solar eclipse in camper van rental

Best Place to Watch the 2024 Solar Eclipse on the West Coast

Nature proposes a celestial ballet that commands attention; none quite so spectacular as a solar eclipse. As the moon cunningly slips between the Earth and the sun, it presents a dramatic scene that astronomy enthusiasts, nature lovers, and adventure seekers feverishly anticipate. The upcoming solar eclipse in the US is no exception to this anticipation—providing an experiential tryst with the cosmos, best witnessed from particular vantages on the ground. And while the full solar eclipse can only be seen along its path of totality (south to northeast), many people on the west coast are anxious to get a glimpse of a partial eclipse. If you’re one of those people, check out our recommendations for the best place to watch the 2024 solar eclipse on the west coast. Then rent a camper van and enjoy the view!

best place to watch 2024 solar eclipe

Best Place to Watch the 2024 Solar Eclipse in the West

You can enjoy the solar eclipse, even if you’re on the west coast. Check out our top locations for a partial eclipse.

Sacramento, CA

As the state capital, Sacramento enjoys a rich cultural scene and plenty of amenities that make it a comfortable place for visitors. Its typically clear spring skies are conducive to eclipse watching, while the surrounding open landscapes and parks, such as the Capitol Park and the American River Parkway, provide unobstructed views and a natural setting for viewers. The eclipse coincides with Sacramento’s Mediterranean climate’s dry period, minimizing the chance of overcast conditions. Moreover, its strategic location at the junction of two rivers and near several interstate highways makes Sacramento easily accessible for both local and international eclipse enthusiasts.

Reno, NV

Just east of the California border and outside the totality path, Reno will provide a partial eclipse with greater coverage than most West Coast cities. Its high altitude and clear skies contribute to an optimal viewing experience. Known as “The Biggest Little City in the World,” Reno is famous for its high number of sunny days, contributing to its potential for clear eclipse viewing. Its location in the rain shadow of the Sierra Nevada mountain range typically results in fewer clouds, further improving visibility. Additionally, Reno’s diverse topography, from the valley floor to nearby mountain peaks, provides various elevation levels from which to watch the eclipse. This allows for expansive, panoramic views that can enhance the visual experience. 

Salt Lake City, UT

Salt Lake City, UT is an appealing location for watching the 2024 solar eclipse due to its typically clear weather conditions and the surrounding landscape which offers numerous vantage points. The city’s lower than average precipitation in April increases the likelihood of an unobstructed view of the sky during the eclipse. Additionally, the nearby Wasatch and Oquirrh mountain ranges provide a scenic backdrop against which to view the eclipse, as well as elevated spots that observers can utilize for a potentially better viewing experience. Moreover, Salt Lake City’s robust infrastructure and amenities ensure that visitors can enjoy the event with comfort and convenience.

Tucson, AZ

With over 350 days of sunshine a year, Tucson’s clear skies significantly increase the chances of an unobstructed view of the 2024 solar eclipse. The city’s dry climate and stable weather patterns are ideal for astronomy enthusiasts and casual observers alike. Additionally, Tucson’s proximity to several national parks and observatories, including the renowned Kitt Peak National Observatory, offers a scientific and educational dimension to the event. The combination of favorable weather, the accessibility of professional astronomical facilities, and the beauty of the desert landscape makes Tucson another top choice for experiencing this rare astronomical phenomenon.

camper van for best place to watch 2024 solar eclipse

Where to Camp

When you’re in a camper van rental, you have many options for camping. Selecting the perfect campground for observing a solar eclipse goes beyond picking a spot with the best view—it’s also about prime location, amenities, and accessibility. 

Factors to Consider:

  • Clear Skies: An unobstructed view of the horizon greatly enhances the experience.
  • Accessibility: Whether by road or trail, ensure your destination is reachable, especially considering the expected influx of observers.
  • Facilities: Depending on your camper van rental, you may want to consider additional amenities like showers, power hook-ups, etc. 
  • Community Experience: Shared viewing areas can elevate the event into a collective memory. However, if you prefer viewing with just a few loved ones, simply drive your camper van rental to a spot that is more secluded.
  • Reservation Requirements: Plan ahead, as these events typically cause campgrounds to book up quickly. Rent your camper van and book your spot now!
2024 solar eclipse

Tips for a Memorable Eclipse Experience

To fully enjoy the solar spectacle, certain preparations and precautions are advisable.

Safety Precautions:

  • Viewing Glasses: Eclipse-rated safety glasses are a must to protect your eyes.
  • Weather Gear: Be prepared for potential weather changes. Layered clothing, sunscreen, and rain gear are best to have on hand.

Equipment Needed:

  • Camera with Solar Filters: If you wish to photograph the event, ensure you have the correct equipment to do so safely.
  • Comfortable Seating: Bring chairs or blankets for comfort during the prolonged event.

Best Times for Viewing:

  • Check the Schedule: Find out the exact times when the eclipse will be visible from your location.
  • Plan to Arrive Early: With crowds expected, arriving early will help secure a good spot without rush.


A solar eclipse is more than a natural phenomenon—it’s an invitation to engage with the environment in profound reverence. Proper planning, including choosing the right campground, is central to a truly unforgettable experience. Remember, such events are rare and transitory, striking chords of wonder from the depths of human sensibility. So pack your bags, ready your cameras, and prepare to embrace the cosmic dance as the Earth, moon, and sun align to unveil the universe’s magical show.

Consider these locations on the west coast as your stage for the best place to watch the 2024 solar eclipse, and prepare for an encounter that promises to be as educational as it is spectacular.

Now it’s time to book your trip!