On April 8, 2024, a Total Solar Eclipse will sweep across the United States from Texas to Maine sending millions of Americans into darkness.
31 million Americans currently live inside the path of totality. 1,771,000 live in the path in Arkansas. Millions more will travel on eclipse day to witness nature’s greatest sight.
Knowing how many people may come, and the places they will gather is important information for communities, first responders, and businesses inside the path.
Great American Eclipse has developed a geographic model to estimate how many people will travel to see the Total Solar Eclipse on April 8, 2024. This model predicts that between 1 and 4 million people will travel to the path of totality. We predict that Texas will receive the majority of visitors, followed by Indiana, Ohio, New York, Arkansas, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Oklahoma, Maine, and New Hampshire.
“It will likely be the most-viewed astronomical event in American history. When you combine the populations of Mexico, USA, and Canada that live inside the path of totality, and add all of those who will travel on eclipse day, a total of 50 million North Americans witnessing totality is possible” ~ says Michael Zeiler, expert eclipse cartographer and co-founder of Great American Eclipse.
“It’s like having 50 Super Bowls happening at the same time all across the country” ~ says Great American Eclipse co-founder, Polly White. “The Super Bowl typically draws 80,000 people total. Multiply that by 50, and you have our high-range prediction for eclipse tourism. And this does not include Mexico or Canada.”
Unique Arkansas Viewing Spots
The eclipse will travel diagonally across the state starting in the southwest and moving to the northeast covering much of the Ouachita and Ozark Mountains and over a lot of public lands managed by the US Forest Service, the US Army Corps of Engineers, Arkansas State Parks and other state lands. There are a lot of options and hard decisions to make. Here is a sampling of locations within the path of totality, make your reservations quickly as they are already filling up.
Searcy County, Arkansas –
From the Searcy County website, “Searcy County is “The Best Place on Earth” to view the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse, so says California author Amanda Rose! April 8th, 2024 we will see a Total Solar eclipse here in the gorgeous Arkansas Ozarks! Why? Naturally Dark Night Skies, the Buffalo National River, Ozark Mountain Spring Scenery, Abundant Waterfalls, Great Trails, Live Music, Great Food, Great Airport and fly-in Destination, etc.
Outside Magazine has named the Buffalo National River as one of the Seven Best Places to see the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse! Top Seven in the World! Searcy County hosts approximately 48 miles of the Buffalo National River and it’s ALL IN 100% TOTALITY!”
Besides several events surrounding the eclipse including gravel bike rides near Witts Springs and off-road gatherings, locals are also renting camping spaces in the beautiful Ozark Mountains.
Recommendation: Spring is a great time to enjoy the numerous waterfalls in the area, stop by the Witts Springs Visitor Center for information on waterfall hunting before or after the eclipse.
Arkansas State Park Lodges –
All five Arkansas state parks that have lodge operations are located in the path of totality. These parks include Queen Wilhelmina State Park, DeGray Lake Resort State Park, Mount Magazine State Park, Petit Jean State Park, and Ozark Folk Center. In addition to their state-of-the-art lodges, all of these parks with the exception of the Ozark Folk Center offer campsites, while Mount Magazine and Petit Jean also have cabins available for rent. While it might be a bit late to find rooms available for the eclipse event, these are great places to be for the actual eclipse plus there are all of the normal things to do at these parks which include hiking, boating, nature viewing. There’s music and crafts at the Ozark Folk Center, the views from the highest mountain in the state at Mount Magazine, or get in some fishing at DeGray Lake Resort.
Recommendation: If you’re coming from out of state, check out some of the smaller parks outside the path of totality for camping and cabin options, you can drive into the path for viewing and then return to a nice quiet park for your overnight state.
Hot Springs National Park –
The Hot Springs area in Arkansas has been welcoming visitors for centuries and has the necessary facilities to ensure an incredible eclipse experience. There are plenty of events happening all over town, including viewing events at venues such as the Mid-America Science Museum, Cedar Glades Park, Garvan Woodland Gardens, Garland County Library, Oaklawn, Majestic Park, Bridge Street, Ron Coleman Mine and more. Many of these venues also offer lodging, music, food, and other amenities.
Recommendations: If you haven’t been to Hot Springs before, we suggest you plan for a longer stay and bring your mountain bike, boat, hiking shoes, and other outdoor gear. This beautiful city, nestled in the Ouachita Mountains, is surrounded by some of the clearest lakes in the country, which offer endless opportunities for outdoor activities. Besides, the city has a vibrant nightlife scene, so you won’t run out of things to do.
There are plenty of remote areas throughout the path of totality, do a little research, if you’re comfortable with dirt roads you can get to other unique spots. In the remote areas, please be prepared for a lack of cell phone coverage, stay off of private property unless invited, don’t take chances with driving roads you’re not comfortable with and please carry out any trash you have. Enjoy your visit.