Lodging still left for solar eclipse weekend, but filling up fas - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Lodging still left for solar eclipse weekend, but filling up fast

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JACKSON CO. -- You've probably heard that all the rooms available for solar eclipse weekend in southern Illinois are booked, but we've found rooms to spare. 

Carbondale leaders expect more than 50,000 people for the solar eclipse, but have only 500 hotel rooms to offer.

"If every room had three people in it, you know that's only 1,500 people. So that's not a lot compared to the 55,000 that they are projecting," said Cinnamon Smith, executive director for Carbondale Tourism.

Smith keeps a close eye on hotels across southern Illinois, getting updates from them each week on available rooms.  She says despite what you may have heard, hotels in town still have vacancies.

She says it may say "no vacancy" online if you only try to book a room for a single night for eclipse weekend. But if you book for more than one night, you'll find rooms still open, but not many. 

Smith says in order find those rooms, you'll need to call individual hotels and ask for the hotel manager, who can tell you the hotel's minimum stay requirement for that weekend. 

If your want a more unique place to stay, the Davie School in in Anna still has rooms available.

'I'm calling from London. I need a room for the eclipse.' That was the first call I got and that was a year-and-a-half ago," said Davie School Inn owner Gary Dahmer. 

Dahmer says like the bigger hotels, he also has a minimum stay policy. He says he wanted people to book longer because it'll allow guests to see all Southern Illinois has to offer. 

"We can send them to have chicken at Giant City. We can send them to 'Snake Road' to see the snakes. We can send them to Garden of the Gods," said Dahmer. 

Smith says if you really want a room, you need to pick up the phone and call a hotel or bed and breakfast. She says many may have vacancies now, but expect to fill them fast. 

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