As the nation gears up to celebrate its independence, Americans are preparing for what promises to be a record-shattering travel season. The upcoming Fourth of July holiday is set to witness an unprecedented surge in Fourth of July traffic, with experts predicting a staggering 70.9 million travelers hitting the roads, skies, and rails.


This year’s projected figures represent a significant leap from previous records, highlighting a renewed appetite for travel and a return to pre-pandemic enthusiasm for holiday getaways. The anticipated Fourth of July traffic is expected to surpass even the most optimistic forecasts, creating a perfect storm of congestion across the country’s transportation networks.


Paula Twidale, Senior Vice President of AAA Travel, offers insight into this remarkable trend: “We’re witnessing a perfect confluence of factors driving this year’s travel boom. The combination of pent-up demand, increased workplace flexibility, and a general desire to maximize summer experiences has created an unprecedented surge in Independence Day travel plans. This July 4th week is poised to be the busiest we’ve ever recorded, with an additional 5.7 million travelers compared to our last pre-pandemic peak in 2019.”


As millions of Americans finalize their holiday plans, transportation officials and travel experts are bracing for the challenges that lie ahead. With highways, airports, and popular destinations expected to face extraordinary pressures, travelers are being advised to plan ahead, exercise patience, and prepare for potential delays in what’s shaping up to be a historic celebration of American mobility.

Top Destinations

With Americans planning their Fourth of July getaways, clear trends are emerging in both domestic and international travel preferences, with coastal destinations and iconic cities topping the lists.


Domestically, beach towns and natural wonders are drawing significant attention. Seattle, with its blend of urban attractions and proximity to stunning Pacific Northwest landscapes, leads the pack as the most popular domestic destination. Orlando follows closely, likely due to its family-friendly theme parks and warm weather. 


Surprisingly, Anchorage is seeing a surge in popularity, possibly attributed to travelers seeking cooler climates and breathtaking Alaskan scenery during the peak of summer. Honolulu continues to be a favorite, offering a perfect tropical escape for mainlanders.

Top Destinations​ - Fourth of July traffic

Rounding out the top domestic destinations is Miami, known for its vibrant culture and beautiful beaches. However, potential visitors should be aware of the notorious traffic in Miami, which can be particularly challenging during holiday periods. The city’s popularity, combined with its limited road infrastructure, often leads to significant congestion, especially around popular areas like South Beach and downtown.


On the international front, travelers are setting their sights on a mix of North American and European destinations. Vancouver tops the list, likely benefiting from its proximity to the U.S. and its reputation as a gateway to Canadian wilderness adventures. 


European capitals are also proving irresistible to American travelers, with London, Rome, Dublin, and Paris all ranking high on the list of favored international destinations. These choices reflect a diverse range of traveler interests, from those seeking urban explorations and cultural experiences to others longing for beach relaxation or nature-based adventures. 


As millions of Americans prepare to descend upon these popular spots, local authorities and tourism boards are gearing up to manage the influx, ensuring that visitors can enjoy their Independence Day celebrations, whether that’s watching fireworks over the Thames in London or enjoying a luau in Honolulu.

Driving Tips

For those planning to brave the highways this Fourth of July, strategic timing can make all the difference between a smooth journey and hours of frustration. As the holiday week encompasses some of the worst traffic days of the year, being well-informed about optimal travel times is crucial.


The best times to hit the road are typically in the early morning hours. Experts recommend departing before noon on July 3 and 4 to avoid the heaviest congestion. For those planning their return trips, leaving before 11 a.m. on July 7 or after 7 p.m. on July 8 can help sidestep the worst of the return traffic.

Driving Tips​​ - Fourth of July traffic

Conversely, certain periods stand out as the worst traffic day of the year during this holiday week. Drivers should be particularly wary of being on the road between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on July 3 and 4, when outbound traffic reaches its peak. The return journey on July 7 is expected to be especially challenging, with the hours between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. predicted to see the most severe congestion.


Bob Pishue, a transportation analyst at INRIX, warns that “road trips over the holiday week could take up to 67% longer than normal.” This stark increase in travel time underscores the importance of careful planning and patience.


To navigate these challenging conditions, experts advise travelers to stay informed about real-time road conditions. Pishue recommends that “travelers should monitor 511 services, local news stations, and traffic apps for up-to-the-minute road conditions.” These resources can provide valuable insights into accidents, construction zones, and unexpected delays, allowing drivers to adjust their routes accordingly.


Additionally, considering alternative routes, even if they might be slightly longer, could potentially save time by avoiding the most congested areas. Travelers are also encouraged to ensure their vehicles are in good condition before embarking on long trips, as breakdowns during peak traffic periods can exacerbate congestion and lead to significant delays.

Major City Traffic Projections

As the Fourth of July approaches, major cities across the United States are bracing for significant traffic congestion. An analysis of projected traffic patterns reveals that urban centers will face some of their most challenging days on the road during this holiday period.


Traffic news Los Angeles paints a particularly daunting picture for Southern California travelers. The route from Bakersfield to Los Angeles via I-5 South is expected to be the city’s worst, with peak congestion occurring on July 8 around 2:15 p.m. Drivers on this stretch should prepare for a journey of about 1 hour and 47 minutes, a 29% increase from normal travel times. Traffic information Los Angeles suggests that those planning to traverse this route consider alternative times or prepare for extended delays.

Major City Traffic Projections​​​ - Fourth of July Traffic

On the East Coast, Boston news traffic indicates that the route from Boston to Hyannis via Pilgrim Highway South will be the most congested. The worst traffic is anticipated on July 4 at approximately 1:45 p.m., with an estimated travel time of 1 hour and 51 minutes – a 31% increase from typical conditions.


Other cities facing severe congestion include:


  • Atlanta: The Birmingham to Atlanta route via I-20 East is projected to be the worst on July 7, with peak congestion at 6:30 p.m. and a travel time of 3 hours and 36 minutes.
  • New York: Those traveling from the Jersey Shore to New York via Garden State Parkway North should brace for heavy traffic on July 7, peaking at 2:15 p.m. with an estimated travel time of 1 hour and 25 minutes.
  • Washington D.C.: The route from Baltimore to Washington D.C. via Baltimore-Washington Parkway South is expected to see the worst traffic in the USA on July 8 at 3:15 p.m., with a staggering 67% increase in travel time.
  • San Francisco: Travelers heading from San Francisco to Monterey via Santa Cruz Highway South should expect peak congestion on July 2 at 5:45 p.m., with a travel time of 2 hours and 31 minutes.

These projections underscore the importance of careful planning for holiday travelers. Being aware of these peak times and preparing for delays can help mitigate some of the stress associated with holiday travel. Travelers are advised to consult real-time traffic updates and consider adjusting their plans to avoid the worst of the congestion in these major urban areas.


Worst Traffic in the USA

As we wrap up our comprehensive look at Fourth of July travel trends for 2024, it’s clear that this year’s holiday period will be one for the record books. Remember, the key to a successful Fourth of July trip lies in thorough preparation, smart timing, and leveraging all available resources to ensure a smooth and cost-effective journey.


For those still finalizing their travel plans or looking for ways to save on their Fourth of July getaway, consider exploring innovative travel solutions. One such option is OneAir, an AI-powered travel app that specializes in finding deeply discounted flights and hotel deals. 


With its ability to scan millions of airfares and hotel rates, OneAir could be a valuable tool for budget-conscious travelers looking to navigate this busy holiday period without breaking the bank. Whether you’re planning a quick domestic trip or an international adventure, OneAir can help you uncover savings and make your Independence Day travel more affordable and enjoyable.