EMERALD ISLE, NC (WITN) The countdown to Memorial Day weekend is on and millions of North Carolinians will be packing up and heading out to enjoy the unofficial start to the summer season.
But be prepared to pay a bit more at the pumps to get to your holiday destination.
Gas prices are expected to be higher than they have been for the Memorial Day weekend since 2014. Despite this, a record number of people are still expected to head to places like the beach.
Prices at the pump are averaging $2.73 per gallon for our state, which is a 52 cent increase compared to Memorial Day weekend last year.
But travel experts say Carolinians will be shelling out the money to enjoy the holiday weekend. A record number of people are expected to travel and the majority will be hitting the highways.
Triple-A of the Carolina's says nearly 2 million people from the Carolina's will be spending the holiday somewhere else. That's the highest number of travelers since Memorial Day of 2005.
Beach destinations like Emerald Isle are already getting ready for the unofficial start to the busy summer season.
Emerald Isle Town Manager Frank Rush says, "I think everyone is gearing up for a big weekend and it's a great start to the summer. We've already had a lot of folks in town on the weekend, so it's good to see people coming down and enjoying Emerald Isle. I think we're all optimistic about a great summer here and hopefully, everyone will have a great time."
Gas prices are expected to continue to rise as we get closer to the start of the Memorial Day holiday, which officially runs from Thursday, May 24th through Monday, May 28th.