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Between noon and 5 pm on Monday April 8th, a partial solar eclipse will be visible over all 48 states in the continental U.S., as well as parts of both Canada and Mexico. In addition, viewers in a thin band from from Houston to northern Maine will see the sun disappear completely for a few minutes.

A complete solar eclipse is a once-in-a-lifetime event for many, so thousands of folks plan to road trip to the nearest spot on this “path of totality.” (Man, that would make a good action movie title). Experts are predicting the largest mass travel event in the United States ever, equivalent to 50 simultaneous Super Bowls.

I’ll be one of the eclipse tourists. The sheer number of us may cause problems with rural infrastructure. So here’s where to go and some ways we can all view the eclipse and get home again safely.

The total solar eclipse will make landfall on Mexico’s Pacific coast. It will hit Dallas Texas at 1:40 pm. Then it will travel through parts of Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and finally Maine. Totality over Caribou, Maine will end at 3:34 pm. You can see NASA’s timetable below.

LocationPartial BeginsTotality BeginsMaximumTotality EndsPartial Ends
Dallas, Texas12:23 p.m. CDT1:40 p.m. CDT1:42 p.m. CDT1:44 p.m. CDT3:02 p.m. CDT
Idabel, Oklahoma12:28 p.m. CDT1:45 p.m. CDT1:47 p.m. CDT1:49 p.m. CDT3:06 p.m. CDT
Little Rock, Arkansas12:33 p.m. CDT1:51 p.m. CDT1:52 p.m. CDT1:54 p.m. CDT3:11 p.m. CDT
Poplar Bluff, Missouri12:39 p.m. CDT1:56 p.m. CDT1:56 p.m. CDT2:00 p.m. CDT3:15 p.m. CDT
Paducah, Kentucky12:42 p.m. CDT2:00 p.m. CDT2:01 p.m. CDT2:02 p.m. CDT3:18 p.m. CDT
Carbondale, Illinois12:42 p.m. CDT1:59 p.m. CDT2:01 p.m. CDT2:03 p.m. CDT3:18 p.m. CDT
Evansville, Indiana12:45 p.m. CDT2:02 p.m. CDT2:04 p.m. CDT2:05 p.m. CDT3:20 p.m. CDT
Cleveland, Ohio1:59 p.m. EDT3:13 p.m. EDT3:15 p.m. EDT3:17 p.m. EDT4:29 p.m. EDT
Erie, Pennsylvania2:02 p.m. EDT3:16 p.m. EDT3:18 p.m. EDT3:20 p.m. EDT4:30 p.m. EDT
Buffalo, New York2:04 p.m. EDT3:18 p.m. EDT3:20 p.m. EDT3:22 p.m. EDT4:32 p.m. EDT
Burlington, Vermont2:14 p.m. EDT3:26 p.m. EDT3:27 p.m. EDT3:29 p.m. EDT4:37 p.m. EDT
Lancaster, New Hampshire2:16 p.m. EDT3:27 p.m. EDT3:29 p.m. EDT3:30 p.m. EDT4:38 p.m. EDT
Caribou, Maine2:22 p.m. EDT3:32 p.m. EDT3:33 p.m. EDT3:34 p.m. EDT4:40 p.m. EDT

One critically important fact is that the partial eclipse will last for nearly three hours near this “path of totality.” Your eyes, and the eyes of other motorists, will not be adjusted to the lower light. Many drivers may be disoriented or even looking skyward. Cars may stop along the side of the road.

Bad traffic might cause many eclipse tourists to miss totality altogether. And as traffic slows down, road rage could be an issue. I am going to avoid driving at all during the partial eclipse: my motto is to arrive early and stay late. But this will require a plan.

I’d say find a nice walkable downtown with outdoor restaurants. Then get a reservation and arrive early. Or pack a picnic and go to a public park. Again, early. But driving around just looking for a spot to watch could end in disappointment.

Map of the path of totality of the solar eclipse of the U.S. in April 2024.
2024 solar eclipse map | NASA

A second factor is that the sun doesn’t care what towns would be “best suited” for the big crowds. The eclipse’s path is what it is. Hotels in many towns are already fully booked. Road rage from traffic jams may only be the beginning of our problems. I’m sure there will be long lines for bathrooms, food, and perhaps even gasoline.

I am leaving with a full tank and plenty of food and water for the day. Then, the worse that happens is I wait for some traffic. But as long as I’m self-contained, I can wait it out.

A third factor will be the temperature. Experts warn that during an eclipse this time of year, temperatures could drop as much as ten degrees. And we’ll all be sitting outside to watch. So wearing your eclipse glasses is only part of being ready, bring some extra clothing too.

Finally, prepare your crew. It’s important to manage expectations. If everyone plans to sit outside for a few hours, or preps some playlists for a long drive, then falling a bit behind schedule is part of your 2024 eclipse adventure.

Next, find out whether you’re truly ready to change a tire by the side of the road or learn more about the 2024 eclipse in the video below: