10 US Spots to Watch 2017 Total Solar Eclipse


For the first time since 1918, the United States will experience a Total Solar Eclipse. The coast to coast event will occur on August 21, 2017. Since this is one of those once in lifetime events, we have compiled a list of our ten favorite US spots to visit and watch the Solar Eclipse.

solar eclipse red
Photo Credit: Travel Salem

What is a Total Solar Eclipse?

A solar eclipse is where the moon passes in-between the sun and the earth. Once this happens, viewers will see the corona. The corona is the outer atmosphere of the sun. It will appear as pearly white rays with streamers. The Solar Eclipse will have a Path of Totality about 100 miles wide. Those wishing to witness the full 100% effect should do so in the path.

solar eclipse map
Photo Credit: NASA

Though the eclipse will be seen in other areas the further away people are from the projected path, the less of the solar eclipse they will see. Some will see 75%, 50% or 25% of the Solar Eclipse.  Since cities along the coasts may have an issue with fog,  guests might want to head inland a few miles if they can to enjoy the maximum effects of the Solar Eclipse.

Where can you the Total Solar Eclipse?

Salem, Oregon

On the West Coast Salem, Oregon is the best bet.While in Salem, there are many things that visitors can do to make this adventure a full family vacation. Visitors can tour the Oregon State Capitol and Enchanted Forest theme park. The Oregon State Capitol tours are ideal for families who have autism because it does not have some of the extreme security like other state capitols.

salem capitol
Photo credit Matthew Phillips/ Wikipedia Commons

Sun Valley, Idaho

The Eclipse will be well viewed in the North Western US, in states like Idaho, Wyoming, and Nebraska.Though most famous for its winter ski resorts, Sun Valley offers visitors outdoor sports opportunities during the summer months. At Bald Mountain travelers can visitors go hiking,  biking or watch ice shows. Travelers seeking adventure should try the white water rafting at White Otter Outdoor Adventures.

Photo Credit: Steven Coles/Flickr

Jackson, Wyoming

This town is one of our family favorites because of its proximity to two incredible National Parks; Yellowstone and the Grand Teton. The two parks though diverse in nature are the perfect spot for a memorable family vacation. Kids will be fascinated with Yellowstone’s colorful pools and Old Faithful, geyser as well as the wildlife that includes  American Bison, Bears, and Elk.and so much more wildlife.Our kids still remember how we sat in the car for half an hour waiting for a bison to cross the road.

solar yellowstone

Grand Island, Nebraska

If your kids love the  Oregon Trail game like ours then they will certainly get a kick out of crossing the Platt River in real life.Ours did! The Platt River runs through Grand Island, Nebraska. While in Grand Island, families can visit the Crane Trust Nature & Visitor Center and the Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer. The Stuhr Museum is an excellent venue to explore particularly for families with fourth and fifth graders studying about the American Pioneers.

Photo Credit: David Wilson/Flickr

Jefferson City, Missouri

Jefferson, Missouri is one of the several Midwestern towns that travelers can experience the solar Eclipse. As the State capital, it houses the State Capitol building that features impressive architecture and artwork. Other city landmarks include the Lewis and Clark Monument Trailhead Plaza and the State penitentiary. Tours are available for the prison but parents should be aware the this is a three-hour tour that might be too long for kids with autism. Furthermore, the groups tend to be a bit large and the landmark has no A/C which can be challenging on hot days.

Photo Credit: David Wilson /Flickr

Chester, Illinois

Chester Illinois is home to an American icon-Popeye. Yes, Popeye the sailor man, toot…toot. If you are a fan of the animated series then following the Popeye and friends trail of cartoon characters around the city is a must.The trail is compiled of granite statues and includes Olive Oyl, Bluto, and Wimpy. For the history buffs among us visiting the Kaskaskia Bell is a free treat.  Also, known as the Liberty Bell of the West this one is older than its Philly counterpart.

Photo Credit; Paul Sableman /Flickr

Hopkinsville, Kentucky

The city of Hopkinsville is going out of its way to celebrate the Eclipse. In fact, it has an entire of weekend events before the sun disappears for two minutes on Monday, August 21. When visiting Hopkinsville, visitors should stop by the Trail of Tears Commemorative Park.This is a historical Cherokee site – a stop on the Trail of Tears March in the 1800’s. The site consists of a small museum and cemetery which is the burial place for two Chiefs.

Photo credit: Don Sniegowski/Flickr

Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville, Tennessee is an amazing city to visit on any given day. The city home to the Grand Old Opry has been nicknamed the center of Country Music. Families venturing to the city can also explore its museums, or stop by the Nashville Zoo. From its music venues to its bustling restaurants serving its famous ribs the city has something for everyone.

solar nashville

Smoky Mountain National Park, North Carolina

The Smoky Mountain National Park is on the border of North Carolina and Tennessee. While waiting to see the Solar Eclipse families can enjoy scenic drives, tour historical buildings and even go white water rafting on one of its lakes. Moreover, the park with its mist covered mountains is also known for wildlife viewing and majestic waterfalls.

Photo Credit: Bruce Tuten/Flickr

Charleston, South Carolina

One of the more scenic spots on the Eastern seaboard Charleston is an ideal spot to see the Total Eclipse. Visitors can tour many museums like the Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum or the Children’s Museum of the Low Country. For the history fans, Fort Sumner is the place to check out.Apart from an impressive Aquarium, and crafts market the city has several noteworthy beaches on the Atlantic ocean for families to relax at.
solar charleston ship

Autism Travel Tips

solar pin
Parents planning a vacation for August 2017 should consider vacationing along the  Solar Eclipse projected path for a memorable family experience. For kids that find crowds difficult parents can book hotels outside the city for a  quieter environment.

Since without proper eye protection, the human eye could become damaged experts recommend that all adults and children have proper eye protection while watching the eclipse. For parents looking for an alternative to pricey glasses,  DIY kits at-home like a Pinhole Projection, Optical Projection, or Sun Funnel are easy to make and use.


Considering there were almost 100 years since the last total solar eclipse in the United States, what are your plans for that day? Will you be traveling to any of the locations above?









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Margalit Sturm Francus
A reformed dentist who gave up pulling teeth to show her son the world! Need tips on how to #travel with #autism? Follow me on Instagram & Facebook
Margalit Sturm Francus

Margalit Sturm Francus

A reformed dentist who gave up pulling teeth to show her son the world! Need tips on how to #travel with #autism? Follow me on Instagram & Facebook

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