Before the Fourth of July holiday weekend, we predicted that around 36.8 million Americans would hit the road to celebrate Independence day, bringing us down 11% from the same weekend last year. Data from the weekend is here, and it turns out travel over the Fourth of July weekend was even busier than initially predicted. Actual Independence Day travel was down just 9% from last year, not too far off from our initial prediction.
Mount Rushmore was among the top destinations over the weekend. Using our unique mobile-GPS data, we saw visitation to the national monument increased from than 24% compared to last year. A speech by President Trump and the first fireworks celebration in nearly a decade contributed to the area’s draw. Visitors came from a closer proximity this year, however, the average distance this year being 390 miles versus 629 miles in 2019 (a decrease of 38 percent).
Travel trends were not uniform across the country. Road Trip travel activity varied between different origin markets across the nation. Resident travel from states where COVID-19 cases are increasing, for example, was down 10 percent below the national average. By comparison, states with low or decreasing COVID-19 cases almost doubled the level of travel activity in those areas compared to Memorial Day weekend earlier this year.
“There were some indications that travelers are choosing destinations in areas with fewer COVID-19 cases over destinations where cases are increasing,” said Arrivalist Founder and CEO, Cree Lawson. “Montana, for example, had one of the biggest spikes in visitation over the Fourth of July weekend. That state also leads the country with the fewest reported cases per 100,000 residents.”
In comparing Memorial Day weekend (May 22-25) to the Fourth of July holiday (July 1-4), the following five states recorded the highest increase in road trips:
Whereas the following five state residents ranked at the bottom of the list:
“There has definitely been a shift in travel activity over the last few weeks,” said Lawson. “While we saw a surge in road trips from the Southern region during Mother’s Day weekend, we saw a surge in road trips in New England and eastern states over Independence Day. This may be due to COVID-19’s impact in southern and western states.”