SoCal Thanksgiving travel: Busiest times on the road, most popular destinations, record gas prices – KTLA

The Auto Club projects that 4.4 million Southern Californians will travel during the Thanksgiving holiday period this year.

The majority of Southland residents will travel by automobile — despite having to pay the highest gas prices ever for this time of year.

About 3.8 million Southern California travelers are expected to take a road trip, 494,000 will fly and another 79,000 will take another mode of transportation like a train, bus or cruise.

“This is gonna be the second busiest Thanksgiving travel volume on record,” Auto Club spokesman Doug Shupe told KTLA.

Busiest travel dates and times on the road

Wednesday afternoon and evening will be the busiest time for Southland freeways, according to AAA.

All outbound freeways are likely to be congested on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons before Thanksgiving.

But the southbound 5 Freeway, from Colorado Street to Florence Avenue, is expected to be the busiest local freeway segment for drivers. Traffic is projected to be 385% over normal levels on the afternoon and evening.

It will be among the 10 worst stretches of highway in the nation.

Peak congestion on the 5 Freeway is expected between 3:45 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. Wednesday.

Here are the best and worst times to hit the road this Thanksgiving holiday, according to INRIX:

Day Worst time to travel Best time to travel
Wednesday 12 p.m. – 8 p.m. After 9 p.m.
Thursday 12 p.m. – 3 p.m. Before 11 a.m.
Friday 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. Before 11 a.m.
Saturday 2 p.m. – 7 p.m. Before 12 p.m.
Sunday 1 p.m. – 7 p.m. Before 12 p.m.
Best and worst times to travel according to INRIX

Top travel destinations

Nationally, Anaheim is expected to be the second-most popular destination for Thanksgiving travelers after Orlando, Florida, AAA said.

For Southern Californians, the top five destinations are:

  • San Diego
  • Las Vegas
  • Grand Canyon
  • Yosemite
  • Santa Barbara/Central Coast

Record gas prices

Southern Californians will be paying the highest gas prices ever for this time of year.

Drivers in the Los Angeles and Long Beach area are now paying $4.71 on average for a gallon of gas.

“We have now hit the record, which was previously set back in October of 2012,” Shupe told KTLA.

AAA has an app that lets users find the cheapest gas prices near them. Their website can also help travelers find the average gas prices at their destinations and calculate the estimated gas cost for their Thanksgiving trip.

“It’s so important to shop around,” Shupe said. “Because, you know, here in Southern California, you don’t have to drive too far out of your way to find a station selling for less.”

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