Eclipse RV Camping Guide

Last Minute RV Camping Tips For The 2024 Eclipse

On April 8, 2024, a complete solar eclipse will be visible from many states in the U.S., and some RV campers have been planning trips for months. After all, it’s not every day there’s a rare celestial event to share with friends, family, and kids at the same time.

If you’ve gotten an itch to plan an RV trip to view the eclipse, read on to see our tips for finding a last-minute spot where you’ll be able to get the best view.


Why is a Solar Eclipse so Special?

Maybe you remember this from grade school: a solar eclipse is when the moon passes between the Earth and the sun, blocking out the sun’s light for several minutes. As the moon moves across the sky, it covers up more and more of the sun until it’s completely blocked out – but the amount it blocks out depends on where you’re viewing it from. The “path of totality” refers to areas that will experience a 100 percent eclipse. Regions outside the path of totality still get to experience a partial eclipse, just not the most dazzling version of the show.

Which States Will Have the Best View?

On April 8, the path of totality will move from the southwest to the northeast from about 2:30 to 3:30 Eastern Daylight Time. It will include areas within the following states:

  • Texas
  • Oklahoma
  • Arkansas
  • Missouri
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • New York
  • Vermont
  • New Hampshire
  • Maine

These major cities fall within the ideal viewing area, to give you a head start on looking for a campground with availability:

  • San Antonio, TX
  • Dallas, TX
  • Little Rock, AR
  • Paducah, KY
  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Dayton, OH
  • Cleveland, OH
  • Buffalo, NY
  • Syracuse, NY
  • Burlington, VT

For general information about the eclipse, its path, and its timeline state-by-state, check out Great American Eclipse to learn more.

Are There RV Campsites Left Within the Path of Totality?

We’re getting down to the wire when it comes to planning an RV trip to view the 2024 eclipse. Here’s how we recommend looking for available places to camp on such short notice.


Campspot has assembled a truly comprehensive page that lists all the RV-friendly campgrounds within the path of totality that have listings on their site. They go state by state, offering preview listings for each campground, ratings, and links to check availability.

While many campgrounds are completely sold out over April 8, we still found several that still had RV campsites available. If you’re hitting a roadblock and feeling frustrated, try looking at the lower listings within each state.

Hipcamp and KOA also have detailed landing pages to help you find RV accommodations during the eclipse within the states that have the best visibility.

Federal and State Land

More of a national park kind of camper? Make sure to check out for camping options in and around national parks, state parks, national forests, BLM land, and more. Many locations in more northern locations won’t be open yet for the season, but some campgrounds may surprise you. We found multiple listings available in the following regions or states in particular:

  • Around Allegheny National Forest, PA
  • Missouri
  • Arkansas
  • Texas

Dispersed Camping

Prefer to be a bit more spontaneous (with a dash of risk thrown in)? If you’re prepared to camp in your RV overnight without water, electric, or sewer hookups, you can take a look at lesser-known boondocking locations on and

These are community-driven sites where real people share free or nearly-free campsites across the U.S. The upside is that you may find a hidden gem. The downside is that you can’t reserve these sites, and the listings include parking lots for RV-friendly businesses that let you camp overnight like Walmart and Cabela’s, among others.

Harvest Hosts

Harvest Hosts might also have some availability left across their range of unique locations that include farms, wineries, breweries, golf courses, museums, and other attractions. You can browse general location listings on their site for free, but to arrange a spot to park your RV, you’ll need to become a member.

If you’re prepared to leap into the unknown, all you really need for boondocking in your RV is a patch of land where you can park overnight. Just make sure you follow any applicable rules and regulations for wherever you stay, and make sure you bring what you need to camp overnight without hookups. Our guide to RV boondocking will help you get started.

Special Events

There are also many eclipse-related RV events happening around the country that have been arranged by individual groups and clubs. It may be worth it to search for events happening near the areas you’re hoping to travel to. If an RV club has reserved a block of campsites, a ticket to one of these events would take care of a lot of details at once.

How to Safely View the Sun

Never look at the sun without eye protection. Obviously, when the sun is at full strength, it’s uncomfortable to look directly at it. But during an eclipse, the reduced brightness can make you think it’s okay to look at the sun while it’s behind the moon, but the sun’s UV rays are still strong enough to hurt you.

Your retina has no sensory nerves, which means it doesn’t feel pain. So while it may feel fine to look at the sun during the eclipse, hours later, you may realize you’ve burned your retinas and done a lot of damage. And if you view the eclipse through binoculars or a telescope, the damage can be multiplied.

So how can you view an eclipse safely?

Solar eclipse glasses

These lenses are 1000 times darker than normal sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV damage as you watch the eclipse progress. Here’s a list of authorized retailers that sell eclipse glasses that meet the ISO 12312-2 international standard.

Make a pinhole projector

Landing somewhere between an engineering class and a photography class, crafting a pinhole projector can be a fun project to do with kids to teach them about light and shadows. The American Astronomical Society has instructions for constructing a pinhole viewer at home so you can safely view the eclipse.

Household objects

The American Astronomical Society link above also offers suggestions for ways you can watch the eclipse without any special preparation. They include viewing the eclipse’s shadow on the ground through the pinholes of a colander, through crossed hands, and through the dappled light coming through the leaves of trees. The shadow will show the moon’s progress across the sun on the ground, so you won’t risk damaging your eyes. It’s a great alternative if you don’t have solar eclipse glasses or are sharing them with other people in your group.

What to Pack for Ideal Viewing From Your Campsite

Like any RV trip, bring all your favorite camping equipment along to make yourself comfortable at your campsite. Things like camp chairs, a rug for your patio, toys for the kiddos, and speakers for setting the mood will all contribute to a memorable eclipse viewing experience.

Expect everyone to be outside at the same time on April 8. An extra cooler with beverages for your neighbors on your RV patio would be an easy way to make new friends, have more fun watching this celestial event, and cement this moment as a lifelong memory. And don’t forget the snacks! Astronaut ice cream, anyone?

If I Miss This Solar Eclipse, When is the Next One?

In the US, there won’t be another total solar eclipse until August 12, 2045, so it’s worth it to mark this occasion any way you can with the people you love. But if it’s just not in the cards, you may be encouraged to know there will be a total lunar eclipse visible from the entire U.S. in March 2025. That gives you plenty of time to start planning an RV trip for next spring.

One thing most RVers seem to agree on is that life should be lived with enthusiasm and a spirit of adventure. So even if you don’t yet have travel plans to view the eclipse, it’s not too late. Start looking now and you might just have your best adventure yet. Happy eclipse viewing!