Campgrounds, hotels filling up for solar eclipse

It’s months away, but have you made plans yet for the 2017 solar eclipse?

The August 21, 2017, event will be highly visible in and around the Local 6 area. Places where you can watch the eclipse include Perryville in southeast Missouri, Eddyville and Hopkinsville in west Kentucky, Clarksville and Nashville in Tennessee and Carbondale in southern Illinois.

Hotels and campgrounds are filling up as people rush to get their reservations in for next August. Organizers say do it now before sites are booked up.

On a quiet fall day at Giant City State Park, most campers are taking it easy. But site superintendent Calvin Beckmann says everyone there is busy working toward the rush expected for next the solar eclipse.

"We actually have 85 sites that are reserve-able here, or a little bit more than that, and all of them have been booked," Beckmann said. He says the Department of Natural Resources campgrounds on the eclipse path opened up reservations on Sept. 21, but their sites at Giant City State Park were all booked within 48 hours.

"I wasn’t surprised. The reality is we’ve been getting phone calls on a daily basis, anywhere from one to at least half a dozen or a dozen for the past two years," Beckmann said.

But it’s not just the campsites that are filling up. Hotels are getting booked up there, too. At the Hampton Inn in Carbondale, staff members say between hosting NASA and tourists, they’re already 80 percent booked. Many camping spots and hotels near Hopkinsville and Eddyville, Kentucky, say they’re booked up, or close to it, for the eclipse.

Beckmann says if you’re planning on coming in for the eclipse, make reservations now, even if it’s not your first choice. He says the park will be open for hikers and visitors, even if you aren’t staying there.

"Just because you’re not camping here, doesn’t mean you can’t come and visit," Beckmann said. And if you’re not staying with them this time around, he says there’s always the eclipse in 2024 that will again cross southern Illinois and Giant City State Park.

But, he says, no matter where you’re watching from, the eclipse is sure to be an experience to remember.

To reserve a campsite through Reserve America, click here.   

To find a campground near the path of totality, click here and here. For more information on the 2017 solar eclipse and its path across the U.S, click here.  

For more information on Carbondale and nearby accommodations, click here. or follow them on Facebook.

For more information on the eclipse’s path through west Kentucky, click here.

For more information on the 2017 Solar Eclipse and what SIU Carbondale is doing to study and research it, click here

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