The Great North American Eclipse 2024: Plan Your RV Adventure with Happy Trails Family

The Road Diaries

A solar eclipse is the sight of a lifetime! Planning an RV trip to see one can be an exciting and memorable adventure. It blends the wonders of the open road with the awe-inspiring phenomenon of the cosmos. On April 8th, 2024 many people in the US, Mexico, and Canada will be able to see it but will need to start planning and preparing soon! 

About the Solar Eclipse

A solar eclipse is a captivating celestial event that occurs when the moon passes between the Earth and the sun, momentarily blocking all or a portion of the sun’s light from reaching the Earth’s surface. This creates a temporary shadow on Earth and can result in a partial or total darkening of the sky, transforming daylight into an eerie twilight. There are different types of solar eclipses including partial, total, and annular. During a total solar eclipse, the moon covers the sun entirely, revealing the sun’s outer atmosphere in a breathtaking display known as the corona. A particle eclipse occurs when only a portion of the sun is obscured and the annular involves the moon covering the central part of the Sun, leaving a ring-like appearance. Regardless of the type of Solar eclipse, they each offer a rare and fascinating glimpse into our cosmic world. 

When and Where is the next Solar Eclipse?

Mark your calendars for the total solar eclipse that will occur on April 8th, 2024. If you want to see this rare and incredible cosmic event, you have to be in the right place at the right time! Fortunately for the modern world, astronomers can predict when the next 100 years of solar eclipses will occur! The total solar eclipse happening in April will stretch across the North American continent, beginning its journey in Mexico at 11:07a.m. PDT. It will then enter the United States through Texas, traveling through Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. Finally, it will complete its journey in Canada by passing through Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia, leaving North America at 5:06p.m. NDT. 

Path of Totality – Duration

A total solar eclipse is only visible from specific locations along a narrow path called the “path of totality.” To witness the total solar eclipse you’ll need to be within this path. If you are right outside the path of totality you will only be able to see a partial eclipse. The specific duration of the next solar eclipse really just depends on your location and the eclipse’s path of totality or particle coverage. This is why it’s best to use an astronomy website to give you the best predictions to help you plan your trip and choose your desired location. You can use our preferred site for all of our eclipse adventure planning, Time, and Date by clicking here. This next total solar eclipse is set to be a relatively long one with the maximum duration of totality anywhere along the eclipse path will be about 4 minutes 27 seconds. For comparison, the maximum length of totality for the last total solar eclipse to cross the continental U.S., which occurred on Aug. 21, 2017, was just 2 minutes 40 seconds!

Book Early and Make it a Whole Trip

This eclipse is expected to attract a large number of visitors, so it’s a good idea to book accommodations and transportation well in advance! Campgrounds and hotels are booking up fast, some already with no availability. When we were starting our research for our preferred location to view the eclipse we had to be flexible and find a campground that was a little ways from where we originally wanted to be. Consider making it a whole trip and plan your itinerary for the days leading up to and even after the April 8th eclipse. Explore local attractions, landmarks, and other activities to make the most of your trip with your family. Just remember, planning and booking ahead of time can help ensure you’ve secured a spot and offer a stress-free and more enjoyable experience.

two kids in nature watching the sun set

Local Events and Tour packages

Some travel companies are even offering eclipse-themed tour packages that include accommodations, transportation, and guided viewing experiences. This option is great for people who want to see it without all the planning it involves. Another cool experience is that some cities, usually within the path of totality, even offer local eclipse festivals and gathering events. These usually require reservations or tickets so it’s important to plan and book early if this is more your style. 

Glasses and Other Equipment

Don’t forget your eclipse glasses! When the eclipse begins, it will be a partial eclipse for around an hour or so before totality. If you want to see this, you will need special glasses in order to protect your eyes. Solar glasses can be purchased online or sometimes at local stores when it gets closer to the date of the eclipse if you’re shopping near the path of totality. However, we recommend securing them beforehand to avoid shortages. During the 2017 eclipse glasses at stores and most places online were sold out or wouldn’t ship in time for the big day. Some people we met even resorted to having to make their own due to not being able to acquire any the week prior. 

Some other items to consider are cameras, telescopes, and extra batteries/phone charging blocks. There isn’t anything worse than your phone dying right before this awesome celestial event like ours did back in 2017! If you are planning on photographing this phenomenon make sure you have the necessary equipment and solar filters for your camera. Keep in mind that you may have to hold your place wherever you are sitting to view the eclipse if there are large crowds so you may not be able to access an outlet to charge your devices. This really depends on where you plan to be when the eclipse is happening. So make sure you have all that you want and need before the eclipse that way you don’t miss out on capturing this incredible moment. 

Factoring In Weather

As the eclipse falls in early April, be prepared for colder temperatures in the northern viewing areas. Consider whether your RV can handle these colder conditions, make appropriate preparations if you are planning on tent camping, or if you choose hotel accommodations you should be prepared to drive away from the hotel if clear skies are not in the nearby forecast. Research weather data history for eclipse viewing spots beforehand to identify areas with the highest probability of clear skies in April. Keep in mind that weather conditions can be unpredictable, even in well-researched regions, so staying informed and monitoring weather forecasts leading up to the event is vital. April is known for rain, so closely watch the weather as the cosmic event approaches in your chosen location. True adventurers should anticipate the need to relocate for a better chance of witnessing the eclipse. When we saw our first eclipse in 2017, there was a cluster of clouds that covered the sun an hour or two before totality. We mentally prepared ourselves for the clouds to remain in the way, and for us to not see it. The cool thing about this was that we could see the partial eclipse through the clouds with regular sunglasses on. We were super fortunate, however, and the clouds parted about a half hour before totality! Flexibility and a positive attitude are essential. Weather is beyond our control, and despite meticulous planning, unforeseen factors may affect eclipse visibility. Therefore, we recommend integrating the eclipse into an exciting trip for a more fulfilling experience.

Our 2017 Eclipse Experience

We saw our first total solar eclipse in August 2017. We drove to the nearest part of the path of totality that didn’t look like it would have rain, and where we thought we might have a pretty view. We ended up in the Nantahala National Forest in North Carolina at the top of an observation tower. The tower’s roof had burned off, so we had a 360-degree view of the mountains around us. We had found this spot the day before and camped out on the trail with permission from the Park Rangers along with about two dozen other people. We had never seen so many stars as we did that night. Astronomers had brought their telescopes and were teaching campers about the night sky. The next morning we grabbed our spot at the top of the tower, since more cars were filling in the parking lot, and people were beginning to lay out blankets and set up chairs. Hikers, hippies, and adventurers were everywhere. There were probably over 200 other people that had gathered just in this area. We sat in this same spot atop the tower for about six hours! This is why we recommend coming prepared with battery packs, water, and plenty of snacks. As totality began, the temperature dropped, and the landscape darkened around us. Multiple planets came into view. The sound of awe and amazement buzzed all around us. The woman who had been sitting next to us all day began to cry. It’s truly a memory we’ll never forget which is why we’re excited for this next eclipse and to get the word out for other travelers to witness this amazing celestial phenomenon!

A Sight You Don’t Want to Miss!

After the total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024, the next total solar eclipse that you will be able to witness from the contiguous United States won’t be until August 23, 2044! Yes, there will be other total solar eclipses viewable from other countries and continents before then, however, it will be much more difficult and costly to plan a trip overseas. So this is a sight you don’t want to miss if you are in the US, Mexico, or Canada! Get your RVs ready for April and start planning your adventure now! 

Learn about the 2024 Solar Eclipse:

Millions Are Traveling for the 2024 Solar Eclipse, Have you Booked your RV Yet?

2024 Solar Eclipse RV Adventure: Best Packing Tips and Lists