It looks like more people are planning Labor Day camping trips this year than in 2011, said Roy Stearns, spokesman for the California State Parks.
By Monday, 22,000 nights had been booked at state park facilities and 3,000 more could be added by Friday, he said. A year ago there were 22,734 bookings over the Labor Day weekend, he said.
“That’s delightful,” Stearns told the Contra Costa Times. “Lots of people are using the assortment of state parks, and we couldn’t be happier.”
He hasn’t yet come up with a reason for the increase in park use this Labor Day.
“Maybe there is a desire to get out one more time with the kids or maybe they just really need some time off to get away from the office before winter sets in and get in one more stay at the beach or a campground.”
As is typical with a three-day vacation, most travelers will get to their destination by car even though the price of gasoline has increased 32 cents a gallon in the past month.
More than 1.85 million Southern Californians are expected to drive to their destinations, an increase of 3.6 percent over 1.79 million who traveled by car last year, the Automobile Club of Southern California said.
On Wednesday the price of a gallon of regular gasoline in the Los Angeles metro area cost $4.154, up from $4.119 a week ago and $3.832 a month ago, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge report compiled daily by the Oil Price Information Service.
Gasoline prices spiked earlier this month after a fire at a Chevron refinery in Richmond.
“Although gas prices are expected to be higher this holiday weekend than during other Labor Day weekends, we anticipate this to have very little impact on holiday travel, because most people have planned their trips and made reservations before the dramatic rise in gas prices,” Filomena Andre, the club’s vice president for travel products and services, said in a statement.
“And fuel costs typically represent a fairly small percentage of the overall trip budget.”
Southern Californians will celebrate summer’s last gasp with a bit more gusto this Labor Day weekend than last year and help boost tourism to a record level for the second consecutive year, officials said Wednesday.
About 2.35 million people in the five-county region are expected to visit beaches, parks and other attractions over the three-day Labor Day weekend, up 3.4 percent from 2.28 million in 2011, said the auto club.
Last year, Labor Day travel in the region fell 4.4 percent from 2.38 million in 2010.
More than 33 million Americans are projected to travel at least 50 miles away from home during the holiday period between today and Monday.