Come to South Carolina for the Great Eclipse of 2017

By:Chrysti Shain


A monumental viewing party is shaping up in South Carolina for the great solar eclipse of 2017.

The Columbia area will have the longest eclipse of any metro area on the East Coast— 2 minutes and 36 seconds to exact— and there are celebrations and gatherings galore all weekend.

Charleston and Greenville are also in the maximum viewing zone. Both cities, as well as others along a diagonal line, roughly from the S.C. mountains to the Charleston area coast, fall in the eclipse’s path of totality, which means they get total darkness for the longest periods of time on Monday, August 21.Greenville will experience about 2 minutes and 10 seconds of total darkness, while Charleston will receive about 1 minute and 31 seconds.

And with this being South Carolina, you can bet there’s a celebration in the works. The hardest thing might be deciding where you want to be, because there are so many beautiful, fun, festive, quiet, majestic places to choose from across the state.


Columbia’s Total Eclipse Weekend is packed with 120 different events celebrating all things celestial.

Festivities start on Friday, August 18 and continue through the evening of Monday, August 21, after the eclipse is over. The Columbia Fireflies have special promotions all weekend, the SC Philharmonic performs Star Wars music, there’s an eclipse-eve drive-in movie at the speedway and a rock ‘n’ roll tribute featuring Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. And to quench the lunar thirst, Benford Brewing is releasing Carolina Blackout, a black IPA just for the occasion.

Here’s a rundown of events on the big day:

The Columbia Fireflies host Total Eclipse of the Park at their game against the Rome Braves. In addition to stopping the game during the eclipse, the park will be filled with interactive booths teaching kids about science, technology, engineering and math.

The SC State Museum is showing a special planetarium eclipse show along with special astronomy and space exhibits. Also, Apollo 16 astronaut General Charles Duke, who actually walked on the moon, will make a special appearance.

The Solar 17 viewing party promises wide open vistas on both sides of the Lake Murray dam.

If you want to experience daytime darkness in the wild— who knows how the animals will react— Congaree National Park and Sesquicentennial State Parks both have special programs and viewing areas.

The Columbia Speedway is holding the Soda City Eclipse Viewing Festival, an old-fashioned all-day party complete with food trucks, live music and more.

For more, visit the Total Eclipse Weekend Columbia site here.


Experience the eclipse on a warship from the deck of the USS Yorktown, with space-inspired kids events.

Show up early for the Charleston Riverdogs game for a day of science and baseball. The kids (and you!) can learn more about the solar system from NASA guests.

It wouldn’t be Charleston without a beach party, so head to Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina for the Dark Side of the Sun bash featuring music, kids activities and more.

MUSC Health Stadium is throwing a giant tailgate party with science activities for the kids and live entertainment.

One of the last places to experience the eclipse is Bulls Island, as the eclipse heads out to sea directly over the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge area. Take a ferry to the island’s famous boneyard beach and imagine you’re a world away. There also are numerous other ways to experience the darkness from the water, including harbor cruises, kayak tours and more.


Chattooga Belle Farms is hosting Eclipse Fest 2017, with music, food trucks, kids crafts and, of course, those already breathtaking mountain views. It’s one of the first places in the state to see the darkness.

Roper Mountain Science Center has a weekend of special programming, leading up to the main event on Monday. Astronomers will be on hand at special observation sites.

Clemson University is opening its campus to the public for the eclipse, with scientists and astronomers available to enhance the experience. Clemson also is one of five colleges in the state to be chosen as part of a national telescope network documenting the eclipse. Others are Lander, SC State, Coker and Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College.

Bob Jones University is also hosting a viewing party, where you can learn about the scientific, historical and religious significance of eclipses.


Experience the eclipse on the water at Santee State Park. You can join the Solar Eclipse Paddle and Flotilla in a kayak, canoe or standup paddleboard.

The town of Santee is also in the crucial line of totality, and is hosting a special “Eclipse on the Lawn” event in front of the Santee Town Hall. Eclipse chasers are invited to bring a picnic lunch and listen to live, local music as they await the darkening. Solar eclipse viewing glasses and special commemorative fans will be provided. Learn more here.

If you’d rather be in a smaller town, head to Greenwood, where the eclipse window is almost as long as Columbia. See it from the water at the EclipseFest Boat Social on Lake Greenwood and special programming at Lake Greenwood State Park and the Ninety Six National Historic Site. There’s also a viewing party on the town square. Lander University is also part of the telescope project and will open campus for a viewing party.

Newberry is also taking full advantage of being a “NASA Designated City.” Four days of events focused on the eclipse will be capped off with a stellar viewing party downtown. Watchers will be lead through the phenomenon by PBS acclaimed host of Janet’s Planet, Janet Ivey, a NASA engineer and several local educators. For more information on EclipseFest in Newberry, click here.

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