Travelers express how the lower gas prices are affecting their travel including this Fourth of July holiday weekend. (Karl Merton Ferron, Baltimore Sun video)

Nearly 1 million Marylanders are expected to travel for the Fourth of July next week, up nearly 6 percent from last year.

The 993,000 people going to the beach and other start-of-summer vacation spots represents the biggest year-over-year jump since 2010, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic. The increase despite high gas prices and the holiday travel period — Tuesday to Sunday — being a day shorter than last year’s.


It’s the third consecutive Independence Day that the auto club has projected travel volumes of more than 900,000 in Maryland.

“Since the 2017 year-end holidays, we have seen a trend in record-breaking holiday travel volume by Marylanders, despite gas prices higher than the previous year’s holiday,” said Ragina Cooper Averella, a AAA Mid-Atlantic spokeswoman.

Drivers in the Baltimore region spend an average of just over 30 minutes commuting each way — the eighth-longest in the country, according to 2017 U.S. Census data. The average commute time is longer than in notoriously traffic-heavy Los Angeles and only a few minutes shorter than in New York.

A record 862,900 of those leaving town — 87 percent — are expected to drive to their destinations.Gas prices in Maryland have been trending down since Memorial Day weekend, but they remain a whopping 20 percent to 28 percent higher than last Fourth of July.

The average gallon of regular, unleaded gas in Maryland cost $2.79 as of Thursday, the auto club said.

Possibly buoyed by low airfare costs, another 75,000 are expected to fly, an increase of more than 7 percent from last year and the most since 2001, AAA said.

Plane tickets are an average of nine percent lower than last Independence Day and the lowest for the holiday in five years.

Some of the best vantage points for watching Baltimore's Inner Harbor fireworks on July 4.

More than 55,000 are expected to take trains, buses or cruises to their Fourth of July destinations, AAA said. That’s also a record, and a 5.5 percent increase from last year.

It should be a good beach week, weather-wise. Early National Weather Service forecasts call for sun and temperatures in the 80s for the beginning of the week, and mostly sunny with a chance of thunderstorms on the Fourth.