Total Solar Eclipse August 21, 2017

Eclipse camping spots still available

It’ll be hard, if not impossible, to find a hotel room in eastern Idaho for eclipse weekend, but there’s still plenty of campsites available in Idaho Falls.

The Idaho Falls Department of Parks and Recreation is accepting reservations for campsites spread across three facilities: Sandy Downs, Idaho Falls Raceway (Noise Park) and South Tourist Park.

Eclipse weekend is Aug. 18 to 21. Though hotels have been booked for months, only about 10 percent of the Parks department’s 266 campsites have been reserved since they became available in April.

“It’s been surprising; we thought we’d open reservations and within days be getting slammed,” Recreation Superintendent PJ Holm said. “It’s kind of made us think; have we hit all our marketing resources? Or is it because people booked their rooms months and years in advance, that others feel it’s too late to get anything and haven’t looked into additional resources?”

Campsites at all three facilities are $50 per night for Idaho Falls residents or $100 per night for nonresidents. Sites must be reserved for a minimum of three days, and campers can reserve additional days.

Sites are 60 feet by 20 feet, and are intended for up to 10 people in tents and/or RVs. There are no hookups, though there will be bathroom facilities and water access at each campground.

There are, in total, 200 sites at Sandy Downs, 6855 S. 15th East, 50 sites at the Idaho Falls Raceway, 8433 W. Arco Highway, and 16 sites at South Tourist Park, 2800 S. Yellowstone Highway.

Spots at Sandy Downs and the Idaho Falls Raceway can be reserved at Anyone interested in reserving a South Tourist Park spot can call the Parks department at 208-612-8480.

South Tourist Park already contains a campground, and ordinances allow campgrounds at the other two facilities without the need to apply for conditional use permits.

Grammy-nominated country duo Brothers Osborne will perform at Sandy Downs on Aug. 19.

“We thought it would be great if people could pull in Friday, have concessions, have a concert to go to and a great open space to watch the eclipse so they wouldn’t have to leave the grounds,” Holm said.

With rooms on short-term rental site AirBNB going for several hundred dollars per night, all three campgrounds provide an alternative to other types of eclipse lodging, Holm said.

“And it’s a great way to relate to other folks here. Instead of staying in somebody’s yard, people can converse and get to know each other a bit more,” he said. “We’ll also have additional resources and info there so people know what’s going on around the community.”

Reporter Kevin Trevellyan can be reached at 208-542-6762.

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Source: Solar Eclipse 2017

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