Planning Your Solar Eclipse Trip

June 15, 2017  |  Permalink

On August 21, a band of darkness will sweep over Tennessee as the moon blocks out the sun for the first solar eclipse to affect this area since 1478. Visitors from around the world, hoping to enjoy this event, will flock to cities like Nashville, Clarksville and Cookeville. Nashville alone is expected to see a million visitors during the eclipse weekend.

With all of this excitement surrounding the solar eclipse, we want to make sure you are prepared to have the best experience possible. Here’s what you need to know to have a great visit at Tennessee State Parks:


1. Where you can see the eclipse

The “path of totality” is a strip of land roughly 70 miles wide where people will be able to see the total eclipse. This strip will run from Oregon to South Carolina, entering Tennessee at the Kentucky border near Clarksville and exiting Tennessee in the Great Smoky Mountains. Eighteen (18) Tennessee State Parks fall within the path of totality. Any park that is not within the path of totality will only see a partial eclipse, meaning the moon will not fully cover the sun. Only in the total eclipse will you see the “halo” effect, so it’s important to find a place to watch it that is within the path of totality.

Click the button below to see a full list of affected parks, along with the amount of time they will experience a total eclipse:


2. Where you can stay overnight

The 18 parks that fall within the path of totality are at capacity for cabin and inn room guests, and are quickly filling up for RV and tent campers. However, visitors still have a couple of options for staying in or near the path of totality:


There are still a few parks within the path of totality with campsites available:

Cummins Falls State Park is offering a rare opportunity for tent campers. Not only is this one of Tennessee’s most sought after waterfall destinations, but it does not normally offer camping. For the eclipse weekend, there are 100 campsites available, with 4 people allowed per site. Pre-registration is required and found here.

Other parks, like Harrison Bay, South Cumberland and Old Stone Fort, are located just a short drive from the path of totality and have plenty of room to host you and your friends.


If you’d rather sleep in a bed than on the ground, there is still room at Paris Landing State Park and Montgomery Bell State Park inns. Again, these parks are just a short drive away from the path of totality. Paris Landing State Park is actually a great place to bring your boat as the path of totality will pass over a portion of Kentucky Lake north of the park.

3. Events you can attend

The eclipse is set to pass through Tennessee around 1:20 PM Central Time on Monday, August 21. Visitors to our parks are encouraged to make a day of it even if you do not plan to spend the night with us. The 18 parks within the path of totality are offering a wide variety of events to celebrate the eclipse. From concerts and festivals, to triathlons and guided hikes, we have something for everyone. Check out our events page and plan to join us.


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Tennessee State Parks