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Seeing the 2024 solar eclipse in New England? Get ready

A boy wearing eclipse glasses smiles as he looks up at the sky.
Patty Wight / Maine Public
Sammy Anderson views the solar eclipse through special glasses in Maine in 2017.

On Monday, April 8, 2024, a total solar eclipse will cross North America, and it will be visible in parts of New England. It’s a rare opportunity to experience what can be, by most accounts, an awe-inspiring natural event.

If you haven’t already made plans to see it, it’s worth carefully considering.

Para leer esta guía en español, haz clic aquí.

Jump ahead: Tips & Advisories | Eclipse events in New England

Exactly where and when can you see it in New England?

All of New England will experience some form of an eclipse – either partial or total – on April 8, but experts agree a total eclipse is a more powerful experience worth seeking out.

In New England, the path of totality will encompass parts of northern Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. Burlington, Vermont’s largest city, and Montpelier, the state’s capital, are in the path. Many of the other communities along the path are small cities and rural towns like St. Albans, Vermont; Lancaster, New Hampshire and Houlton, Maine.

The totality will occur at around 3:30 pm on Monday, April 8, 2024.

Click here for an interactive eclipse map.

Map showing the line of totality and approximate times of the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse in the northeast U.S. and Canada.
NASA Scientific Visualization Studio
The path of the 2024 total solar eclipse crosses parts of Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

How is the weather looking?

Northern New England was hit with a major spring snowstorm on Thursday, April 4, but keep checking the forecast. It has been showing a clear, sunny window on April 8.

As this recent storm reminds us, the weather at this time of year is highly unpredictable. If you live in New England or plan to travel here, be sure you have appropriate clothing and supplies, including sturdy boots that can handle the mud that melting snow leaves behind.

See eclipse images from across New England by following Our New England on Instagram.

What about crowds?

This part of New England is close to much larger population centers like Boston and New York, and people in the region are bracing for a large number of visitors from around the Northeast and even the world, especially if the weather forecast looks good.

There’s little to go on as public officials prepare. Past Phish concerts, which drew tens of thousands of fans to rural areas, are helping them imagine the potential crowds and anticipate any problems.

Vermont Emergency Management is expecting 160,000 people to visit Vermont for the eclipse. Among other recommendations, they suggest you don’t leave your planning to the last minute.

Should you travel to see the eclipse in New England?

First, we hope you have already made your plans. There are definitely some great reasons to see it here.

It’s not often that a total solar eclipse happens so close to where so many of us live. It will be another 20 years before people will be able to see a total solar eclipse anywhere inside the contiguous United States.

For months, businesses and tourism officials in the three states have been talking up the local attractions and suggesting visitors make a long weekend of it. Many of these northern communities offer natural beauty, great restaurants and local shopping. And April can be a beautiful time of the year in New England.

Hands spread out a sheet of paper with different versions of an illustration of a town building and an eclipse in the sky.
Sofia Aldinio For The New England News Collaborative
Jane Torres, director of the Greater Houlton Chamber of Commerce in Maine, was considering different options for the town's total eclipse poster back in August 2023.

We will see what the weather brings on Monday, April 8.

Remember these northern places may feel colder to people traveling from further away. And communities may still be cleaning up from the April 4 storm that knocked out power for thousands of people.

Tips & Advisories

First things first: eye safety

You need eye protection if you plan to view the eclipse from anywhere - the risks are real.

Eclipse glasses are widely available online, and you might still be able to find them locally at places like libraries and planetariums.

Be sure to check the eclipse glasses you have are legit.

There are also other gadgets you can make to experience the eclipse. A device that converts light to sound can help people in the blind and low vision community experience the eclipse.

Maine Public has put together tips on how to safely take photos and video of the eclipse and this short guide tells you how to do it with your phone.

A little girl with eclipse glasses leans back as she looks up at the sky
Chris Jensen
In 2017, people came out in large numbers to see the partial eclipse in Bethlehem, NH. This year, there will be a total eclipse just north of there.

Tips on finding lodging

Most hotels and short term rentals in northern New England are fully booked. Looking across the full range of totality or just outside of it could help you find a community where there are still lodging options.

Some RV camping may still be a possibility in places.

Officials are issuing strong warnings to people who try to camp. Maine officials say camping on public lands in April is “inadvisable to all but those who are self-sufficient and fully prepared to deal with difficult and highly changeable conditions.”

Road and off-road conditions 

Officials are anticipating much more traffic than normal on April 8, with people driving both long and short distances for a better view.

Whenever possible, they advise against traveling on the day of the eclipse.

Vermont Emergency Management recommends visitors travel with a full tank of gas (or charge, and know where to find charging stations). They also recommend packing water or snacks in case you get stuck in traffic, and traveling with a paper map so you aren’t overly reliant on navigation apps.

Cell or internet service could be affected with so many extra people in the region.

In New Hampshire, state officials are urging visitors to “arrive early, stay late” and to expect delays, given the limited number of roads in and out of the state’s North Country. In addition, they say drivers should not pull over on the side of the road to view the eclipse, lest they get stuck in mud or snow (and get laughed at by the locals).

Ski areas in Vermont and Maine that are in the path of totality say they will close lifts during totality.

Staff at Vermont’s Jay Peak have a plan to set up safety cones and clear the roads, if on-site parking fills up and people park on highways.

And many organizations are warning or begging people to stay off dirt roads and hiking trails. The Green Mountain Club of Vermont has said most trails in that state will be closed. In Maine, officials at Baxter State Park are suggesting visitors consider other venues.

Eclipse events in New England

A woman crouches to hug a person in a wheelchair as they both use eclipse glasses to look at the sky, in a field with other people.
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public
Rebecca Theriault (immediately behind wheelchair) looks up at the partial 2017 eclipse with her mom on UConn's Horsebarn Hill.

For those of us already well-placed to see the eclipse, there are many options for celebrating the experience with others in New England.

Cities and towns along the path of totality are planning viewing parties, parades and concerts. These events will also help them manage crowd flow and enforce designated parking areas.

For ticketed events, be sure to check availability before you get your hopes up: some are sold out.

Vermont

Dozens of events are scheduled across the wide portion of Vermont that will experience totality on April 8.

The city of Burlington has a full calendar of eclipse events including talks, comedy shows and parties. The city has designated seven official viewing sites for viewing totality.

In Glover, the Bread and Puppet Theater will hold an eclipse ritual, involving hymns to the sun and exorcism to banish everything evil.

The Camp Hochelaga YMCA camp in South Hero is hosting a non-ticketed gathering with local musicians and vendors, with a suggested donation.

Click here to see a full list of eclipse events from Vermont Public.

New Hampshire

The state of New Hampshire has a list of public events, celebrations and eclipse gatherings.

Some are in areas with totality:

  • The Great North Woods Center for the Arts near Colebrook is hosting an eclipse concerton the evening of the big event, at 7 p.m.
  • Coleman State Park in Stewartstown, right in the path of totality, is hosting something they’re calling Total Eclipse of the Parks. (Get it?) The park will be open for eclipse viewing, with food, refreshments, and activities for kids. Parking is limited, so you’ll need a reservation.

Further south, some events will celebrate the partial eclipse:

Maine

You can find a list of Maine events, safety reminders, and some accommodation tips from the Maine Office of Tourism.

Houlton will host a major celebration leading up to and on April 8. Events include a metaphysical eclipse tent and a bus tour to a nearby planetarium.

In Millinocket, runners will gather for Millinockeclipse, a casual run set to take place during the length of the eclipse. There will also be a town festival, which includes a whoopie pie bake-off.

In Rangeley, the Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust is holding a Shadow of the Sun Festival and highlighting International Dark Sky Week.  

Tell us about your plans!

We’re curious to hear how you’re planning to view the total eclipse in New England. Share your ideas with Maine Public, NHPR, and Vermont Public through this call out from the NPR Network.

If you have to miss this one, there will be others in the next couple of years, you’ll just need to travel.

If you want to watch a live stream of the eclipse, you can see it in Vermont, New Hampshire or Maine.

Note: We'll update this post as we continue to cover the eclipse.