Eclipse 2024 Guide: Closest places to Atlanta to see total solar eclipse

The next total solar eclipse, when the moon comes between us and the sun, is happening on April 8. The eclipse will begin at sunrise over the Pacific Ocean and then cut through Mexico and cross the United States from Texas to Maine. Most of North America will see a partial eclipse, but many people will also be in the path of the total eclipse.

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Unfortunately, the path of totality isn't as close to Atlanta as it was nearly 7 years ago. Luckily, if you are willing to drive (or fly), we aren't terribly far from the path of totality. Kentucky seems the obvious place to head. Kentucky seems the obvious place to head.

Here is a list of places, though, within an 8(ish) hour drive:

  • Indianapolis, Indiana (just over 8 hours)
  • Bloomington, Indiana (just over 8 hours)
  • Dayton, Ohio (just under 8 hours)
  • Poplar Bluff, Missouri (approximately 7.5 hours)
  • Jackson, Missouri (approximately 7.5 hours)
  • Little Rock, Arkansas (just over 7.5 hours)
  • Cape Girardeau, Missouri (just over 7 hours)
  • Carbondale, Illinois (just under 7 hours)
  • Poplar Bluff, Arkansas (just under 7 hours)
  • Cates, Tennessee (just under 7 hours)
  • Wickliffe, Kentucky (approximately 6.5 hours)
  • Evansville, Indiana (just over 6 hours)
  • Henderson, Kentucky (just under 6 hours)
  • Paducah, Kentucky (just under 6 hours)

Source: Great American Eclipse

Viewing events in other locations

Indianapolis is hosting the Indy Eclipse Weekend between April 5 and 8. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway was chosen by NASA as one of the few broadcast locations, and NASA experts will be on hand to answer questions. The Children's Museum of Indianapolis, White River State Park, and Indiana State Museum are also hosting events. 

In Cape Girardeau, which will have 4 minutes of darkness, they'll be hosting a block party on the day of the event. 

Multiple festivals and events are happening in Arkansas. The Ozark Mountain Soul: Eclipse Edition is taking place in Eureka Springs. Heber Springs is hosting the Eclipse Fest in Spring Park. The Great American Cowboy Eclipse Festival will be in Clinton. Hidden Acres Farm in Russellville is hosting Eclipse Fest and SoMa in the Dark is taking place in Little Rock. 

Carbondale will experience 4 minutes and 10 seconds of totality beginning at 1:59 p.m. Southern Illinois University is hosting a public viewing event in its football stadium.


Paducah is hosting several eclipse-themed events. There will be a community street festival called X Marks the Spot on April 7 and 8, and the National Quilt Museum will also host an event for viewing the eclipse.

The City of Jackson is hosting watch parties at the Jackson Civic Center, Brookside Park and in Uptown Jackson. All parties will feature live music, food trucks and more. 

And if you are willing to drive just a little further, Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas (approximately 9 hours from Atlanta by car) is hosting The Ecliptic Festival April 5 through 8. Presented by Atlas Obscura, the festival's lineup includes Angel Olsen, Dengue Fever, "Mythbusters" host Adam Savage, as well as authors, filmmakers, and astronomers. 

Also, even though Washington, D.C., is not in the path of totality, it is hosting a free Solar Eclipse Festival on the National Mall from noon until 4 p.m. April 8 in partnership with the Smithsonian Museums. There will be activity stations and educational programming, including telescope viewing.

Making last minute plans

The bad news is if you are traveling, you can expect to pay a pretty penny for accommodations, especially near the smaller towns. If you can find them, that is. Hotels are booked and campgrounds are full in many states. As many as 3.7 million people are expected to travel to the path of totality for the eclipse, according to travel experts. 

Indiana is preparing for a record 500,000 visitors, according to the Washington Post. Arkansas and Indiana are also expecting record-breaking travel and spending. 

Some states and counties have even declared states of emergencies and issued warnings associated with the eclipse. The governor of Ohio signed Executive Order 2024-04D, which directs all state departments and agencies to be ready and prepared to ensure the health and safety of residents and visitors.


Several counties in Texas are concerned about the strain on their infrastructure and officials in Indiana and Oklahoma are worried about traffic jams. 

Bottom line, if you haven't already made plans for a trip, you can expect to pay a premium and may have difficulty finding accommodations. If you decide to drive, make sure your car has been serviced, and you have a full tank of gas. You might also want to toss a pillow and a blanket along with water and snacks in your vehicle just in case you are stuck somewhere.