In just over five months, a total solar eclipse will sweep across a wide swath of North America, and if you want to witness this incredible celestial event, you’ll want to book your accommodations now. Hotels in places that will experience total darkness on April 8 are already selling out, and prices are skyrocketing where rooms are still available. From Erie, Pennsylvania to Amherst, New York, prices have surged, with some hotels already sold out. Cheering crowds, traffic jams, and clear skies are expected to fill the prime eclipse destinations in states like Texas, Arkansas, and portions of southeastern Oklahoma. However, there are still reasonably priced hotel rooms available if you look beyond the major destinations, and campsites are also an option. So, if you don’t want to miss out on this awe-inspiring event, now is the time to book your spot.
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Hotels Selling Out in Eclipse Path
In just over five months, a total solar eclipse will be visible across a wide swath of North America. As the event draws near, hotels in the path of the eclipse are already selling out, and prices are soaring for the remaining rooms. If you want to experience this incredible celestial event, it’s essential to book your accommodations now and be prepared to pay a premium.
Demand and Prices Soaring
Hotels in cities like Erie, PA, and Amherst, NY, are experiencing a surge in demand for the eclipse. Prices that would typically range from $150 to $210 per night are now skyrocketing up to $1,188 for a similar room. The anticipation for the eclipse has caused hotels to sell out quickly, leaving travelers with limited options and increasing prices for the remaining rooms.
Prime Destinations for Viewing
The total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024, will begin in Mazatlán, Mexico, and sweep across 13 U.S. states, from Texas to Maine. According to solar eclipse cartographer Michael Zeiler, Texas, Arkansas, and portions of southeastern Oklahoma will be prime destinations for viewing due to the likelihood of clear weather. These states have seen a surge in hotel bookings, and prices have nearly doubled. However, Midwestern and Northeastern states like Ohio, New York, Vermont, and Maine, where clear skies are less guaranteed in early spring, still have some availability and lower prices.
Challenges with Accommodations
Finding accommodations for the total solar eclipse can be challenging due to the high demand. Major hotel chains like IHG Hotels & Resorts are sold out in popular eclipse locations like Bloomington, Ind. Some travelers have also reported issues with home-sharing services like Airbnb and Vrbo. Guests have experienced hosts attempting to raise prices after bookings have been made, forcing them to cancel and find alternative accommodations.
Booking Accommodations in Advance
To secure your lodging for the total solar eclipse, it’s crucial to book as early as possible. With demand remaining high, waiting until the last minute is not advisable. Travel experts recommend making your reservations now to ensure you have a place to stay during this remarkable event.
Still Available Accommodations
While many hotels have already sold out, there are still reasonably priced rooms available if you look beyond the major destinations. For example, the Quality Inn & Suites Watertown Fort Drum in Calcium, N.Y., still has one room left starting at $115 per night. The Pear Tree Inn in Sikeston, Mo., offers rooms starting at $270 per night, and the Motel 6 in Lima, Ohio, has rooms starting at $111 per night. By expanding your search to less popular areas, you can find affordable accommodations.
Campsites as an Alternative
If hotels are fully booked or beyond your budget, campsites can be an excellent alternative for experiencing the total solar eclipse. Some campgrounds along the path of totality may still have availability, although they are filling up quickly. In Indiana, campsites at Monroe Lake are already full, but other state parks like Mounds State Park still have sites available starting at $20 per night. Texas state parks also offer campsites starting at around $20 per night.
Landowners Offering Camping Spots
With campsites in high demand, some landowners have decided to open their properties for camping during the eclipse. For example, the H.W. Lewis Ranch in Leakey, Texas, will accommodate around 350 guests for basic camping and a few RV hookups. Prices for a basic camping spot start at $550 for two nights, with a maximum of 10 guests. These private camping options can provide a unique experience for eclipse enthusiasts.
Booking Multiple Locations for Backup
To ensure you have a backup plan in case of bad weather, consider booking accommodations in multiple locations along the path of totality. However, be cautious of hotel cancellation policies, as they might be stricter for the eclipse period. Carefully review the terms and conditions before making multiple reservations.
Utilizing Local Tourism Websites
To help with finding accommodations, events, and other resources, it’s beneficial to utilize local tourism websites. Many destinations, including eclipse-specific sites in Vermont and Austin, Texas, offer specific resources to assist visitors in finding lodging and planning their eclipse experience. These websites can provide valuable information and make your travel preparations more manageable.
In conclusion, if you want to witness the upcoming total solar eclipse, it’s vital to secure your accommodations as soon as possible. Hotels in the path of the eclipse are selling out quickly, and prices are surging. Consider alternative options like campsites or private landowners offering camping spots if traditional accommodations are unavailable. By booking in advance and utilizing local tourism websites, you can ensure a memorable and successful eclipse viewing experience.