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These are the best, and worst, times to drive to the Jersey Shore for Memorial Day weekend




Thursday marks the first day of Memorial Day weekend travel with millions gearing up for their getaways.

In and around New Jersey, thousands of people are preparing to drive to the Jersey Shore which typically comes with plenty of time sitting in traffic, especially during a holiday weekend.

Here is everything you need to know about Memorial Day travel this year including the best times to embark on your journey down the shore.

Record number of road trips expected

Road trips are projected to set a record, according to AAA which expects that 38.4 million people will be traveling by car over Memorial Day weekend.

In total, 43.8 million travelers are projected to go 50 miles or more from their home over the holiday weekend.

This number of road trippers is up 4% compared to 2023 and 1.9% compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2019. It is also the highest number for the holiday since AAA started tracking in 2000.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is expecting 4.2 million travelers to use its bridges and tunnels during the holiday period, a number consistent with the same period in 2023, according to a PANYNJ press release. In order to accommodate the expected volume, repairs and construction projects at all crossings will be suspended from 5 a.m. on Friday until 5 a.m. on Tuesday.

The best times to drive on Memorial Day weekend

Drivers who plan on traveling on Thursday or Friday are advised to hit the road early in order to avoid mixing with commuters, according to INRIX, a provider of transportation data and insights.

If you plan on heading home Sunday or Monday, INRIX recommends that you avoid afternoon hours when return trips will peak.

These are the best and worst times to travel by car throughout the holiday weekend, per AAA and INRIX.

  • Thursday, May 23: Best time to travel is before 11 a.m. and after 7 p.m.; Worst time to travel is between 12 p.m. and 6 p.m.
  • Friday, May 24: Best time to travel is before 11 a.m. and after 8 p.m.; Worst time to travel is between 12 p.m. and 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 25: Best time to travel is before 1 p.m. and after 6 p.m.; Worst time to travel is between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.
  • Sunday, May 26: Best time to travel is before 1 p.m.; Worst time to travel is between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.
  • Monday, May 27: Best time to travel is after 7 p.m.; Worst time to travel is between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.

“Travel times are expected to be up to 90% longer than normal,” said Bob Pishue, transportation analyst at INRIX. “Travelers should stay up to date on traffic apps, 511 services, and local news stations to avoid sitting in traffic longer than necessary.”

Air travel Memorial Day weekend

According to AAA, airports are also bracing for a spike in travel with an expected 3.51 million air travelers during the holiday weekend. This number is a 4.8% increase from last year and a 9% increase from pre-pandemic levels in 2019 marking the most crowded Memorial Day weekend for airports since 2005.

The Port Authority is expecting nearly 2.2 million passengers to travel through Newark Airport, John F. Kennedy International, LaGuardia and New York-Stewart International airport between Thursday and Tuesday, according to a press release from PANYNJ.

Travelers are encouraged to plan ahead and allow for additional travel times. PANYNJ recommends that passengers on domestic flights arrive at least two hours in advance of their departure time and passengers on international flights arrive at least three hours in advance.

You can check out the Port Authority’s air travel tips for tips and tricks as well as information regarding TSA security lines, parking lot availability and more. Travel tips can be found at

PATH advisory

The Port Authority also released a PATH advisory stating that on Memorial Day, Monday, May 27, trains will operate on a Saturday schedule. For further information about the PATH schedule, you can download the mobile app RidePath or visit

AAA is anticipating that nearly 2 million people will travel by buses, cruises, and trains. These modes of transportation got hit the hardest during the pandemic and, with this holiday weekend, have finally made it back to pre-pandemic numbers.

“We haven’t seen Memorial Day weekend travel numbers like these in almost 20 years,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president of AAA Travel. “We’re projecting an additional one million travelers this holiday weekend compared to 2019, which not only means we’re exceeding pre-pandemic levels but also signals a very busy summer travel season ahead.”

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