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7 North American National Parks To Visit For The Upcoming Eclipse (2024)

Ah, the solar eclipse, nature’s grandest light switch-flicking spectacle.

If you’ve missed the memo or have been living under a rock (no judgment, rocks can be cozy), another one’s on the horizon, and we’ve got the insider scoop on where to catch it live. After all, we’ve been to many of these parks and know they would the perfect place to catch this event.

Plus, they are all inside the eclipse path or close enough to give you more than a 99% view!

Just picture it now: you, in the heart of one of North America’s illustrious national parks, witnessing the sun playing peek-a-boo with the moon.

So whether you’re an eclipse rookie or a seasoned pro unsure of where to park your lawn chair this time, keep reading. Cause we’ve got the lowdown on the best natural backdrops to gawk at this upcoming solar hiatus.

1. Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Canada

the skyline trail with steps leading to the edge of the land overlooking the water in nova scotia
Credit: Depositphotos

If you thought maple syrup and hockey were Canada’s only claims to fame, Cape Breton Highlands National Park is here to prove you wrong.

Located at the top of Nova Scotia, this park is where the mountains shake hands with the Atlantic Ocean. It’s basically Middle-earth if Frodo had a thing for lobster fishing.

Not only does it boast the famous Cabot Trail, a road so stunning it’ll make your social followers weep, but it’s also home to the moose, who, fun fact, often outnumbers humans here.

And it’s perfect for eclipse watching, unless our antlered friends decide to join the party and block your view.

  • Totality of Eclipse: 99.73% (with northern parts of the park being closer to 99.9%)
  • Time of Max Eclipse: 4:38 pm

2. Prince Edward Island National Park, Canada

the top of a lighthouse shows above some bluffs in prince edward island national park
© Discover Parks & Wildlife

Prince Edward Island National Park is basically Canada’s best-kept secret unless you’re a fan of “Anne of Green Gables;” then it’s your dream destination.

Spread across roughly 25 miles of the island’s north shore; it serves up beaches with sand so red; you’ll wonder if you landed on Mars with a particularly oceanic view.

Besides offering prime spots for sunbathing and building sandcastles of questionable architectural integrity in the warmer months, it’s a hotspot for spotting the endangered piping plover—nature’s underdog in the bird world.

Last year, we did a bit of reconnaissance at the park (purely in the name of science, of course) and can confirm it’s as pretty as a postcard. Picture-perfect for the eclipse shenanigans.

Now, it’s not smack dab in the middle of the eclipse’s path, but no worries. Just tiptoe your way outside the park’s bounds and chase down one of the many lighthouses dotting the island as a possibility.

Trust us, these lighthouses are about as hard to find as a coffee shop in Seattle.

  • Totality of Eclipse: 99.96%
  • Time of Max Eclipse: 4:38 pm

3. Kouchibouguac National Park, Canada

a view of a river or small lake surrounded by green grass with trees in the background under a cloudy sky
Credit: Depositphotos

Kouchibouguac National Park is an unpronounceable treasure of New Brunswick, and frankly, it’s high time it got its moment in the eclipse spotlight.

This park boasts a sprawling 91 square miles of maritime plain, showcasing a blend of bogs, salt marshes, and forests.

It’s also a sanctuary for the endangered piping plover and the gray seal, making it a wildlife lover’s paradise.

With its name that’s a tongue-twister (pronounced koo-she-boo-gwack), it offers a front-row seat to the eclipse amidst the changing seasons from winter to spring.

Plus, it’s the perfect excuse to practice saying Kouchibouguac without accidentally casting a spell.

  • Totality of Eclipse: 100%
  • Time of Max Eclipse: 4:36 pm

4. Cuyahoga Valley National Park, USA

a boardwalk runs over a water source with a couple bicyclers stopped on it
Credit: Depositphotos

Tucked away between Cleveland and Akron lies a verdant oasis that scoffs at the industrial reputation of Ohio.

This park is a patchwork of lush forests, rolling hills, and historic farms, basically a green oasis in the urban jungle.

With over 125 miles of hiking trails, including the famous Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail, it’s a walker’s paradise.

And for water enthusiasts, the Cuyahoga River offers kayaking experiences that literally go against the flow since this river famously caught fire in the ’60s. Talk about a phoenix rising from the ashes!

Just beware of photobombing deer and the occasional ghost of a canal boat captain while exploring during the eclipse.

  • Totality of Eclipse: 100%
  • Time of Max Eclipse: 3:15 pm

5. Gateway Arch National Park, USA 

the arch under a blue sky with puffy clouds sits behind a lake surrounded by trees in spring bloom
Credit: Depositphotos

Gateway Arch National Park in Missouri, not to be confused with a McDonald’s drive-thru, actually houses a 630-foot stainless steel monument that’s the world’s tallest arch.

Believe it or not, this shiny U-shaped wonder provides a unique backdrop for eclipse-watching, making it seem as if the sun and moon are playing hide and seek around a giant metallic rainbow.

And if that’s not enough to rev your engine, beneath the arch lies the Museum of Westward Expansion, where you can brush up on your Lewis and Clark trivia while waiting for the celestial festivities to begin.

Bring your shades, folks – this is no ordinary day in the park.

  • Totality of Eclipse: 99.14%
  • Time of Max Eclipse: 2:00 pm

6. Hot Springs National Park, USA

hot springs national park from the nature side of the park looking out over the lush mountains with a tower overlooking the city itself
© Discover Parks & Wildlife

This not-so-average “park” found in Arkansas might just fool you into thinking you’ve stepped into a fancy day spa, albeit one fashioned by Mother Nature herself.

With water that comes out of the ground at a piping hot 143°F, Hot Springs National Park boasts 47 thermal springs eager to soothe your adventure-weary bones. It’s the perfect spot to relax your muscles after craning your neck upwards to catch the eclipse.

Plus, with over 800,000 visitors annually, you might make a friend or fifty.

It’s not every day you can say you watched an astronomical event while soaking in waters that have been around for thousands of years, right? Just remember, no splashing during the eclipse.

Oh, and here’s a little insider tip that comes with no promises because, you know, the universe and its earthly agents can be quite unpredictable. When we were gallivanting around the park, we stumbled upon this tower – quite the climb, we might add. But boy, was it worth it!

If the stars (and park rangers) align, this tower could be your golden ticket to an eclipse viewing experience so epic that you’ll be telling your grandkids about it.

  • Totality of Eclipse: 100%
  • Time of Max Eclipse: 1:51 pm

7. Sierra De Organos National Park, Mexico

Sierra De Organos National Park, located in the vast deserts of Zacatecas, Mexico, serves up landscapes so dramatically wild, you’d swear you’ve just stepped onto a movie set.

In fact, you kind of have; this park has been the backdrop for several Hollywood films, thanks to its towering, organ-shaped rock formations that give it its name.

Here, amidst the cacti and the quiet, the solar eclipse takes on a stark, otherworldly beauty.

Not to mention, with over 200 species of birds calling this their home, you’ll have more than just celestial phenomena to keep your eyes on.

  • Totality of Eclipse: 99.71%
  • Time of Max Eclipse: 1:15 pm

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