Seven out of 10 people who camp in the United States and Canada are planning to witness the April 2024 celestial event dubbed the “Great North American Eclipse” on a camping trip. Nearly 18% have already booked their spots, according to Kampgrounds of America (KOA).
The latest data from KOA reports a 13% increase in campers interested in witnessing the solar eclipse firsthand since their last poll in August 2023. This will be the last solar eclipse visible in the contiguous U.S. until 2044.
Darin Uselman, Chief Operations Officer at KOA, says, “We’re already seeing some KOA campgrounds entirely booked or quickly filling up with several months until the eclipse in April. The setting of a campground is an ideal place to view this unique event and truly connect with nature.”
Campgrounds in Path of Totality Are Selling Out
When the news of the 2024 solar eclipse hit mainstream media outlets, campgrounds, hotels, cities, and towns all over the U.S. started preparing. In Arkansas, where the narrow path of totality will be visible from several state parks, Arkansas State Parks posted a countdown and opened its reservation system so guests can prebook their spot.
Avid outdoorsman Pablo Fechino of The Happiness Function says, “I have been trying to make a reservation at Petit Jean State Park in Arkansas right in the path of totality, and everything is already sold out. We were told even the local hotels are sold out. I also looked for a spot at Buffalo Point in Buffalo National River – it’s booked.”
Uselman suggests, “For anyone thinking about enjoying the eclipse at a campsite, my advice is to book as soon as possible to get your spot along the path of totality. Even if a campground appears to be fully booked online, consider calling their reservation line to check for cancellations or be added to a waitlist.”
Campers Want to Be First in Line
With a little more than four months left until people in North America witness the eclipse, the hype for Americans trying to find reservations is not isolated to Arkansas.
Further north into Maine, Ashley Pichea, travel writer at Rooted Wanderings, says, “Finding a camping spot at Rangeley Lake State Park isn’t normally a difficult task, but with tens of thousands of people hoping to catch a glimpse of the total eclipse in Maine this April, snagging a reservation is going to be tough.”
Pichea continues, “I’m crossing my fingers to be the first one to get through on February 6th when 2024 reservations open!”
Increase in RV Rentals
RV rental brand RVshare is also seeing increased activity around the celestial event. In a recent 2024 travel trend report, RVshare announced a 324% increase in internal bookings for the solar eclipse weekend. Forty-six percent of people polled by RVshare said they have already booked their accommodations.
Hotels Are Selling Out, Too
Sold-out accommodations aren’t isolated to campgrounds within the path of totality. Hotels are already booked solid, as well. Sandy Caligiore, PR Representative for Mirror Lake Inn Resort and Spa in Lake Placid, New York, in the Adirondack Mountains, says that the resort’s solar eclipse package has completely sold out.
In San Antonio, Texas, hotels are preparing for the event, with more than half of the hotels in the northwest part of the city close to being sold out. It’s a prime destination for viewing the solar eclipse and can handle a large influx of tourists.
Other Ways to See the Eclipse
Some communities are busing locals to destinations where they can view day turning into night, if they aren’t within the path of totality and can’t camp or stay overnight.
Suzanna Best, VP of Marketing & Communications for the Adventure Science Center in Nashville, Tennessee, announced they will be offering an all-inclusive bus tour for locals interested in traveling to the Evansville Museum in Indiana to see the astronomical event.
Don’t Forget Safety Gear
If you’re one of thousands in America planning to view the solar eclipse firsthand, be sure to have proper safety glasses. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) says special glasses should be certified with ISO 12312-2 specifications. You should not look at the eclipse without special glasses. Be mindful of fake viewing lenses.
“Calm-Cations” Driving Travel Trend for 2024
The latest trends report from Campspot indicates that travelers continue to shift towards nature-driven vacations, with 93% of campers saying it helps them feel relaxed and refreshed.
Camping allows people to look forward to a vacation or weekend getaway without spending too much money. One in three people polled by Campspot have concerns over the economy, and 70% want a “calm-cation” — a relaxing, calm vacation that offers more low-key travel.
These days, camping doesn’t necessarily mean roughing it. Campers appreciate campgrounds with modern facilities, and 63% seek beautiful views while enjoying the outdoors. Many outdoor enthusiasts are anticipating celestial events like the solar eclipse in 2024.
This article was produced by The Happiness Function and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.