LITTLE ROCK (KATV) — The Great North American Eclipse, as it has been dubbed, is coming April 8 next year--and there is no better place to watch it than in Arkansas.
The eclipse is in just under a year, but time may be running out for those planning on finding accommodations or camping to better view it.
The best places to see the total eclipse are located in a narrow swathe of Arkansas stretching from the Northeast to Southwest corner of the Natural State.
Some hotels in the best spots are already completely booked up for the date of the eclipse. You can witness the tremendous phenomenon for four minutes and 12 seconds in Russellville, but if you're journeying from afar and need a place to stay...you may have to pay a tremendous price.
As of May 25, only two motels in Russellville were listed as having rooms available the eve of the eclipse: Motel 6 and American Inn and Suites, both of which have raised prices for that date--April 7--to half a grand.
Motel 6 is a reasonable $500, while American Inn and Suites will cost you $699...not including 14% tax.
Driving up the demand is the gargantuan number of out-of-state tourists expected to swarm into the state for the eclipse.
"The expected number right now is about 1.5 million people," said Shealyn Sowers, Chief of Communications for the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism, "we're just basing that on the amount of visitors that were in South Carolina and Wyoming during 2017's eclipse."
Not even state parks have been spared from the influx of reservations.
"When we opened up our reservations for state parks on April 8, 2024, we were booked pretty quickly. Every park in the path of the [total eclipse]--they're booked," Sowers said.
"So we are now directing people that are interested in coming and staying in Arkansas to other places around the state that may not be in the totality path but are still close and they're open."
As can be discerned from reservations alone, the eclipse will bring an unprecedented level of tourism to the state of Arkansas.
"This is going to be a very, very historic event for Arkansas," Sowers said. "We're looking at it as a way to bring in visitors that may not come to Arkansas and this may be their first time visiting. So, we want to be able to give them a trip of a lifetime whether they are looking for an art scene or a food scene or a culture scene or of course our outdoor adventure scene. We want to make them repeat visitors."