Best viewed in Southernmost Illinois, thousands of people are expected across Shawnee Forest Country for 2024’s total solar eclipse. And it’s an especially incredible event given that this is the second solar eclipse for the region in seven years. In fact, the 2017 total solar eclipse in Illinois was the first total solar eclipse in the Continental United States in 38 years, and after the 2024 eclipse, there won’t be another until 2045 and 2078. 

Eclipse Day at SIU and Carbondale, a four-day Southern Illinois Crossroads Eclipse Festival

Southern Illinois University is hosting a variety of events on campus the day of the eclipse, including a public viewing at the football stadium. Mat Kaplan, host and producer of “Planetary Radio,” which airs on 150 stations and online, will serve as host and guide. There will also be indoor viewing, talks and presentations, an arts and crafts fair, and an area dedicated to eclipse citizen science. The event will provide a unique family-friendly experience rich with activities centered on the arts and sciences. 

Bald Knob Cross Eclipse Day Viewing

Get your tickets early to this 360-degree, unobstructed viewing experience! There has already been a great amount of interest shown in this “spot-on” location. With two ticket options, Bald Knob Cross will be a very popular spot for viewing this phenomenon. Gates will open at 8am. Plan on arriving by 10am to set up your spot and catch the partial eclipse. Tickets include eclipse glasses and a T-shirt. For more information, visit

Lodging + meals packages at Touch of Nature Outdoor Education Center, Makanda, IL

Located in the path of totality, Touch of Nature is offering a 4-day package from April 6-9, 2024 that includes lodging, meals and activities. Registration is open now. The extended weekend price includes lodging, all activities, all meals, educational sessions, and a prime eclipse viewing space. Live streaming will be available in the event of inclement weather the day of the eclipse. Visit more information.

Additional packages are available at Camp Ondessonk, Ozark, ILWhether you stay for the entire weekend, or just for the day. 

Shawnee Forest Country
Experience the Eclipse from a canoe in a secluded wetland! 

The Cache River is in the path of totality for the Great American Eclipse! Observers there will see (appx.) 2 minutes 28 seconds of totality. Visitors can head out in the early morning – the perfect time to witness dozens of warblers, great blue herons, ospreys, cormorants, egrets, kingfishers, and eagles. Southern Illinois is at the apex of the area of longest duration for viewing the eclipse which will occur at 12:42 pm on the Cache River. Presentations will be given from our professional naturalist guides about solar cycles and lunar eclipses. Additionally, we will share stories from around the world pertaining to beliefs and customs surrounding these solar and lunar events. A catered meal to follow.

Visitors are welcome across Shawnee Forest Country and the surrounding Southern Illinois area for the eclipse. Experience the event from one of the wineries. Enjoy nature and the many rock formations at nearby State Parks and Shawnee National Forest. Sign up for a farm dinner and plan to stay for the extended weekend. The possibilities are endless. To help you plan your Southernmost Illinois experience, visit or call 1-800-c-it-here.