SAUGATUCK, Mich. (WOOD) — Record-high gas prices won’t keep everyone from hitting the roads this Memorial Day weekend as the AAA expects over a million people to travel for a road trip.
“Folks are ready to travel and they are more comfortable traveling and even despite the higher gas prices and inflationary issues that we are seeing, we are seeing that people want to take their trips,” Adrienne Woodland, spokesperson for AAA, said. “They may travel shorter distances, stay in a less expensive hotel, spend less on shopping, dining and entertainment on their trip.”
The average price for regular unleaded gas across the Grand Rapids area is $4.52 per gallon. The previous record dates back to 2008 when gas was $4.11 per gallon.
“We are actually going to go down as the record high gas prices for Memorial Day weekend ever in Michigan,” Woodland said. “Although prices have declined in certain areas slightly over the last few days, we are still going to be setting records for gas prices this weekend.”
The AAA suggests travelers leave early and pack snacks to reduce unnecessary food costs. They estimate the busiest travel times on Friday are between noon and 7 p.m.
Lakeshore cities like Saugatuck are preparing to host large crowds this weekend. Executive Director of Saugatuck Douglas Area Convention and Visitors Bureau Lisa Mize said the holiday is the official start to summer for the town.
Many people have come to the center throughout the week picking up information about what there is to see and do in the area.
From the scenic hiking trails to the Saugatuck Dunes Park and Oval Beach, there are plenty of activities for guests to get involved in, whether you are in or around downtown.
“If you’re not into the scene you can always go to downtown Saugatuck-Douglas. There are so many different art galleries to shop through and different boutiques all offering really cool items,” Mize said. “In addition to that, Saugatuck, Douglas and Fennville are becoming known as a foodie haven. There are so many wonderful restaurants where the chefs are offering farm-to-table type meals.”
Whether you’re traveling to the lakeshore or anyone else across the country, she hopes travelers will offer some grace to those working this busy weekend.
“The whole country is short staffed right now. I think it’s important for guests to remember that they need to bring their patience with them if you’re waiting for a table or for an excursion,” Mize said.
Police encourage drivers to stay alert, buckle up and avoid distractions on the roadways.