POPE CO. -- Many area hotels and campground have said they're completely booked for the eclipse, but if you're wanting to take in a view of the eclipse just off the beaten path, a campground in Pope County still has openings and may be the place for you.
In the heart of the Shawnee National Forest outside Golconda sits 48 acres of land known as TK Ranch Campground. Named for the two owners Terri and Kenny Steele, who grew up in the outdoors of southern Illinois, they want to bring more people to see the beauty that is sometimes overlooked.
"There's so much to see in this area, we're in the one-horse gap area, there are trails all over, rock formations, beautiful things to do besides just coming and camping," said co-owner Terri Steele.
If you don't mind taking the road less traveled, there are still spots available for camping during the eclipse, and folks who already camp here know just how great of a spot it is.
"Here, for example, the hill is open to the east and you get to see the western sky really easy, which is where the eclipse is supposed to be so it really is nice here," explained Kermit McCormick of Wayne City.
Those campers also say that TK Ranch is more than just a place to camp, hike, or ride horses. To some, it's almost like home.
"Everything around here is kind of like a family atmosphere where you get to meet people and the same people come down here a lot so it's like a big family," said Raquel Minor of Mt. Vernon.
While it may be a bit off the beaten path,Terri Steele hopes that "their neck of the woods" will bring people in for the eclipse and keep them coming back for the beauty of southern Illinois.
"I love meeting people, getting to know them, learning their stories and I want them to come here, I call it our neck of the woods and make memories," she said.
Camping at TK Ranch costs $20, even during the eclipse.
If you're interested in learning how to book your spot you can find contact information on their website or their Facebook page.
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