Throughout Georgia and South Carolina, find ideal viewing spots, plus nature walks, museum specials and more make the most of this rare occasion
A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon lines up between the earth and the sun—an extremely rare and beautiful event. The next total solar eclipse is expected on August 21—for the first time in 38 years. The total solar eclipse will be visible along a thin, roughly 100 mile-wide path that runs diagonally across America from Oregon to South Carolina.
The total eclipse will only be viewable from specific locations. Here are the best places in the Southeast to celebrate this solar scenario:
Capital City/Lake Murray Country, South Carolina
Capital City/Lake Murray Country, South Carolina, is conveniently located off Interstates I-77, I-26 and I-20 in the central part of the Palmetto state and an ideal vantage point for viewing the August event. Lake Murray will have the largest viewing area. This event will take place at both park sites of Lake Murray Dam (Lexington and Irmo sides). Nearby, Columbia and its surrounding region are positioned in the best location—the best on the East Coast, in fact—to witness a spectacle that has not been seen in the continental United States since 1979, when a total solar eclipse was visible from five Northwestern states. The path of the eclipse will pass through Lake Murray at 2:30 p.m. and Columbia at 2:41 p.m. for 2 minutes and 30 seconds.
Throughout the long weekend of August 18-21, 2017, attractions, cultural institutions, hospitality and retail businesses throughout the area will host special eclipse-related events leading up to nature’s grandest spectacle. Catch an old fashion Drive-In Movie night at the Historic Columbia Speedway festival grounds, take in a Carolina Fireflies game, sample Benton Brewing’s Carolina Blackout release or join the Congaree National Park staff for an unparalleled wilderness eclipse experience, among other special events offered throughout Eclipse weekend. For more information, visit TotalEclipseColumbiaSC.com and www.LakeMurrayCountry.com/things-to-do/events/total-eclipse-weekend
Alpine Helen-White County, Georgia
See the eclipse from vantage points in Alpine Helen-White County, Georgia. The partial phase will begin at 1:06 p.m. and the path of totality will pass through the area at 2:35 p.m. for 1 minute and 41 seconds. In nearby Cleveland, the partial phase will being at 1:06 p.m. and the path of totality will pass through the area at 2:36 p.m., lasting approximately 38 seconds.
Located about 90 minutes north of Atlanta, find abundant shopping, art galleries, wineries, traditional German dishes and international fare in Helen, White County and the surrounding villages of Sautee and Nacoochee, where Appalachia meets Alpine, a North Georgia beauty with a Bavarian sensibility, alongside the Chattahoochee River. Tour the strasses and platzes of the Alpine Village in a horse-drawn carriage. Outdoor enthusiasts find two golf courses, hiking, mountain biking, fishing, tubing, rock climbing, zip lining and horseback riding. Culinary and culture vultures delight in Helen’s seven wineries and beautiful tasting rooms, her eclectic dining landscape, mountaintop spa and her accomplished artisans – quilters, woodcarvers, potters, glass artists. Shoppers are enchanted by a streetscape a’bustle with activity: like-minded souls browsing more than 150 shops, horse-drawn carriages, German music—even a babbling brook—and all in down-home ambience. Lodging includes in-town hotels, riverside bed and breakfast inns and cabins, condos and chalets tucked into the mountains. HelenGA.org
Blue Ridge, Georgia
Situated about 90 minutes north of Atlanta off Interstate-575, Blue Ridge, Georgia, is all at once, outdoorsy, earthy, upscale, fresh and historical. In Blue Ridge, the partial phase of totality will begin at 1:04:55 p.m., with totality starting at 2:35:07 p.m. Plan to catch the eclipse in totality at 2:35 p.m. for 35 seconds.
The town of Blue Ridge is on the southern edge of the shadow, so totality, when the moon’s shadow fully blocks the sun’s light, only lasts for 35 seconds. However north and east of Blue Ridge in Fannin County, in McCaysville and Morganton, the totality lasts longer. In Morganton, the partial phase start will begin at 1:05:05 p.m., with the totality phase beginning at 2:34:45 p.m. and lasting 1 minute and 10 seconds. In McCaysville, the partial phase start will begin at 1:04:43 p.m., with the totality phase beginning at 2:34:08 p.m. and lasting 1 minute and 34 seconds.
Try one of these locations for the best viewing spot:
Chamber Visitor Center at 152 Orvin Lance Drive – 55 seconds of totality at 2:34:50 p.m.
Lake Blue Ridge Dam – 1 minute 2 seconds of totality at 2:34:50 p.m.
Morganton Point Recreation Area – 1 minute 8 seconds of totality at 2:34:50 p.m.
Horseshoe Bend Park in McCaysville – 1 minute 31 seconds of totality at 2:34:15 p.m.
Downtown McCaysville – 1 minute 35 seconds of totality at 2:34:10 p. m.
Ocoee Whitewater Center – 1 minute 46 seconds of totality at 2:33:45 p.m.
After the eclipse, explore the area—sink your teeth into sweet, plucked-fresh-from-the-tree apples at local orchards, titillate taste buds with farm-to-table offerings, shop for worthy souvenirs—and wardrobe additions—at chic boutiques, cheat on your diet with sweet treats from the winners of Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars,” and engage the senses at the Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association and Art Center. Get back to nature with scenic ventures on the Appalachian Trail, which begins and travels through Blue Ridge, or explore the Benton MacKaye Trail. Kayak the Toccoa River, boat Lake Blue Ridge or cast a line in the county known as Georgia’s Trout Capital. Upscale cabins dot the landscape offering time in nature and sweeping visitors a million miles away from “real life” while keeping within close proximity the chic shops, restaurants and multi-generational activities that inspire truly great vacations. www.BlueRidgeMountains.com
Don’t forget to protect your eyes. Find affordable glasses for a safe viewing experience, here: www.Eclipse2017.org/glasses_order.htm.