2023’s Independence Day Weekend will be the busiest on American roads since pre-pandemic 2019.

As Americans prepare to celebrate Independence Day this coming weekend, a significant increase in domestic travel is anticipated, with a new record projected for the number of people hitting the road. According to AAA, an estimated 50.7 million Americans are predicted to travel 50 miles or more from home during the long weekend. That’s an increase of 2.1 million people compared to 2022, surpassing the previous record of 49 million travelers set in 2019.

AAA expects 43.2 million people, an increase of 2.4% over 2022 and 4% more than 2019, will drive to their destinations this July 4th weekend. To the relief of road trippers, gas prices are currently well below last year’s levels. Last year on July 4th, the national average for a gallon of regular gas was $4.80. This summer, the national average gas price hovers around $3.50 to $3.60 a gallon, thanks to decreased oil costs.

Air travel will see a 8.2% piece of the travel pie for independence day, the highest in 20 years. Other forms of transportation such as buses, cruises, and trains are also seeing a resurgence, with AAA expecting 3.36 million people to choose these methods.

Road trippers should take note of predicted peak congestion times. Data from INRIX, a transportation data provider, suggests that Friday, June 30, may be the busiest day on the roads. The average travel times could increase by nearly 30% over typical conditions. Major metropolitan areas such as Boston, Seattle, and Washington, DC are expected to experience the most severe traffic congestion. To dodge the worst of the gridlock, INRIX recommends leaving either in the morning or after 6 p.m.

Bob Pishue, a transportation analyst at INRIX, advises: “With record-breaking travelers expected on the road this holiday weekend, drivers should prepare for above-average delays to their favorite destinations.” He suggests using traffic apps, local Department of Transportation notifications, and 511 services to minimize holiday travel frustrations.

In the face of all these travel figures, it’s clear that Americans are eager to embrace the spirit of Independence Day this year, with the great American road trip being the preferred method of holiday travel.

Best and Worst Times to Travel by Car
DateWorst Travel TimeBest Travel Time
Thu, June 294:00 – 6:00 PMBefore 12:00 PM
Fri, June 3010:00 AM – 5:00 PMBefore 10:00 AM, After 6:00 PM
Sat, July 11:00 PMBefore 12:00 PM
Sun, July 2Minimal Traffic Impact Expected
Mon, July 3Minimal Traffic Impact Expected
Tue, July 412:00 – 3:00 PMBefore 11:00 AM, After 6:00 PM
Wed, July 53:00 – 6:00 PMBefore 2:00 PM
Peak Congestion by Metro
MetroRoutePeak Congestion PeriodEst. Travel TimeCompared to Typical
AtlantaSavannah to Atlanta viaI-16 WTue, 6PM6 hrs 18 mins67%
BostonBoston to Hyannis via Pilgrim Hwy SFri, 11AM2 hrs 24 mins63%
ChicagoChicago to Indianapolis via I-65 SWed, 5PM5 hrs 30 mins33%
Washington DCRehoboth Beach to Washington via US-50 WTue, 5PM4 hrs82%
DenverFort Collins to Denver viaI-25 SFri, 1PM2 hrs 24 mins60%
DetroitCleveland to Detroit viaI-90 WFri, 10AM4 hrs 36 mins73%
HoustonHouston to Galveston viaI-45 SSat, 11AM1 hr 18 mins52%
Los AngelesLos Angeles to Las Vegas via I-15 NSun, 6PM6 hrs 12 mins60%
MinneapolisMinneapolis to Eau Claire via I-94 EWed, 6PM2 hrs 36 mins30%
New YorkNew York to Jersey Shore via GSP SFri, 5PM2 hrs 48 mins64%
PortlandPortland to Cannon Beach via US-26 WSat, 1PM2 hrs 18 mins35%
San DiegoPalm Springs to San Diego via I-15 SWed, 7AM3 hrs 30 mins17%
San FranciscoSan Francisco to Sacramento via I-80 EFri, 12PM2 hrs 18 mins48%
SeattleSeattle to Ellensburg viaI-90 EFri, 3PM2 hrs 36 mins43%
TampaTampa to Orlando via I-4 ETue, 11AM2 hrs 24 mins69%