Monday, May 20, 2024

90% of US Airbnbs in the path of totality are booked. See some prime spots for eclipse views

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If you’re like this reporter, you may have just heard about the total eclipse a few weeks ago. But there are many people who have been planning on traveling to the path of totality for years.

One Airbnb host told USA TODAY she received an inquiry to book her rental in Arkansas three years ago. Searches for Airbnb listings didn’t peak until March 26 of this year, the company told USA TODAY in an emailed statement. But as of Thursday, 90% of Airbnbs in the path of totality in the U.S. were booked.

Overall, searches for Airbnb listings in the path of totality in North America for April 5 through April 8 were up 1,000% compared to the same weekend in 2023, Airbnb said. Other places came online to try to fill the demand, with more than 1,000 properties joining the platform in 2024, the company said.

Some lucky travelers found a spot with a nice deck or backyard, anywhere to look up at the sky for this rare event. Here are some of those coveted spots in the path of totality we found on Airbnb:

Eclipse: Solar eclipse cloud forecast means anxiety for totality tourists hoping for clear skies

A treehouse in Fredericksburg, Texas

This treehouse in Hill Country, Texas is one of five at The Meadow by HoneyTree, a collection of treehouse getaways designed, constructed and operated by Jacob Rhodes and his wife Katie, a native of the area.

Located in Fredericksburg, less than two hours west of Austin, these getaways have plenty of outdoor space and treehouse decks for views of the eclipse.

Rhodes told USA TODAY in an email that several of their “Treehomes” were booked out exactly one year from the eclipse, the day they became available. People booked them so quickly, one couple beat the pricing software and bypassed the holiday surcharge.

All 17 of the units between The Meadow and their second location, Blue Sage, were booked for the eclipse by the end of December. Rhodes said that is about how far out people book for Valentines Day, but these travelers paid a premium for it. Eclipse rates ranged from $650 to $1200 per night.

HoneyTree guests for the eclipse will get a pair of glasses and a sheet of fun facts put together by Rhodes’s 12-year old son.

Upscale tents in Hot Springs, Arkansas

Cheryl Strack Bryson got a call three years ago from someone asking if she could book one of her upscale glamping rentals in Hot Springs, Arkansas. The event wasn’t even on her radar and she declined the reservation, she told USA TODAY in an interview.

But she found plenty of other people excited to see the eclipse from one of The Covey Tents at The Nest Properties, located approximately an hour outside of Little Rock.

While she usually books three to four months out at an average nightly rate of $350, her guests for the eclipse booked eight months to a year in advance. Some are traveling from Minnesota.

Strack Bryson called Hot Springs a “funky little town” that will likely see lots of visitors with this event. But she says her guests may just want to stay put.

“I think the best place to view it from our properties is going to be the little docks that are associated with each unit and being out there on the loungers,” she said. “Just sit back with your little glasses!”

A 185-year-old lighthouse in Pulaski, New York

Abe and Kathy Ellis have been running the Salmon River Lighthouse & Marina for 10 years, but are in the process of turning it over to new owners.

Typically the lighthouse and the three cabins on the property are winterized in April, but when they got their first inquiry a year in advance, they figured they would open a couple of them up for visitors. The entire lighthouse costs $400 per night Sunday through Thursday, Ellis said.

Abe Ellis told USA TODAY that he thought Lake Ontario would be the best place to view the eclipse. But at other times, visitors can venture up into the lighthouse tower.

He expects it will be busy out there, as he keeps hearing from people looking for eclipse lodging.

“Word spread fast … in the last week I’ve probably received at least five more inquiries for this weekend,” Ellis said. “But of course, I don’t have any room!”

A lucky last-minute booking in Starksboro, Vermont

One last-minute eclipse tourist got lucky with this spot in the hills of Starksboro, Vermont, located approximately 30 minutes outside of Burlington.

Host Paul Reynolds had planned to stay in The Spring Hill House during the eclipse, so he blocked off the dates for himself. But his plans changes last minute, and he opened up the dates the Saturday before eclipse weekend, just to have it booked for Sunday and Monday within 30 minutes.

Nightly rates for this spot average around $320 on weeknights and $350 on weekends.

The small, usually tranquil state is expecting a quarter of a million visitors to see the eclipse. The northern part of the state, including Starksboro, falls in the path of totality.

Contributing: Megan Stewart; Burlington Free Press

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