Astronomy fans and outdoors lovers rejoice—the sun and moon are starring in a premier production on April 8, 2024, in a much-anticipated solar eclipse that’s expected by some to be the biggest mass travel event ever in the U.S. You’ll be happy campers to know that states in the path of totality include Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. And no, it’s not too early to start thinking about your camping plans.
The duration of totality will be up to 4 minutes and 27 seconds, almost double that of The Great American Eclipse of August 2017.
The weather can still be quite chilly in early April in most parts of the Northern U.S., so be prepared with warm clothing. For the ultimate experience, choose a camping location in a dark sky area to limit light pollution affecting your view. You also want to camp in an area that’s more private to limit light coming from other nearby campers.
Because of the enormous expanse of the path of totality, you have many choice destinations to experience the star-studded event, but this also means you have seemingly endless options to choose from. We spoke with industry experts from RVshare and Thousand Trails/Encore; outdoor travel expert Steve Warren, founder of Maps Over Coffee; Georgia McBroom of Camper FAQs; and Alex Gillard, founder of Nomad Nature Travel, and Van Russell of The Adventure Detour (both RVers with eclipse-camping experience), about their recommendations for where to camp during the 2024 solar eclipse.
Here’s a sampling of some of the best camping spots—ranging from free boondocking areas to luxury RV resorts—to experience this bucket-list celestial event.
The Best Camping Locations for the Solar Eclipse 2024
In Northern Arkansas, Beaver Lake is a long, winding lake surrounded by trails and bluffs where you can find a great spot to view the eclipse. Or rent a boat and watch from a floating platform.
Farther east is the Buffalo River. Brave campers can take a canoe or kayak out, but the water is frigid, so dress warm—it may be worth the trip to find an isolated place to view the eclipse. Check out campgrounds like Ozark and Tyler Bend.
In Hot Springs, check out Catherine’s Landing. For the 2017 eclipse, guests of Thousand Trails/Encore RV Resorts properties in the path of totality received certified solar viewing glasses to ensure they safely enjoyed watching the eclipse. In addition, many of the campgrounds made the most of the fun by hosting celestial-themed events throughout the surrounding days. Details for the 2024 event are pending.
Indiana is the self-proclaimed RV capital of the world, and Indianapolis is slated to have one of the best views of the eclipse between 1:50 p.m. and 4:23 p.m. EST. The Indianapolis KOA Holiday campground is located right outside of the city, perfect for outdoor camping and experiencing the big show.
- Lake Haven Retreat, Indianapolis
- Shakamak State Park, Jasonville
- Yellowwood State Forest, Nashville
- Buffalo Ridge Campground at Brown County State Park, Nashville
- Ouabache State Park, Bluffton
In Southern Missouri, the town of Eminence is home to the Current River. You can canoe down the river, just don’t expect a refreshing swim in early April. However, there are plenty of campgrounds, like Alley Spring, in the area that would be ideal for a base camp.
In Branson, Missouri—which will have 98 percent totality—there’s an RV rally centered around the 2024 eclipse organized by Fantasy RV Tours. Expect an eclipse-themed party and other local activities including shows, meals, and tours. RV campsites are pre-reserved and included in the price, so guests don’t have to deal with any planning or logistics.
- North Fork Campground, Pottersville
- Redman Creek Recreation Area, Wappapello
- Pinewoods Lake Campground, Ellsinore
Consider camping at Four Mile Creek State Park in Niagara County, which is located on the direct path of totality. Here, the eclipse is anticipated to last almost 4 minutes. It’s located along the shores of Lake Ontario; traditional campsites and yurts can be reserved starting March 2023.
- Branches of Niagara Campground & Resort, Grand Island
- Chautauqua Gorge State Forest, Mayville
- Lake Erie State Park, Brocton
- Evangola State Park, Irving
- Lakeside Beach State Park, Waterport
Expect the Lone Star State to celebrate big, as always. The eclipse’s path will cross a huge swath of the state. Experts recommend Big Bend National Park in Southwest Texas, on the Mexican border. It’s home to several campsites, and Alex Gillard says he plans on being at one of them for the eclipse: “Big Bend has some spectacular landscapes and observing the eclipse here will be breathtaking.”
At approximately 3:43 p.m. CST, the Canton KOA at the Silver Spur Resort in Canton (about an hour east of Dallas) will be among the best places in the world to view the next total eclipse.
Amenities include an on-site restaurant and brewery, catch-and-release fishing ponds, human foosball, an escape room, pool, and miniature golf. Plus, the resort is hosting an “Out of this World Eclipse Party” and is currently accepting reservations; contact the resort for details.
Another option is Blue Sky at Cedar Creek Lake, a luxury RV park located in the tiny town of Seven Points, meaning there will be little light pollution. Plus, it sits directly in the path of the eclipse in a wooded location. Amenities include a pool, hot tub, clubhouse with a movie theater, reading corner, games, and a brewery.
Lastly, Bandera, located in the Texas Hill Country, offers campsites for stellar stargazing on any night thanks to the celebrated dark skies in this neck of the woods. These campsites will get a generous 4 minutes and 3/8 seconds of totality. Check out Lost Maples State Natural Area.
- The Vineyards Campground & Cabins, Grapevine
- Seminole Canyon State Park, Comstock
- Governors Landing Campground, Del Rio
- Steele Creek Park Campground, Morgan
- Lake Texoma RV Campground, Gordonville