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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spokane a popular Fourth of July vacation spot among Washington travelers, AAA says

Boaters ride aboard the “Yellow Submarine” during the Loon Lake Fourth of July Boat Parade in this 2013 photo. Granite Point Resort on the lake has been booked for the weekend for at least a month, indicating folks are ready to return to holiday travel.  (DAN PELLE)
By Mathew Callaghan The Spokesman-Review

Nearly 48 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles this July 4 weekend, and experts say Washingtonians see Spokane as a desirable holiday destination.

“From our travel bookings, people that are traveling domestically have Spokane as the fourth-most popular summer destination for Washington travelers,” said Kelly Just, a public relations and traffic safety program manager for AAA Washington.

Spokane is behind Seattle, Los Angeles and Hawaii in popularity among Washington travelers based on travel bookings, Just said.

Holiday travel to and from Spokane is expected to rival pre-pandemic levels this year. Overall travel volumes are also expected to approach 2019 levels this July 4 weekend, according to the AAA report published June 21, making it the second-busiest July 4 holiday since 2000.

Car travel this weekend is supposed to set a new record, despite the national average for gas prices going over the $5 per gallon mark. AAA predicts 42 million Americans will hit the road, which accounts for 88% of the total travel expected to occur. Air travel, buses, trains and cruises account for the other 12%.

For those looking to travel this weekend, experts advise taking certain precautions. One includes conducting a full vehicle inspection before going on a long trip.

“Fuel economy is a big deal… you don’t want quick acceleration or quick braking,” Just said

Just also wanted to stress the importance of keeping the tires on your vehicle properly inflated.

“Being aware of your circumstances and making changes to improve your fuel economy is very important,” Just said.

The heaviest road congestion is expected Thursday and Friday, so those leaving later in the weekend could miss the biggest slowdowns. Nationwide travel times were expected to increase 50% before the weekend.

In Washington, though, fewer people are expected to travel on the roads.

“It is unique to see a state where the expected number of road trippers has gone done, while nationally it goes up,” Just said.

A large number of travelers from across the country are expected to travel to Seattle. Seattle is ranked in the top 10 most enticing places for all travelers to visit this July 4 weekend.

“Seattle is the second-most popular destination for Americans to visit, which is due to cruises,” Just said.

As a port city, Seattle is expected to be a popular spot for people looking to get out of their homes after two years of being cooped up by the pandemic, Just said. She called it “revenge travel.”

“People are tired of being at home,” Just said.

That seems to be the case, based on bookings at Granite Point Resort in Loon Lake. The resort holds a firework display every year and has been fully booked for at least a month, a worker there said Thursday.

In forming their forecast, AAA takes into account factors such as “employment; output; household net worth; asset prices including stock indices; interest rates; housing market indicators and variables related to travel and tourism, including prices of gasoline, airline travel and hotel stays.”