It may seem a bit early to start making 2024 travel plans, but a rare occurrence will take place next April that you won’t want to miss. On April 8, a rare total solar eclipse will occur, covering a diagonal strip of North America in the shadow zone. While the path of totality will be a narrow one, it will cover more than a dozen states. This gives family travelers plenty of opportunities to experience the eclipse, but one state stands out as an ideal destination to visit around this rare event: Arkansas.
Not only will Arkansas lie within the narrow path of totality, but great weather is expected. There are also some pretty great adventures to be had, making it the perfect place to plan a vacation where you can enjoy family fun while taking advantage of an event as unusual as a total solar eclipse.
Known as “the natural state,” Arkansas is home to more than 500,000 lakes, 90,000 miles of rivers and streams and 52 state parks, giving visitors plenty of outdoor spaces to roam and explore both before and after the eclipse — not to mention giving some nice wide-open space to enjoy an unobstructed view of the event itself. Twenty-six of the state’s parks are located within the path of totality, like Crowley’s Ridge State Park near Paragould, Pinnacle Mountain State Park near Little Rock and Cossatot River State Park and Natural Area near Wickes. Families can camp for a few nights or simply spend a day exploring these beautiful parks with itineraries built around the eclipse as the main event.
If your family isn’t the camping type, Arkansas towns and cities offer plenty of fun and excitement in their own rights. Little Rock is a great option thanks to an up-and-coming culinary scene; historic neighborhoods to explore; and fun ways to spend the day with the family, like visiting the hands-on Museum of Discovery or exploring the Arkansas River Trail to discover how deeply rooted the city is in nature.
From Texarkana in the state’s southwestern corner to cities like Jonesboro and Mountain Home in the northeast, the eclipse’s shadow zone will cover two-thirds of the state in total darkness for about four minutes, with the rest of the state experiencing a partial eclipse for 2.5 hours. But as anticipation builds, accommodations fill up fast, so be sure to start your planning now. If you have a hard time finding a hotel or campsite that will take reservations so far in advance, contact the reservations department directly rather than trying to book online as many venues are using a special “eclipse reservation list” for this event.
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