Southern California residents begin holiday weekend getaways for Fourth of July

Travel experts predict 3.3 million Southern California residents will travel for the Fourth of July weekend with travel volume inching closer to pre-pandemic levels.

The top-5 destinations according to AAA are Las Vegas, San Diego, Zion/Bryce Canyon National Parks, Grand Canyon National Park and Yosemite National Park.

FOX 11 spoke with people who are spending their weekend at Dockweiler State Beach.

"I'm very excited, especially after being locked up for so long. We were not locked up, but just going out with your family and pets is nice. We haven't seen family. I haven't seen my friends in a while and you're not able to visit people as often as you did before so now being able to do this, it's just been great," said Frank Ramos, who was with his family. 

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Connie Trajni is also spending the holiday at the state beach along with family members who came from the East Coast.

"This year is that much better because last year we were all inside. This is what it's about, what Fourth of July is about," said Trajni. 

The family planned the trip three months in advance. 

"It's so hard to get a spot because they are still at 50% capacity. We haven't seen people in almost 2 years, with COVID, so it's so nice to get together, be together without masks. We're all vaccinated," said Kyle Lane.

The estimated number of people traveling is up roughly 46% from last year's pandemic-impacted Independence Day weekend and just 5.6% below the pre-pandemic holiday in 2019. Of those who are traveling, 2.8 million, or roughly 86%, are expected to travel by car, with 13% flying and the rest relying on some other means of transportation.