Beachgoers are likely to pack the sand over July 4th weekend. Photo by Chris Stone

Southern California residents are expected to travel in large numbers over the upcoming Fourth of July holiday weekend, with the vast majority driving despite soaring gas prices.

That’s according to estimates by the Automobile Club of Southern California.

The top five destinations for those travelers over the holiday weekend are expected to be Las Vegas, San Diego, Zion/Bryce Canyon National Parks, Grand Canyon National Park and Yosemite National Park.

According to the Auto Club, roughly 3.3 million Southern California residents are expected to travel over the holiday, topping the volume seen on Memorial Day weekend.

The estimate is up roughly 46% from last year’s Independence Day, during the pandemic, and just 5.6% below the pre-pandemic holiday in 2019.

Of those who are traveling, 2.8 million, or roughly 86%, are expected to travel by car, with 13% flying.

“Car and air travel each are showing growing strength this Fourth of July holiday weekend because many states have reduced or eliminated COVID-19 restrictions,” said Filomena Andre, the Auto Club’s vice president for travel. “We expect car travel to be the highest on record and air travel to be the third highest amount since AAA started tracking data in 2001.”

The large numbers are predicted despite soaring gas prices, which are reaching levels not seen at least six years. The average price of a gallon of gas in Southern California already tops $4 a gallon.

Statewide, the Auto Club predicts 5.36 million people will travel for the holiday; 4.6 million will go by car and 669,314 via plane.

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