Tips for Enjoying a Solar Eclipse While Camping

Tips for Enjoying a Solar Eclipse While Camping

For the first time in seven years, the sun will go dark in one of nature’s greatest phenomena – a total solar eclipse! On Monday, April 8, 2024, the Sun, the Moon, and the Earth will align, putting the sky into epic and unforgettable temporary darkness. The eclipse will cross North America, passing over Mexico, the United States, and Canada – beginning over the South Pacific Ocean. Weather permitting, the first location in continental North America that will experience totality is Mexico’s Pacific coast around 11:07 a.m. PDT. 

The path of the eclipse continues from Mexico, entering the United States in Texas, and traveling through Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. The eclipse will enter Canada in Southern Ontario, and continue through Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Cape Breton. The eclipse will exit continental North America on the Atlantic coast of Newfoundland, Canada, at 5:16 p.m. NDT.

Pigeon Forge / Gatlinburg KOA Holiday in Pigeon Forge, TN will experience a PARTIAL ECLIPSE for this event. Partial Eclipse begins at 1:49 pm and ends 4:23pm, with an 87.2% magnitude. 

­Below are a few tips for you and your family to safely witness this once in a lifetime event!


  • Do not look directly at the sun with the naked eye. Always wear solar glasses that meet the requirements of ISO 12312-2 safety standard with special purpose solar filters to keep your eyes safe. NOTE: Homemade filters or sunglasses are not safe for looking directly at the sun during an eclipse. 
  • Always inspect your solar filter before use, if filter is found scratched or damaged, discard it.
  • Supervise children using solar filters.
  • It is safe to remove your solar filter during the narrow path of totality, when the Moon entirely blocks the Sun, and it suddenly becomes dark. 
  • Replace your solar viewer as soon as the bright sun begins to reappear to glance at the remaining partial phases. 
  • Cover your eyes with eclipse glasses solar viewer before looking up at the bright sun. After looking at the sun, turn away and remove your filter — do not remove it while looking at the sun.
  • If you normally wear eyeglasses, keep them on. Place your eclipse glasses over them or hold your handheld viewer in front of them.
  • Always have a solar filter attached to the front of any telescope, binocular, camera lens, or other optics. 
  • Never look at the un-eclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars, or other optical device.
  • Similarly, do not look at the Sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device while using your eclipse glasses or handheld solar viewer in front of your eyes — the concentrated solar rays could damage the filter and enter your eyes, causing serious injury.
  • Avoid using bright, white lights. This will allow your eyes to adjust to the sudden darkness more quickly. If you must use a flashlight during the eclipse, utilize the red-light mode if your flashlight has one. 


To prevent permanent eye damage, the safest way to observe an uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through special -purpose solar filters, such as “eclipse glasses” or hand-held solar viewers. Visit American Astronomical Society’s (AAS) Reputable Vendors of Solar Filters & Viewers Guide to ensure you are protected with filters that meet the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard if you purchase them ready-made. 

There are several ways to DIY your own eclipse glasses. One of the most popular DIY projects is with a shoebox solar viewer, otherwise known as a pinhole projection. Instead of looking directly at the sun, this DIY creates a projection of the eclipse on a nearby surface, such as on the ground or a wall.

What You’ll Need

  • Small box with a lid
  • Small square of aluminum foil
  • Small square of white paper
  • Utility knife
  • Tape
  • Pin

How To Make

  1. Cut a 1″ square hole in the lower right corner of the small end of the box.
  2. Tape the aluminum foil over the cut out square and poke a pinhole in the center of the foil. The sun will shine through the pinhole.
  3. Tape the white paper on the inside of the box directly across from the square of aluminum foil with the pinhole. This is where the sun’s image will appear.
  4. Cut another 1″ square hole in the lower right corner of the long side of the box to create a viewing hole. Through this, you will be able to see the white paper. 
  5. Standing with your back to the sun, close the lid, looking through the open square onto the white paper. Focus the sunlight through the pinhole and on the white square of paper.


Viewing this solar eclipse is sure to be an unforgettable event! As many of our campers began planning their solar eclipse viewing months (even years) in advance, we kindly ask our campers to be conscious of some ways you can enhance the experience for yourself & your fellow campers.

  • Please be aware that fellow campers may have brought very expensive and treasured pieces of equipment, like telescopes or professional cameras. We recommend respecting other's space and be sure to ask permission before using another's telescope. 
  • Be conscious of your vehicle's headlights if you need to grab anything from inside your vehicle. We ask that campers avoid driving through the campground during the eclipse. 
  • Apply bug spray as mosquitoes emerge in greater numbers as the moon blocks out the sun. Please avoid spraying bug spray and other aerosols near specialized devices!
  • Please extinguish your campfire for the eclipse. Believe it or not, the particles in campfire smoke can slightly reduce visibility. It may not be noticeable from where you are standing, but a smoky fire could impact the experience for those using a telescope or specialized camera equipment.
  • Be respectful of your fellow eclipse viewers! During the last solar eclipse, many viewers described the experience as deeply emotional. Consider turning down any music you have playing on speakers and comfort any dogs that may be barking. Your neighbors will appreciate your efforts to make everyone's experience thrilling.

Catch the Solar Eclipse at Pigeon Forge / Gatlinburg KOA Holiday

Take part in the celestial excitement with us at Pigeon Forge / Gatlinburg KOA Holiday and reward yourself with memories that will last a lifetime! Choose between Deluxe Cabins, full-hookup RV Sites, and pet-friendly Tent Sites to create your ideal camping experience. There’s also plenty of fun things to do to keep you entertained before the main event! Sites are filling up fast, book your stay with us today!

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