Eclipse (copy)

A crowd gathered at The Bend in North Charleston to view the total solar eclipse Aug. 21. The state says 1.6 million people traveled to and within the state to view the astronomical event. File/Michael Campina/Special to The Post and Courier

Just how much excitement did the solar eclipse generate in South Carolina last month?

Well, it was the state’s biggest single tourist event ever recorded, according to a report released Wednesday by the S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism.

South Carolina was widely marketed as the last place to witness the "totality" of the Aug. 21 eclipse as it moved from west to east across the United States.

About 1.6 million people traveled to or within the Palmetto State to watch it, and they spent about $269 million, according to the report.

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State tourism chief Duane Parrish


Charleston, Columbia and Greenville were the most popular places to see the mid-afternoon event. Most of those who traveled stayed overnight.

"Not only does this research confirm what our indicators hinted at weeks ago, it puts the picture into sharper focus, adding more definition to the eclipse’s total impact," state tourism director Duane Parrish said in a statement.

More than half of the visitors who traveled for the eclipse were South Carolina residents who watched it somewhere else within the state. Those from out of state were primarily from North Carolina, Georgia and Florida.

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Another 3.8 million residents watched the eclipse where they were.

Among those from out of state, about 48 percent went to a park, a mountain site or the coast, and 23 percent reported participating in an organized solar eclipse event.

Among residents who traveled within South Carolina, a third went to a park, a mountain site or the coast, and 25 percent reported participating in an organized solar eclipse event.

Reach Dave Munday at 843-937-5553.