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Arguably one of the biggest tourism events of the year in the U.S., it’s hard to estimate exactly how many people will be traveling to see the total solar eclipse on August 21st. What we can say for certain is that it’s virtually impossible to get a hotel in many of the cities, towns and communities along the “path of totality” (the path where the sun will be completely obstructed by the moon during the eclipse). We searched to find great hotel options in some of the larger cities nearby, and show you how to take advantage of your trip to experience the eclipse… and more!

RELATED: American music fans, this is your dream road trip

The Society Hotel

Portland, Oregon

As the first state to experience the path of totality, Oregon offers travelers from up and down the West Coast a chance to catch the early morning solar eclipse. As such, hotels in or near that totality path are booked solid—but you can still get a great hotel in hip Portland, and plan ahead to drive into the path of totality on the morning of August 21st.

Where to stay: The Society Hotel offers cheap, chic rooms in the heart of Old Town (the epicenter of Portland nightlife) and close to the bumping Pearl District.

What to do: Before heading out to see the eclipse, swing by State Pine Biscuits and wait happily in line for the mouthwatering Reggie (fried chicken, bacon and cheese, topped with gravy). Make sure you time your visit early, as the solar eclipse will be visible in Oregon starting around 9am.

Distance to the eclipse path of totality (POT): Portland is a mere 45 miles to Salem, which is well within the zone of totality. A viewing party is being held at the state fairgrounds there.

Recommended viewing spot: The further you get from cities the better. Consider making the 120-mile drive to teeny Madras, a top ranked viewing spot, and join the crowds at SOLARFEST.

Wingate by Wyndham

Gillette, Wyoming

Wyoming has a whole lot of open space, so it’s not difficult to place yourself anywhere along the path of totality, which hits the area between 10am and 11am. Popular destinations like Grand Teton National Park and Jackson Hole are booked solid, but you can still plan a trip to see the eclipse in Wyoming—especially in the eastern part of the state.

Where to stay: the Wingate by Wyndham in Gillette still has availability (for now) for a comfortable room and a good night’s sleep before your drive to the path of totality.

What to do: Make a weekend of your trip and tack on a half-day trip to Devil’s Tower in northeastern Wyoming. Or, stop by the quirky Campbell County Rockpile Museum if you want to see a different odd geologic formation.

Distance to eclipse POT: Head 85 miles south from Gillette to the town of Midwest where you can see totality sans crowds.

Recommended viewing spot: If you can make it work to catch the mid-morning eclipse, another 40 miles takes you to Casper, right along the path of totality.

The Graduate Hotel

Lincoln, Nebraska

The capital of Nebraska is lucky: It’s already within the path of totality, making your trip there much easier than other destinations on this list. You can choose to stay in Lincoln to enjoy the mid-morning eclipse, or head south a few miles to get away from the crowds.

Where to stay: The Graduate Lincoln still has available rooms, which feature a funky combination of mod elements and country charm, right in the heart of downtown.

What to do: Beat the summer heat by spending the afternoon after the eclipse at Sunken Gardens. These internationally recognized gardens feature serene ponds and lakes along with plenty of trees to find shade under.

Distance to eclipse POT: No need to drive—Lincoln is within the path of totality so you’re already there!

Recommended viewing spot: If you want to get as close as possible to a city along the path of totality, Grand Island is a 96-mile drive along I-80, and the Stuhr Museum is inviting guests for a viewing event.

ALSO: Our rewards program is pretty once in a lifetime, too. Except you’ll earn rewards every time you book.

Parkway Hotel

St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis is a destination in its own right, but is also lucky enough to be just on the border of the path of totality for the solar eclipse in August. There are plenty of tour operators leaving out of St. Louis heading south or southeast, as the maximum duration of the solar eclipse is happening in nearby Illinois and Kentucky.

Where to stay: The Parkway Hotel is within walking distance of Forest Park, and a short ride from downtown. It’s a perfect base for exploring the city during the weekend leading up to the eclipse.

What to do: While the Gateway Arch doesn’t offer a great view of the eclipse itself, you can enjoy a sprawling view over St. Louis and the surrounding countryside from the city’s most famous landmark. Also, don’t miss the equally indescribable and unforgettable City Museum.

Distance to eclipse POT: Zero miles. You can stay in St. Louis and see totality, though just barely!

Recommended viewing spot: Hop in the car and drive 105 miles southeast to Carbondale, Illinois. Just off the path of greatest totality, Carbondale is the home of the “solar eclipse crossroads” where the maximum duration will occur.

Hotel Preston

Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville, also known as “Music City,” is the largest city in the path of totality. It’s also a hotspot for tours and experiences related to the eclipse; all of the major gardens and attractions are hosting viewing events.

Where to stay: The Hotel Preston is close to Nashville International Airport, making it convenient if you’re visiting from another part of the country. Chic rooms are still affordable for the nights surrounding the eclipse, but they won’t last long.

What to do: Wander through history by visiting Nashville’s famous Parthenon (a replica of the one in Athens) followed by a visit to the Country Music Hall of Fame and a night of live music along Broadway.

Distance to eclipse POT: Zero miles. You can see the total solar eclipse from within Nashville.

Recommended viewing spot: The Adventure Science Center is just south of downtown Nashville, and is hosting the Music City Eclipse Science & Technology Festival all weekend preceding the eclipse. It includes live music performances for those who want to experience Music City while there.

Hotel Indigo

Asheville, North Carolina

Though the path of totality only sweeps across the southwest corner of North Carolina, there is certainly an opportunity to take in the experience in this state. Asheville has been making waves as a rising star among foodies and art lovers, and this is the perfect opportunity to plan a trip.

Where to stay: The Hotel Indigo in downtown Asheville will give you perfect access to the city’s vibrant food, arts and nightlife scenes if you make a weekend of your eclipse trip.

What to do: Two choices: Get outdoors and see some of the amazing waterfalls around the city and region, or take a walking tour around Asheville to see some of the gorgeous and historic architecture on almost every street. Or both!

Distance to eclipse POT: About 35 miles outside of Asheville, just beyond Waynesville, you can enter the path of totality and enjoy the full eclipse experience.

Recommended viewing spot: Head 64 miles south into South Carolina to Greenville. There, you’ll be able to enjoy the viewing event hosted by Roper Mountain Science Center mid-afternoon when totality occurs.

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Tagged: Cheap Tips, Events, Family, Festivals, Last minute travel, Seasonal, Tips & advice, Types of Travel

Valerie Stimac

Valerie Stimac

Valerie Stimac is a Seattle-based travel writer and blogger. She also writes on her new website Space Tourism Guide.
Valerie Stimac

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