Nearly 35 million Americans plan to hit the road this Labor Day, according to the American Automobile Association, the highest volume for the holiday since 2008.
But Sunday and Monday are still expected to feel a little muggy, and there’s a slight chance of precipitation.
“It will be hot in those mid- to upper 80s, about 87, 88 degrees on Labor Day,” Channel 2 meteorologist Karen Minton said Wednesday morning. “We’ll still be partly cloudy. Still humid, but (the) rain chance is only about 20 percent.”
» For a detailed forecast, visit The Atlanta Journal-Constitution weather page.
The holiday period, which runs from Thursday, Aug. 28 through Monday, Sept. 1, calls for road trips, end-of-summer showdowns and some good ‘ol traffic congestion.
The AAA predicts auto travel will increase by 1.4 percent this year, amounting to nearly 30 million travelers on the roads.
But while traffic may put a damper on the day, consumers will be happy to know that August gas prices are at their lowest since 2010. Compared to last year’s gas price average of $3.59, current prices average $3.44.
Worst times to travel
The folks behind safe driving app Drivemode analyzed the worst pre-holiday weekend traffic in the largest U.S. metros based on more than 756,000 anonymized Android users.
As Atlantans head out for Labor Day weekend, Drivemode warns “leaving after lunch (2pm-4pm) was the slowest drive in Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia, Riverside, Tampa, and Miami” on Thursday, and on Friday, try to avoid the post-8 p.m. jam.
According to the study, it’ll take you approximately 4.31 minutes to drive one mile during Atlanta’s slowest Thursday hour (2-3 p.m.) and 5.83 minutes during the slowest Friday hour (9-10 p.m.)
Sound brutal? At least you’re not in Boston, where drivers can expect to spend more than seven minutes to drive just one mile between 5-6 p.m. Thursday.
More times to avoid, according to Waze 2016 data:
- Wednesday: 1-3 p.m.
- Thursday: 1-3 p.m.
- Friday: 12-2 p.m.
- Saturday: 9-11 a.m.
- Sunday: 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
- Monday: 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
- Tuesday: 1-3 p.m.
Crowds to keep in mind during Labor Day weekend in Atlanta:
- DragonCon, the largest sci-fi/fantasy convention will be in full swing Aug. 30-Sept. 3 at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta. The parade is set for Saturday and kicks off at 10 a.m. on Peachtree Street in downtown Atlanta.
- The popular AJC Decatur Book Festival will take place Aug. 31-Sept. 2 in downtown Decatur Square. More than 300 authors, illustrators and tens of thousands of readers get together for the three-day event each year.
- Atlanta Black Pride Weekend kicks off Aug. 29, one of the largest Black Gay Pride events in the world. Piedmont Park’s Pure Heat Community Festival, from noon to 8 p.m. Sunday, is likely to drive large crowds.
Where’s everyone headed?
Researchers with navigation app Waze, who compared user data on 2017 Labor Day trends, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the country saw a 215 percent spike in navigations to scenic lookout points last year, a 76 percent increase to ice cream shops and a nearly 70 percent increase in navigations to parks and theme parks.
Atlantans may flock to Anna Ruby Falls, Brasstown Bald, Providence Canyon or Stone Mountain for some beautiful lookouts, and we can’t begin to guess which of the delicious ice cream shops will garner the most attention, but our bet’s on this year’s AJC Best of Atlanta winner, Berens Frozen Custard, or the runner-up, Butter & Cream Ice Cream.
To celebrate the end of summer, you may be considering heading to one of Georgia’s lush parks, such as the ever-popular Piedmont Park, Elberton’s Russell State Park or the state’s other breathtaking camping sites.
As for theme parks, if you haven’t caught a ride on Six Flags Over Georgia’s new Twisted Cyclone roller coaster, that might make for an ideal end-of-summer holiday bash.
More Labor Day coverage from The AJC:
- Your complete guide to Labor Day weekend in Atlanta
- Labor Day 2018 deals and sales from Macy's, Walmart, Best Buy and more
- How to spend an active Labor Day weekend at Georgia’s state parks
- How to survive Dragon Con 2018
- 9 nerdtastic Dragon Con 2018 parties to attend this Labor Day weekend
- What not to miss Sunday at 2018 AJC Decatur Book Festival
- 5 things to do in Helen over Labor Day weekend
- 5 things to do in Augusta this Labor Day weekend
- 10 often-overlooked beaches near Atlanta
- 5 cool downtowns near Atlanta worth exploring