Grab your telescope, blanket and bug spray because it’s time get ready for the total solar eclipse coming to a sky near you April 8 … 2024?! That’s right! We’re aware that’s about a lightyear away, but we already can’t wait.

And we’re not the only ones. There’s already been some media hype orbiting around 2024’s total eclipse. Amazingly, 2017’s eclipse was viewed by more than 150 million people! And 2024’s eclipse will last even longer than usual, taking the moon four minutes to move in front of the sun.

The best part—New York is one of 15 states in the U.S. located in the path of totality and the Upstate NY region is considered a prime viewing location!

So even though you have time to prepare, why not use the impending total eclipse as an excuse to scope out your perfect skygazing spot in the Finger Lakes? There’s no better (or more beautiful) place to navigate your way through stellar parks, celestial lakeside views and starry overlooks before the big day. To help, here’s a list of spots that shine bright in our eyes.

I was on my way home from a family reunion a while ago and came over a small hill and literally stopped.  I looked across the expansive fields of hay bales, into the white clouds, blue skies, and green, green, green. I knew that just about 18 miles away was Canandaigua – bustling with tourists and waterfront activity. Beyond that in another 20 miles is Rochester with nearly 350,000 people. Right now though, in my world over that hill, there were no people – and that’s the kind of moment that is just as precious in our tourism world.  Real, authentic, fresh air in the country! I was in Gorham, New York.

During this time of social distancing and shift to finding new outdoor adventures, I see some gorgeous Finger Lakes photography happening on Instagram! With all of the region's breathtaking vistas, it is such a remarkable experience watching visitors see our backyard in their own individual ways. 

Before you look ahead and plan your next vacation to the Finger Lakes, we must look back. COVID-19 changed us all, behaviors big and small seemed to shift – and that certainly applied to how Americans traveled in 2020!

33%. The percentage of paid time off left on the table last year by American workers. 6.8. The number of days off used for travel, compared to 11.6 in 2019. 63%. The percentage of people who feel they desperately need a vacation.