On August 21, the moon’s shadow will blot out the sun across a wide swatch of the United States — landing on a beach in Oregon, dipping South across the Rocky Mountains toward Missouri, then plunging into the Atlantic Ocean after a trek across South Carolina. And hotel rooms all across that path are already booked, or selling for truly bonkers prices.
Dave Langley manages the Newport Travelodge in Oregon, six blocks from the beach where this summer’s rare and highly anticipated total solar eclipse will first become visible. He said the flood of reservations for dates around the eclipse began about ten months in advance. Rooms in the Travelodge are “pretty basic,” Langley said (amenities include a microwave and an iron), but he’s charging eclipse-watchers $700 a night. It’s far from the most expensive deal in town.
“I started at $199 per night because I knew there would be a demand, and just kept raising it,” Langley tells Inverse.
During a normal week in late-August, those same rooms in Langley’s modest Travelodge are usually full of Oregonians in town for the weekend and crabbing. The cost? About $80 and $125 a night, Langley says.
The last time the central shadow of a total solar eclipse passed over the continental U.S. was 1979. It only grazed the Pacific Northwest, and it was a cloudy day, so most Americans didn’t get to see it. No total eclipse has crossed the US from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic since 1918.
Follow the path of the eclipse eastwards, and things don’t look much better. Most of the hotels in the path through Wyoming seem to have run out of rooms entirely (though a Super 8 motel in Riverton had a few rooms left at $719 per night as of this story’s publishing).
There seem to be better prices along the Midwestern and Southern ends of the eclipse’s path, though rooms are getting snapped up fast. Many of the few remaining rooms in Columbia, Missouri, for example, seem to be selling for a reasonable $60 and $200 per night (as of this publishing). One of the last good spots to see the eclipse in America might be Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. There don’t seem to be many hotel rooms left in town, but in nearby Charleston, a few rooms remain open and cost in the range of $300 and $500 a night.
Nashville, Tennessee, one of the larger metropolises directly in the eclipse’s path, has rooms in the downtown Comfort Inn going for $300 per night. A worker at the hotel, who declined to give their name when reached by phone, said the staff is meeting Tuesday to figure out how to deal with impending crowds. If otherwise sleepy west coast inns like Langley’s are any indicator, Nashville won’t be the only place deluged with eager skywatchers.