Folks vacationing close this summer

Thursday night is the start to the long Independence Day holiday weekend. And folks are already hitting the highways.

But thanks to the rising gas prices across the country, experts say most of the travelers on the road won't be going more than 50 to one hundred miles for their holiday fun.

We caught up with some folks at a local gas station to find out what their holiday holds.

Do you plan to go out of town this weekend?

Driver Roger Zumwalt said, "No, because of the gas prices and I can't afford it."

Most travelers we talked to say they're making alternate plans this year, as opposed to leaving on a long road trip.

Many are choosing vacation spots closer to home.

High gas prices have some families heading out on vacations and day trips closer to home. And looking at the rising numbers of fun-seekers here these days, they're finding their way here to the Landing Waterpark at Mark Twain Lake.

Steve Lindsey is the manager here at the Landing.

Why do you think folks are staying closer to home?

Lindsey said, "Mainly the gas prices. It's hard to take one hundred to two hundred dollars out of your budget and have a vacation when you've spent twenty-five percent of your budget for gas. So folks have to cut corners somewhere so they're staying close."

Lindsey says the beauty of staying close is your money stays here in the local economy.

Another sign of folks not letting high gas prices get in the way of their fun is right here in the Landing's RV park. Officials here say they've noticed an increase in the number of seasonal campers. Those are folks who park their RV here over the winter and camp during the summer. Those numbers have gone up 33 percent in the last year.

Troy resident John Giannakis is one of them. He and his family say seasonal is the way to go.

Giannakis said, "At first it was easier to do than take our camper all the way back to Troy, Missouri. Now with gas prices, it's very economical."

So while many feel they have to forgo fun this summer, take it from this family. Vacationing close to home is a *picnic* when you can save some green.

The Landing did see a small reduction in business at times during the flooding. Manager Steve Lindsey says many folks passed over summer time activities to help sandbag.The Landing hopes to honor sandbaggers on July 16th and the 23rd. Those days all folks who sandbagged are invited to enjoy The Landing for half price.