parkway, WY; Fort Laramie National Historic Site, WY; Agate Fossil Beds National Monument, NE; Scott’s Bluff National Monument, NE; Homestead National Monument of America, NE; Harry S. Truman National Historic Site, MO; Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site, MO; Fort Donelson National Battlefield in KY and TN; Stones River National Battlefield, TN; Obed Wild & Scenic River, TN; Manhattan Project National Historical Park, TN; Appalachian National Scenic Trail in TN, NC and GA; Ninety Six National Historic Site, SC; and Charles Pinckney National Historic Site, SC.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can just pile into the car and expect to be able to plop down at your nearest park and look up. Being that it’s the first event of its kind in so long, much of America has already made plans for where, when and how they plan to spend the evening of August 21. Each park and site has its own list of dos and don’ts for wannabe eclipse chasers, including a list of safety tips and any special events being planned — many of which require online reservations ahead of time — so make sure you check the website of your preferred park and follow the rules.

Check out the video above for a closer look at what to expect on eclipse day. And whatever you do, don’t forget your eclipse glasses — looking directly at it is not the way to go!

Featured image by Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images.

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