The unofficial start of summer is finally upon the Philadelphia area.
Whether you’re spending it with family down the Shore, with friends in the Poconos, or just kicking it around the backyard, we have need-to-know info for travelers and stay-cationers alike.
Prices at the pump may mean you’ll have to tighten those purse strings elsewhere, while chances of thunderstorms through the weekend could mean a change of plans.
Not sure what those plans are yet? We have you covered, with suggestions of plenty of indoor and outdoor activities for the holiday weekend. Here’s everything you need to know ahead of time.
How much should I expect to pay for gas?
Gas prices this Memorial Day weekend will be the highest they’ve been since 2014, according to AAA.
The national average for a gallon of gas as of Thursday was $2.96 — though, that’s not the $3.66 the country was seeing just four years ago. But the average last year was just $2.37.
If you’re keeping your travel local, you might be better off crossing the Ben Franklin Bridge before filling up your tank. Pennsylvania’s gas average as of Thursday was $3.12, while the Philly region’s was $3.14. South Jersey’s average came in at $2.95.
Have time to shop around before hitting the road? AAA has a handy fuel-finder for motorists who want to compare gas prices around the region.
How bad will traffic be?
Buckle in and expect some congestion, folks. Nearly 2.3 million motorists — that’s more than the entire population of New Mexico — are expected to take the Pennsylvania Turnpike over the long holiday weekend, according to the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.
Friday afternoon and Monday evening will be the worst times to hit the road, according to the Turnpike. Maintenance and construction work will be suspended, making all available lanes open for motorists, through 11 p.m. Monday.
“Before you head out on your road trip, plan accordingly and be aware that extra cars mean more traffic and perhaps more accidents,” Turnpike CEO Mark Compton said in a statement. “Put your phone down. Slow down. Pay careful attention and take regular breaks.”
More than 1,300 speeding citations were issued on the Turnpike last Memorial Day weekend.
In honor of the nation’s veterans, Chickie’s & Pete’s will be footing the bill for motorists traveling through the Egg Harbor Toll Plaza on the Atlantic City Expressway between 5 and 6 p.m. Friday. It’s the fifth year in a row the business has sponsored the “Free Toll Friday” to start Memorial Day weekend.
AAA predicts that more than 430,000 motorists in the Philadelphia area will contribute to holiday-weekend traffic. The organization also expects to respond to calls for help from nearly 7,000 area motorists during the holiday travel period.
Should I expect changes in SEPTA’s schedules?
Bus, train and trolleys will run on a Sunday schedule on Monday. SEPTA also has a guide on its blog detailing the best ways to get to Memorial Day weekend events around Philly using public transportation.
Be sure to check out SEPTA’s website for any transit updates.
What’s the weather looking like?
It’s looking a bit dicey for both Philly and Jersey Shore, so pack an umbrella and keep tabs on the local forecasts wherever you’re heading.
High temperatures between Friday and Monday will range from the low to high 80s, with overnight lows in the 60s. Thunderstorms are possible Saturday, Sunday and Monday, too, according to the National Weather Service.
What should I do in Philly?
Good question. The Inquirer and Daily News’ arts and entertainment team has put together a jam-packed weekend guide that includes fireworks, festivals, concerts, the Devon Horse Show and more. There are indoor activities listed too, in case those storms come rumbling through.
What should I do at the Shore?
You’re in luck — we also have a guide on Memorial Day events happening at the Jersey Shore. There’s a kite festival, Kevin Hart, music and more.
Looking for even more Shore tips, like the best of the restaurant scene and what boutiques to check out? Here’s our 2018 Shore Guide.