Renting a Camper Van for the October 2023 Solar Eclipse: Destinations & Top Tips
An astronomical marvel is on the horizon – the 2023 Annular Eclipse on October 14 is fast approaching, and we’re thrilled to present you with an exclusive opportunity to witness this awe-inspiring event like never before…by camper van! Imagine immersing yourself in the captivating landscapes of the American Southwest as the Moon aligns with the Sun, creating a luminous “ring of fire” that is nothing short of extraordinary. This celestial spectacle is a rare occurrence and a favorite for adventure seekers across the globe. In fact, many avid cosmic explorers are already planning not just for the annular eclipse, but the total eclipse in 2024!
Fall foliage is hard to predict with 100% certainty but many areas will also be experiencing peak fall colors! Renting a camper van gives you more flexibility to chase the best fall colors (and the best viewpoint) for the eclipse compared to having to be stuck with a hotel booking.
We offer bedding and electric kits with space heaters for rent so you can stay warm at night! If it looks like it will be extra chilly, you can book a campsite with a hookup to use the electric kit with the space heater. You can literally camp out for the best annular eclipse viewing location!
Oregon will be the first state to witness the annular solar eclipse which means much of the coast and many national parks will be hot destinations for eclipse chasers. We recommend booking early and having a campsite plan before embarking. One of our favorite eclipse destination options is only 4 hours from the Portland Hub – Crater Lake National Park! While watching the eclipse over the crater rim and lake is worth it, this is predicted to be a busy area during the celestial event. Plus, with seasonal specials like the Weekend Special, you can explore for a full weekend (3 days) for only $99.
We recommend reserving campsites as soon as possible or researching dispersed camping options in the area. Crater Lake is an excellent eclipse destination option for those searching for the ultimate view.
2023 Eclipse Camping at Crater Lake National Park:
Also within Crater Lake National Park, Mazama Village Campground requires reservations for a portion of its sites, while the remaining sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations are recommended, and may already be booked out.
Right next door to Crater Lake National Park, this campground operates on a first-come, first-served basis as well as reservations. We love this site for its RV & tent site options! Arrive early to secure a spot, especially during peak seasons.
Check out our renter’s recent Oregon adventures below!
From Salt Lake City
When embarking on an incredible eclipse road trip, Salt Lake City might not immediately come to mind. However, once you uncover the fact that Utah boasts more national parks, monuments, and recreational areas in the path of totality than any other state, it becomes an absolute must-visit destination. Whether you set your sights on the path center at Capital Reef National Park or choose to explore the captivating wonders of Grand Staircase Escalante and Canyonlands to the East, our Salt Lake City hub positions you just a short 5-hour drive away from immersing yourself in the enchantment of a desert eclipse.
Utah is famous for its wide range of free and private camping areas scattered throughout the state. So, when you’re planning your eclipse adventure and discover that most campsites are fully booked, don’t worry! Escape Campervans are stocked with everything you need for dispersed camping and beyond. But remember, stick to designated or approved roadways and do not go off-roading in your camper van. Safety first!
Campgrounds in Southwest Utah for the 2023 Solar Eclipse:
Yonder Escalante is a unique glamping and camping retreat nestled near the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. It offers stylish accommodations such as luxury tents, airstreams, and cabins. As a preferred partner of Escape, you can get a discount, too! Click here to learn more.
While not directly adjacent to Capitol Reef National Park, and the center of the eclipse, Goblin Valley State Park is within driving distance and offers a unique landscape with tent and RV camping options. It also should offer smaller crowds and position you closer to exciting parks like Arches National Park, or Canyonlands.
Check out our renter’s recent Utah adventures below!
A city renowned for its breathtaking landscapes and scorching desert climate, the Phoenix hub serves as the perfect launchpad to explore an array of eclipse destinations. Whether you have a fondness for cacti or prefer to stay closer to the comforts of home, you can witness a partial eclipse at Saguaro National Park. Alternatively, journey eastwards to the heart of the eclipse and immerse yourself in the awe-inspiring backdrop of Oljato Monument Valley – one of the most captivating scenes we can envision.
Oljato-Monument Valleyis located within the Navajo Nation, and it’s essential to show respect for the land, culture, and traditions of the Navajo people. Be mindful of the local customs and practices and follow local guidelines. To fully experience the valley you will need to pay an entrance fee which supports the preservation and maintenance of the park. Fees may vary, so it’s a good idea to check the official website for the most up-to-date information.
Campgrounds out of Phoenix for the 2023 Solar Eclipse:
Our favorite option near Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, The View Campground offers sites with panoramic vistas of the stunning rock formations. It’s a great choice for those looking to immerse themselves in the park’s beauty and offers the perfect eclipse view.
This is a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) managed area with dispersed camping. It’s known for its remarkable red rock formations and offers a unique and remote camping experience. Keep in mind that this is primitive camping without designated sites.
Check out our renter’s recent Arizona adventures below!
Land-locked explorers don’t have to travel far from the Mile High City to get their dose of “sun” and sand for this eclipse. Travel 4 hours south to Great Sand Dunes National Park to witness an almost full eclipse surrounded by giant dunes of sand. It’s an otherworldly landscape with sweeping views, perfect for the Annular Eclipse.
Another interesting eclipse destination found in southwest Colorado is Mesa Verde National Park. While Mesa Verde is not within the path of totality, visitors can still experience a partial eclipse. This offers a chance to witness a significant celestial event against the backdrop of the park’s natural and cultural wonders. Note that Mesa Verde National Park officials will suspend tours of the cliff dwellings during the eclipse so staff can focus on presentations where the eclipse can best be viewed.
Located within Mesa Verde National Park, Morefield Campground offers tent and RV sites. It’s the most convenient option for exploring the park’s cliff dwellings and archaeological sites. You will need to book sites well in advance!
This BLM-managed area offers camping near Cochiti Lake, NM, and is approximately halfway between Albuquerque and Santa Fe. It’s a peaceful spot for water activities and relaxation, but more importantly offers close access to the Albuquerque Hot Air Balloon Fiesta, happening during the eclipse. Hot air balloons + eclipse = epic memories!
Check out our renter’s recent Colorado adventures below!
Best Tips for Viewing the Eclipse
Check Your Specs – Make sure your eclipse glasses or solar viewer are certified and meet the ISO 12312-2 international standard. Regular sunglasses will not protect your eyes from the eclipse, and you should NEVER stare directly at the sun (even with eclipse glasses).
Park Smart – Position your camper van for optimum eclipse viewing! One of the advantages of watching the eclipse in a camper van is all the amenities. If you have a rooftop sleeper, back into your site and use the extra height to your advantage.
Plan Ahead – Be aware of the timing of the eclipse in your area. Not all areas will experience a total solar eclipse at the same time and viewing times will vary. Check with local authorities for specific eclipse times and safety guidelines. Pro tip: Expect large crowds and extended periods of traffic both before and after the eclipse
Eclipse Additions – Don’t forget to add on useful extras like camp chairs or a portable table to make your eclipse camping trip that much simpler. You’ll love the flexibility to watch the eclipse wherever you please without having to worry about packing bulky camp gear ahead of time.