Camping out for Solar Eclipse 2017? Better hurry, spots are going fast


Ask about finding a camping spot in Georgia ahead of the Great American Eclipse and you’ll hear “sold out” or laughter.

Many campsites and cabins have been booked a year out either by individuals or groups.

The likelihood of finding a camping site diminishes greatly the closer you get to the so-called “path of totality,” meaning the area where the moon can be seen completely covering the sun.

So you might want to send up a few prayers to the camping gods if you haven’t booked a spot yet.

The odds aren’t even that good for finding campsites and cabins away from the path of totality.

Don Carter State Park on Lake Lanier, Victoria Bryant State Park near Royston and Watson Mill Bridge State Park near Athens are some of the parks with available accommodations that are within a short drive of the eclipse path, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

Staffers at Black Rock Mountain State Park in Mountain City started getting calls before the park could accept reservations. The system only allows them to book 13 months in advance.

“People were calling Black Rock two years in advance,” said Kim Hatcher, a spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. “Parks that are near the path of totality have been sold out for quite a while.”

She advises people to check the state park system’s website, which is updated regularly, or call the park directly because there may be cancellations. She also said some cabins may still be available, even if actual campsites aren’t.

And once parking spaces are full, that’s it, she warned. In state parks you won’t be able to sleep in your cars or pitch a tent on the side of the road.

Related:

Weather Channel’s solar eclipse plans “augmented reality”

Flashback photos of past eclipses

What will the sky look like in your city during total solar eclipse?

Epic color-changing stamps

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Forest Service said campsites in North Georgia are also sold out, and she advised people to check with individual parks for cancellation.

National and state parks, though, may not be your only camping options.

Consider private land.

Hipcamp is a San Francisco-based startup that helps people find campsites on private land, previously not open to campers, such as farms, ranches and nature preserves.

So far, the site has more than 1,000 new campsites in the path of totality, including nearly a dozen in Georgia. The cost is usually under $100 and includes options that range from cabins to cottages to improvised campsites.

The list includes places such as Spotted Fawn Farm, a 60-acre privately owned spread and rescue animal refuge in Hartwell.

The farm is owned by Elexis and Buddy Hays, who have fielded calls and emails nonstop for weeks. So far about 30 people have booked spots, including a three-bedroom cottage, a one-bedroom cabin and camping spots.

“We are in the zone of totality,” Elexis Hays said. “Apparently, this eclipse is a bigger deal than I ever thought. It’s insane.” Hays said her husband plans to concoct a new drink called the “blackout,” but “we don’t know what’s in it yet.”

If you decide to venture farther, there’s Tennessee, Kentucky, South Carolina and North Carolina. You may encounter similiar issues with availability.

Campsites in state parks in the path of totality are sold out, said Eric Ward, a spokesman for the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, but spots are available at parks outside of that path of complete coverage.

Here are some places to check on camp options:

Georgia Department of Natural Resources State Parks and Historic Sites at www.gastateparks.org. Also check out the special eclipse information page.

Reservations 1-800-864-7275 or call the park directly.

(Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

Hipcamp at https://www.hipcamp.com or, for Georgia options, go to www.hipcamp.com/discover/georgia.

Spotted Fawn Farm at www.spottedfawnfarm.com.

Vogel State Park

405 Vogel State Park Road

Blairsville, Ga.

Park: 706-745-2628

Reservations: 800-864-7275

Black Rock Mountain State Park

3085 Black Rock Mountain Parkway, Mountain City, Ga.

706-746-2141

Unicoi State Park at www.unicoistatepark.org

Unicoi State Park & Lodge

1788 Ga. 356

Helen, Ga.

Lodge reservations: 800-573-9659

Park: 706-878-2201

U.S. Forest Serviceor www.recreation.gov.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Living

Why Marvel stars held a fashion shoot on the Atlanta “Avengers” set

Marvel’s latest “Avengers” movie has been filming in Atlanta. Shooting a massive blockbuster is a huge, time-consuming job but stars Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson and Chris Hemsworth made space for a little side hustle. The stars are modeling limited-edition T-shirts...
Review: Santa Claus and Shakespeare collide in Craig Drennen solo show
Review: Santa Claus and Shakespeare collide in Craig Drennen solo show

Artist Craig Drennen gives the schlock treatment to high art in his quirky, conceptually challenging solo show “Bandit” at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia. “Bandit” essentially operates on two levels. On one hand, it is a deconstruction of one of William Shakespeare’s (reputedly working with a literary collaborator)...
Holiday Heroes: Young ‘Wish Warriors’ pay it forward after receiving Braves visit
Holiday Heroes: Young ‘Wish Warriors’ pay it forward after receiving Braves visit

When the Atlanta Braves descended on Connor Meadows’ school field day in May 2016, it was easily one of the most touching moments of his life. At 8 years old, Meadows had been diagnosed with Wilms tumor, a form of kidney cancer that primarily affects children. The Braves visited as part of a gift from the Make-A-Wish Foundation, surprising everyone...
WATCH: Jimmy Kimmel holds infant son during tearful monologue about children's health care
WATCH: Jimmy Kimmel holds infant son during tearful monologue about children's health care

On Monday, late-night host Jimmy Kimmel delivered an emotional monologue while holding his 7-month-old son, Billy, after taking a week off as the baby boy recovered from heart surgery. A tearful Kimmel asked lawmakers to restore the Children's Health Insurance Program, which expired two months ago. "This is literally a life-and-death program...
2017 Holiday gift guide: gifts that cost $25 or less
2017 Holiday gift guide: gifts that cost $25 or less
Holiday spending is expected to increase overall this season, but not every shopper is planning to spend more money on gifts.  Just over half of Americans (53 percent) said they plan to spend $50 or more on their most expensive gift this holiday season, according to a survey from CreditCards.com. About 12 percent of adults said they don&rsquo...
More Stories