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Solar Eclipse 2024: The only Michigan town that is in the path of totality

Luna Pier sign
Luna Pier, a small town in southeast Michigan, falls on the edge of the line of totality and will experience total darkness for about 19 seconds. (Bridge photo by Janelle D. James)
  • Luna Pier in southeast Michigan falls on the edge of totality
  • The city has begun working with various agencies to prepare for an influx of visitors looking for the best spot to see the eclipse
  • Concerns about traffic loom, and city officials are encouraging people to go to Toledo, which is the closest place to Michigan with a good view

April 5: What time is the eclipse in Michigan? Where to go and what you’ll see
April 3: Eclipse 2024: New map casts shadow of doubt, but Luna Pier still in path

LUNA PIER — Luna Pier, a small town in Monroe County with a population of just over 1,300, is preparing for an influx of people driving there to see the April 8 total solar eclipse, the first one visible from Michigan since 1954. 

So far, nearby hotels like the Pier Inn and Econo Lodge Inn & Suites are booked for the night, and have been for about a month, hotel staff told Bridge Michigan. 

The city’s police and fire departments will be working together to ensure the safety of people traveling on major streets and highways as severe traffic jams are expected. 


“We normally have one officer working per day or one officer per shift,” said James VanDeraa, Luna Pier police chief. “That day, now, I have seven scheduled.” 

“People have stopped along the freeway just to watch the eclipse. So, if that does happen, which I don't believe that will happen, there's nothing we can really do about just civilization stopping to watch,” he said. 


To avoid this, the police department and the city will use city-owned property as parking lots for people to watch the eclipse and work with business owners for additional parking. 

“We do have a marina in our city that's not technically open yet because the season hasn’t started, but we're trying to convey to (the owner) that it might be good for him to open his doors,” VanDeraa said. 

Eclipse chasers traveling to Luna Pier are advised to leave early to get a good spot — but going back home may be more of a hassle than anything. 

“It's not too hard to get here, but getting out on I-75 north is the main point of egress there,” said James Gardner, mayor of Luna Pier. “So it’ll be everybody leaving at the same time trying to get on I-75, which is only two lanes  because of the construction, so we have extra concern there.” 

parking lot sign
Mayor James Gardner of Luna Pier is encouraging people to drive a few miles south to Toledo because space is limited in the city. (Bridge photo by Janelle D. James)

In December, I-75 closed at Luna Pier Road as the bridge was being demolished. The road isn’t expected to be open until late in the summer. 

Some residents are concerned about the influx of traffic coming into the city and how disruptive it will be. 

“I've been told that I need to stop this eclipse and I do not have the authority to do that,” Mayor Gardner said. “ So yes, people are really concerned. But we're just trying to prepare them.” 

While the crowd may be good for business in a small city just off the shore of Lake Erie, visitors will only be able to experience total darkness for about 19 seconds.

“Toledo and south, which is only six miles from here, they're looking at about three minutes of totality so we're encouraging people to go out there but obviously, we can't make them go away,”  Gardner said. 

While the city of Monroe, just a few miles north of Luna Pier, falls outside of the line of totality, its police department is preparing for a flock of eclipse chasers traveling through the city. 

I would hope that people would not stop on the freeway to view that,” said John Wall, administrative commander for the Monroe police department. “With that kind of a traffic backup, it would take hours for traffic to get moving again.” 


The Monroe County Museum System will host a series of events leading up to the eclipse, showing people how to make a pinhole shadow box and one-on-one instruction on how to use it. People can also get free eclipse viewing glasses from the museum while supplies last. 

River Raisin National Battlefield Park will also host an eclipse viewing party beginning at noon on April 8, along with other events in the city. 

“Leave early, pick the destination you want to go to and get there way before this happens so there isn't no rushing around, and then out of an act of desperation, they pull over and then cause unintended consequences that disrupts everybody,” Wall said. 

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