This Independence Day, a record-breaking 44.2 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from home, taking to the nation’s roads, skies, rails and waterways to honor the red, white and blue. With 1.25 million more travelers than last year, 2017 will be marked as the most traveled Independence Day holiday weekend ever.
“Combined, strong employment, rising incomes and higher consumer confidence bode well for the travel industry, in particular this Independence Day weekend,” said Bill Sutherland, AAA senior vice president, Travel and Publishing. “A historic 44.2 million Americans will travel to celebrate our nation’s freedom this year, adding to an already bustling summer travel season.”
The Independence Day holiday travel period is defined as Friday, June 30 to Tuesday, July 4.
By the Numbers: Independence Day Travel Forecast
- Overall, 44.2 million travelers are expected to travel this Independence Day, a 2.9 percent increase over 2016.
- 37.5 million Americans will drive to their destinations, an increase of 2.9 percent over last year.
- 3.44 million people are taking to the skies this Independence Day, increasing air travel by 4.6 percent over last year.
- 3.27 million travelers, an increase of 1.4 percent from 2016, will look to other modes of transportation, including cruises, trains and buses.
Gas prices cheaper than one year ago
The national average gas price is four cents cheaper than this same time last year and a contributing factor to the increase in travelers on the roads this Independence Day. With today’s national average price for a gallon of gas at $2.28, prices remain historically low for the summer travel season. However, consumers may see prices increase, albeit by pennies, closer to the holiday weekend, similar to the Memorial Day gas price trend.
More people will drive, fly and use other modes of travel
The vast majority of travelers—37.5 million Americans—will drive to their Independence Day destinations, an increase of 2.9 percent over last year. Air travel is expected to increase 4.6 percent over last year, with 3.44 million Americans taking to the skies this Independence Day. Travel by other modes of transportation, including cruises, trains and buses, will increase 1.4 percent, to 3.27 million travelers.
AAA to rescue more than 338,000 motorists this Independence Day
AAA expects to rescue more than 338,000 motorists this Independence Day weekend, with the primary reasons being lockouts, flat tires and battery-related issues. AAA recommends motorists take their vehicle to a trusted repair facility to perform any needed maintenance before heading out. Oil changes, fluid level checks, battery tests and tire inspections go a long way toward reducing the chances of a breakdown.
Oregon’s newest Scenic Bikeway traverses the strikingly scenic high desert canyon of north central Oregon, known as the River Canyon Country. The Oregon Parks and Recreation Commission formally approved the designation of the Sherar’s Falls Scenic Bikeway during its June 14 meeting in Salem, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) and Travel Oregon announced today.
This 33-mile loop winds along the Deschutes River en route to the Bikeway’s namesake, Sherar’s Falls, where the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs fish for salmon, as they have for thousands of years: from wooden scaffolds using traditional dipnets and setnets. Riders will follow a section of the White River and pass White River Falls State Park, one of Oregon’s secret hideaways, where a short walk leads to views of the river’s 90-foot plunge over a basalt shelf.
Just in time for summer vacation, one of the fiercest underwater legends has come to life in an entirely new way. SeaWorld Orlando’s original roller coaster offers an adventure for thrill-seeking guests unlike any other when Kraken Unleashed opens to the public June 16.
Kraken Unleashed is a first-of-its-kind virtual reality roller coaster in the United States, with fully integrated headsets. The completely immersive experience takes riders on an exploratory journey under the sea. As they sail along the powerful coaster track, complete with deep dives, steep turns and seven complete inversions, a fully integrated story unfolds. The result is a fantastical voyage past gigantic sea monsters, and an unexpected, unforgettable encounter with the legendary Kraken sea monster.
Family Vacation Critic, TripAdvisor’s family travel site, has just named the Best Amusement Parks for Families in 2017 – naming the best parks in the U.S., and sharing the year’s newest attractions and highlights for every age group.
“Amusement parks are one of the most quintessential summertime activities for families,” explains Lissa Poirot, editor-in-chief of Family Vacation Critic. “But for those traveling with family members of various ages – including kids-at-heart – finding a park that caters to thrill-seekers and the younger set isn’t always so easy. This list includes parks that successfully cater to both, and those that also have exciting new features for the 2017 season.”
The list of the best amusement parks for families in 2017 include:
- Cedar Point (Sandusky, OH)
What’s New: Cedar Point Shores, an 18-acre waterpark located along Lake Erie with 17 water attractions for all ages, VIP cabanas, restaurants, shopping and live entertainment.
- Dollywood (Pigeon Forge, TN)
What’s New: Drop Line, a 230-foot tall drop tower, with a spinning gondola that offers riders a breathtaking view of the Great Smoky Mountains. Also joining the park in 2017 is Whistle Punk Chaser, a junior coaster positioned as a great first-coaster for younger park visitors.
- Hersheypark (Hershey, PA)
What’s New: Hershey Triple Tower offers three drop towers for park guests to choose from – Hershey’s Tower, the tallest at 189-feet high; Reese’s Tower, is the second tallest at 131-feet high; and Hershey’s Kisses Tower standing at 80-feet tall.
- Kings Island (Mason, OH)
What’s New: Mystic Timbers, a 3,265-foot long wooden coaster with a 48″ height requirement – making it an ideal coaster for riders of various ages.
- Silver Dollar City (Branson, MO)
What’s New: New Silver Dollar Food Days run from July 31 – August 20, highlighting favorite festival food like funnel cakes, kettle corn and milkshakes, and taking them to new levels.
- Universal’s Islands of Adventure (Orlando, FL)
What’s New: For guests visiting the park, plan a trip to Universal Orlando Resort’s newest water theme park, Volcano Bay – a 25-acre park featuring 18 unique attractions including a wave pool, winding river, raft rides, body slides and more.
- Universal Studios (Hollywood, CA and Orlando, FL)
What’s New: Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon brings guests a simulated race through New York City – a history of The Tonight Show, Hashtag the Panda and the Ragtime Gals barbershop quartet also join in the fun.
- Six Flags (Nationwide)
What’s New: Six Flags is unveiling new rides at each of its parks across North America, including Warner Brothers and DC Comics-branded rides and attractions.
About Family Vacation Critic
Family Vacation Critic® is a comprehensive online travel resource for families that offers reviews of family hotels, resort and destinations. The site features vacation ideas, family travel tips and an online forum for family travelers. Family Vacation Critic is published by The Independent Traveler, Inc., a subsidiary of TripAdvisor, Inc.
One of the Southeast’s most vibrant mid-sized cities, Columbia, South Carolina is home to the longest total solar eclipse on the East Coast for a metro area and will host Total Eclipse Weekend Columbia, S.C., a long weekend of more than 50 eclipse-related festivals and events, from Aug. 18 to 21, 2017. Plan your trip at http://www.totaleclipsecolumbiasc.com.
Dubbed the “Total Eclipse Capital of the East Coast,” where viewers can experience totality for up to 2 minutes and 36 seconds, Columbia, S.C., has been identified as one of the top places in the nation to watch the total solar eclipse by astronomy experts and media such as Fodor’s Travel, USA Today, Forbes, the Washington Post and more.