Record July 4th travel weekend projected

AAA projects a record-setting 1.2 million Virginians will travel 50 miles or more from home during the July 4th holiday – a 4.6 percent increase from last year and the highest predicted Independence Day holiday travel volume in the past decade.

“Patriotic Americans can add vacation days to the weekend before the mid-week holiday, after it, or even both this year, giving them lot of options. Couple that with lower gas prices and Virginians are reporting that they will travel in greater numbers than we have seen in ten years to celebrate our nation’s independence in 2012,” said Martha Mitchell Meade, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Like this past Memorial Day and other recent holidays, however, Independence Day travelers continue to seek ways to economize as much as possible.”

With nearly 86 percent of holiday travelers hitting the highways this July 4th, the question many motorists ask is about when the roadways will be the busiest. When asked about holiday departure, fifty-four percent of people intending to travel this holiday plan to begin their trip prior to the start of the work-week that includes July 4. Response percentages by trip departure day are:

·         25 percent – Friday, June 29

·         16 percent – Saturday, June 30

·         13 percent – Sunday, July 1

·         11 percent – Monday, July 2

·         19 percent – Tuesday, July 3

·         16 percent – Wednesday, July 4

The recent ongoing decline in gas prices is stimulating travel this Independence Day. Automobile travel is up nearly four percent over last year with over one million Virginians taking road trips. Just as the case with the overall travel forecast, the number of auto travelers is expected to be the highest in past decade.

Those staying in Virginia this holiday or hosting friends and family will find lots of family friendly holiday celebrations and destinations across the Commonwealth. Sites with a direct connection to America’s independence, such as Yorktown, Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and George Washington’s Mount Vernon will host July 4th events including naturalization ceremonies at Monticello and Mount Vernon. From fireworks and theme parks to the beach and the mountains, Virginia offers just about everything a family could think of this summer, all within easy driving distance. A listing of July 4th celebrations, events and fireworks displays across the Commonwealth can be found at

“We want to encourage Virginian’s to travel in Virginia during the Fourth of July holiday,” said Rita McClenny, interim president and CEO of the Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC). “Not only does it help generate revenue and support jobs in the commonwealth, travelers will find amazing experiences to explore together that provide the chance to completely connect with loved ones.” VTC reports that tourism in Virginia in 2010 generated $19 billion in revenue, supported 204,000 jobs and provides $1.3 billion in state and local taxes.

The July 4th holiday is also a good time to visit Virginia’s award-winning wineries. Virginia was named one of the top ten wine travel destinations in the world for 2012 by Wine Enthusiast Magazine. More than 200 wineries can be visited at locations throughout Virginia, a number of which are members of organized wine trails, providing the visitor with easy point-to-point directions between wineries. For more information on visiting Virginia’s wineries visit

“With so many wonderful things to do and see in Virginia, those seeking to stay a bit closer to home will not be disappointed and will save a few dollars at the gas pump,” added Meade. In addition to fireworks displays, both AAA and VTC offer easy on-line planning resources at and

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