The Crystal Coast Tourism Authority says gas prices are actually drawing drivers to the beach, and thousands are expected this holiday weekend.
Gas prices peaked earlier this month at almost $4.00 a gallon. The average gas price now in North Carolina is $3.73 a gallon. That's $1.00 more than last year, but 12 cents less than the peak in May. AAA estimates 865,000 North Carolina drivers will hit the road this weekend, which is 3% more than last Memorial Day.
However, most trips will be short ones. Many people plan to stay close to home and head to local beaches- including the Crystal Coast. Some hotels were close to being booked Thursday, while restaurants scheduled more staff for the upcoming holiday. Crystal Coast beaches have easy road access for many nearby states, making it a popular destination for a weekend getaway.
"We are basically a drive destination and people come from anywhere from 2 to 6 hours away." said Crystal Coast Tourism Authority Elizabeth Barrow.