Courtesy of Janelle Smith
The Total Solar Eclipse of 2017
On August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will move across the country beginning in Oregon, crossing 12 states to the edge of the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of South Carolina. Along the path of totality are hundreds of public land and waters facilities, campgrounds, monuments, historical sites, and others from which eclipse viewing could be ideal.
Tips for Preparing For the Eclipse
We expect demand to be extremely high for facilities within the path of totality. The six-month booking window to reserve campsites and other facilities along this path will open in February; exact dates will depend on your arrival date. If you want the best chance to reserve sites during what could be a high-demand time period, here are a few tips.
Tip #1: Decide where you want to go.
The NASA site has detailed information and maps that can assist as you decide where you would like to travel to experience the eclipse. Once you decide on a specific area, use the Recreation.gov Build-a-Trip tool to help you identify the federal sites and activities in that area that may be eligible for reservations.
Tip #2: Get ready to book a reservation
Reservations for campgrounds and activities in the path of totality may book up quickly! If you don’t have a Recreation.gov account already, create a profile and test it long before you make your reservation. Research the location and choose what you want, and have an alternate in mind.
TRY THIS: If you are new to Recreation.gov, practice making a reservation and get comfortable with the site. Get acquainted with the Date Range Availability tab, it’s the best “at a glance” view of what sites are available.
TRY THIS: If you can, select travel dates that do not include the anticipated peak travel days for the Total Solar Eclipse, and instead try to arrive before the weekend (think Wednesday or Thursday!) and stay past the eclipse.
TRY THIS: Synchronize your computer clock so that you are poised to refresh at exactly the on-sale time for the campground or activity you wish to reserve. Check the National Institute of Standards and Technology Internet Time Service.
Tip #3: Be ready and do not hesitate!
On the day the campground or activity becomes available, log in well before the sale begins. Bring up the location you wish to reserve and refresh your page at the exact time of sale (remember to do the time zone math ahead of time!).
Seconds make the difference between getting your reservation or not. Once you click “Continue to Shopping Cart” the site is locked in your cart for 15 minutes to give you time to complete your reservation. If you do not complete the transaction after 15 minutes, the campsite is released back into inventory. If your computer freezes, the site remains in your cart. Simply log back in, access your cart and complete the reservation.