The 10 Best Places To See The 2024 Solar Eclipse In The South

Philip Hart/Stocktrek Images/Getty Images Total Solar Eclipse
Philip Hart/Stocktrek Images/Getty Images Total Solar Eclipse

On Monday, April 8, a historic solar eclipse is set to pass through the United States, Mexico, and Canada—making it the only eclipse in the 21st century to pass through all three countries. In the U.S., 13 states are partially in the path of totality, and five of those states are in the South. Parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, and Kentucky will all experience a total solar eclipse (the first since 2017), and everyone’s gearing up for the big show. From town festivals to hosted watch parties to hotel packages to food and drink specials, no one intends to let this momentous occasion pass without a bit of fanfare. Here are the best Southern places where you can see the solar eclipse in 2024. Just don’t forget your special solar eclipse-watching glasses or you could seriously harm your eyesight!

What Is A Solar Eclipse?

A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun, casting a shadow on the Earth that blocks out some or all of the Sun’s rays. This rare phenomenon causes the sky to darken during the middle of the day as if it were dusk or dawn. Places that are in the eclipse’s path of totality (meaning the Moon is perfectly positioned to fully block the Sun), will see the most dramatic darkening.

When Is the 2024 Solar Eclipse?

The 2024 solar eclipse will take place on Monday, April 8, but when you see the eclipse depends on where you lie on its path. The eclipse will start in the U.S. at 1:27 p.m. CST in Texas and then travel in a northeast path until it appears in Maine beginning at 3:29 p.m. EST and concluding at 3:33 p.m. EST.

<p>Getty Images</p>

Getty Images

Where To See The Eclipse In Texas

Texas is one of the best places to see the eclipse because the eclipse will take a wide route through the state, meaning dozens of towns will experience totality. Forecasts also show clear skies for much of the state, providing optimal viewing conditions.

San Antonio, Texas

Firmly in the path of totality, the Alamo City is ready to do the solar eclipse right. There will be viewing parties big and small popping up all over the city on April 8, but one of the best spots to see the show is from the rooftop of the Thompson San Antonio Riverwalk hotel. Sitting high at 20 stories above the famous Riverwalk, the hotel’s signature indoor-outdoor rooftop restaurant The Moon’s Daughters is an ideal spot to take it all in. Join for a special Solar Brunch from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (just before totality begins) complete with themed cocktails, entertainment, and complimentary viewing glasses.

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Fort Worth, Texas

Another city in the path of totality, Fort Worth will experience totality for about 2 minutes and 30 seconds starting at 1:40 p.m. CST. The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History and the Fort Worth Botanic Garden will co-host a community watch party that will include family-friendly games, entertainment, and education. Those visiting from out of town can stay at the Crescent Hotel and take advantage of their special Eclipse Package that includes accommodations, a $50 food and beverage credit for a special eclipse happy hour at the Circle Bar, and complimentary glasses so you can view the show from the lawn of the Kimbell Art Museum directly across the street.

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Houston, Texas

Though Houston doesn’t fall in the path of totality, it will see 94% obscuration which is pretty high compared to lots of other places around the U.S. that will see much less. One reason to watch in Houston is to attend the Total Solar Eclipse Celebration at the Space Center Houston. There’s no better experience than to visit the museum and space center, learn all about the galaxies, and then round out your trip by seeing a rare natural phenomenon.

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Grapevine, Texas

The wide-open spaces and gorgeous vistas of the Texas Hill Country make Grapevine a top place to consider for eclipse travel. The small town is going all out for the eclipse with a giant party in the Main Street Historic District with local restaurants and businesses featuring galactic-themed food and drink specials. They’re also offering a VIP Experience at Peace Plaza, and boutique property Hotel Vin will release a special limited-edition Eclipse Bourbon and host a Lunar Lunch.

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Kerrville, Texas

As the Primary Eclipse Partner for NASA, you may as well call this small town in Texas Hill Country Solar Eclipse Central. NASA will host the Kerrville Eclipse Festival beginning at 10 a.m. on April 8 at Louise Hays Park, which is just a few miles from the exact center line of totality. Programming will include scientific speakers, live music, children’s activities, and a great place to experience 4 minutes and 25 seconds of totality.

Where To See The Eclipse In Arkansas

A large portion of Arkansas will also experience eclipse totality on the 8th, making it an equally desirable place to visit for the galactic event.

Little Rock, Arkansas

Head to the state’s capital for an eclipse party to remember. The University of Arkansas at Little Rock is hosting a full-day of activities that range from educational talks to family-friendly games and laser demonstrations. Totality will reach Little Rock at 1:51 p.m. CST and last for about 2 minutes and 20 seconds.

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Hot Springs, Arkansas

As one of only two national parks in the path of totality for the 2024 eclipse, Hot Springs National Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas might be one of the most sought-after destinations for eclipse viewing. The park has only been in the path of totality two other times—once in 1834 and another time in 1918. The next time the eclipse reaches Arkansas will be 2045, so don’t miss your chance to get in on the action. Eclipse Fest, featuring presentations from visiting scientists, activities, and demonstrations, will take place in the park on Arlington Lawn on April 6-7.

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Where To See The Eclipse In Missouri

A much smaller portion of Missouri is in the path of totality than in Arkansas and Texas, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still great places to see the eclipse in the Show Me State.  

Branson, Missouri

Though Branson didn’t quite make the cut-off for totality, the city will experience nearly 99% obscurity. If you’re looking for a larger city with plenty of amenities for your eclipse trip, Branson is your spot. For a scenic home base from which to take in the eclipse, head to Branson Lakes Resort or Branson Woods Resort, both of which are offering Eclipse Watch Parties featuring themed snacks, games, and music.

Where To See The Eclipse In Kentucky

Only a couple places in Kentucky will experience totality. Luckily, the charming town of Paducah is one of them.

Paducah, Kentucky

Small town vibes with big city perks like great dining and accommodations make Paducah a wonderful place to visit. The town celebrates the eclipse with their X Marks the Spot event, a two-day community festival in historic downtown that will include street vendors, arts and crafts activities, and specials at local restaurants and bars.

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Where to See The Solar Eclipse in Oklahoma

Only 11 destinations in Oklahoma will experience totality, but most are teeny tiny. Broken Bow is one of only a handful with a population over 2,000.  

Broken Bow, Oklahoma

The total eclipse will last for 4 minutes and 17 seconds in Broken Bow, starting at 1:45 p.m. CST, which is one of the longest durations for a U.S. destination outside of Texas. If you’re looking for a quieter experience to watch the eclipse with loved ones, book a cabin around Broken Bow Lake, pre-order special viewing glasses online, and host your own private watch party.

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