Our suggestions on best viewing spots
On October 24, 2023, a spectacular total solar eclipse will be visible across a path spanning parts of North America, Central America, and South America. This rare celestial event occurs when the Moon blocks the Sun for several precious minutes, revealing the Sun's pearly corona and creating a thrilling sight.
But to experience the full magnificence of totality, you must position yourself within the eclipse's path of totality. This guide covers everything you need to know about the best places to observe the October 24, 2023 total solar eclipse to help plan your eclipse chasing adventure.
Overview of the Eclipse Path
The path of totality is the limited area where the Moon will completely cover the Sun for a period of maximum darkness. This path is fairly narrow, averaging just 90 miles wide, so pinpointing ideal locations within it is key.
According to predictions by eclipse-timer.com, the October 2023 eclipse path will:
- Begin off the coast of Northern California near Eureka around 9 AM local time.
- Travel southeast across the western United States through Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.
- Continue through Mexico along the coast and central regions.
- Cut diagonally across the U.S. again through Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, Ohio, New York and New England.
- End near sunset off Newfoundland, Canada in the Atlantic Ocean.
This makes it the first total solar eclipse visible from Mexico City since 1991 and first seen from Austin, Texas since 1415 AD.
Most Scenic Viewing Spots
For eclipse chasers who want a beautiful backdrop, some ideal scenic viewing locations include:
Redwood National Park, California
- Position yourself amidst the iconic giant redwoods to experience totality surrounded by these towering ancient trees.
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
- Watch as the black shadow of the Moon races across the expansive canyon bringing an eerie premature dusk.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee
- The dense Appalachian forest should darken beautifully into twilight during the 2+ minutes of totality here.
Niagara Falls, New York
- View the glorious falls plunge into darkness and emerge with the returning sunlight.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
- While not in the path, Hawaii still sees a deep partial eclipse perfect for viewing beside lava flows.
Best Weather Prospect Locations
Because solar eclipses require completely clear skies, choosing locations with the highest odds of favorable weather is key:
- Western U.S. - Low precipitation levels and sunny fall weather favor spots like Oregon, Idaho, Utah and New Mexico.
- Florida - While partly outside the path, north and central Florida offer great weather odds.
- Mexico - Drier central highlands around San Luis Potosi have passed eclipse weather records. As do Baja California and the Yucatan Peninsula.
- Eastern Canada - New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland have better eclipse weather odds than U.S. northeastern states.
- Central America - Costa Rica, Panama and northwestern South America rank high for eclipse weather suitability.
Major Cities in the Path of Totality
While small towns offer great eclipse viewing with fewer crowds, major cities in the path provide easier access for travelers.
In the United States, major cities in the path include:
- Salem, Oregon
- Albuquerque, New Mexico
- Dallas & Austin, Texas
- Little Rock, Arkansas
- Nashville, Tennessee
- Cleveland, Ohio
- Rochester, New York
- Montpelier, Vermont
In Mexico, major cities include:
- San Luis Potosí
- Mexico City
Most cities along the path will host eclipse events and festivals to celebrate the occasion.
Prime Viewing Spots by State
Here are some ideal eclipse viewing places broken down by U.S. state:
- Madras - Near centerline with great weather prospects. Hosts the Oregon Solarfest.
- Mitchell - A perfect little town right along the central path.
- Idaho Falls - High elevation and potato farming country with optimal weather.
- Rexburg - Small college town with great totality duration.
- Kanab - Southern Utah town right on centerline near scenic parks.
- White Sands National Monument - Unique tropical gypsum dunes that will darken under totality.
- Paducah - Quiet town with optimal spot near point of longest duration.
- Del Rio - Southwestern town on Mexican border in path.
- Mount Magazine State Park - Bucolic state park with amazing vista points and facilities.
- Clarksville - Major town outside Nashville positioned along the central line.
- Hopkinsville - Town that will host eclipse events and festivals.
- Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area - Dark skies perfect for viewing.
- Athens - College town in southeast Ohio in the eclipse sweet spot.
Upstate New York
- Watkins Glen - Scenic village and state park in the Finger Lakes region.
- Letchworth State Park - Known as the "Grand Canyon of the East" with bright fall foliage potential.
New England States
- Montpelier, Vermont
- White Mountains Region, New Hampshire
- Acadia National Park, Maine
Canada also offers prime spots like Montreal, Quebec, and Prince Edward Island.
Plan for the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse Too
A remarkable quirk of fate means that another total solar eclipse crosses the U.S. again in April 2024, just six months after the October 2023 eclipse.
The two eclipses intersect, creating an "X-zone" across Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri and Arkansas where totality can be experienced twice in less than a year.
So eclipse chasers visiting the U.S. for the 2023 event may want to camp out along the overlapping zone to witness two eclipses in a lifetime without having to wait decades. It's an unparalleled opportunity for devoted umbraphiles.
Be in the Path of Totality
While a partial solar eclipse can still be enjoyed from across North America, there is absolutely no comparison to being immersed in the complete shadow of the Moon. As the eerie darkness falls and Sun's glowing corona emerges, you'll understand why umbraphiles travel the world hunting even just a few moments of totality.
Use this guide to help choose your ideal spot within the path of the October 24, 2023 total solar eclipse. Whether you select an iconic national park, major city or tiny rural town, the experience will create memories to last a lifetime. Your only regret may be that the magical moments of totality can't last longer!