Picnics have been planned, barbeques will be lit and the beaches will be swamped with red, white and blue for the country's Independence Day.
AAA, one of the nation's largest travel agencies, projects 42.3 million Americans will hit the road, traveling 50 miles or more from home between July 3 and July 8 for all the festivities.
Cool: Children play in the water fountains at Yards Park along the Anacostia River in SE Washington to cool off during the punishing heat gripping the Nation's capital
Hot Air: Wayne Matthew holds a rope as he helps a crew raising a hot air balloon shaped like the U.S. flag at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey
Power Hour: A group of kids jump into a quarry lake at the Beaver Dam Swimming Club in Cockeysville, Maryland, where they are without power
Last year, when the holiday fell on a Monday, 40.3 million people traveled. But before you think it's a big increase, note that AAA's economists changed how they estimated the number of travelers: They used a six-day period this year compared to five last year.
The typical traveler will spend $749 over six days, down from $807 over five days last year, according to an online survey of 344 people conducted for AAA. Another look at the holiday, by Visa Inc., shows that all Americans - whether traveling or not - will spend an average of $191 on July 4th activities, down from $216 last year. Visa surveyed 1,012 people by telephone.
The overwhelming majority of Independence Day travelers plan to drive: 35.5 million people or 84 percent of travelers according to AAA. As they do, they'll get a break at the pump.
Lower gas prices, at $3.33 a gallon nationwide compared with $3.55 a year ago, are a factor in the longer drives.
Despite economic concerns, 'What the survey indicates is that Americans have an appetite for travel...,' Cynthia Brough, a spokeswoman for the American Automobile Association, said.
Midwesterners will spend the most to celebrate the holiday, laying out an average of $211, while those in the Northeast will spending $40 less, the Visa survey found.
According to Jason Alderman, senior director of global financial education at Visa, the holiday is bigger in Midwestern cities and towns, while Northeastern cities have more concentrated gatherings and firework displays.
Patriotic: Ray Vento, of DeLand, Florida, cools off by drinking water while visiting the Lincoln Memorial to beat the punishing heat gripping Washington
No Reprieve: The core of the worst heat this Independence Day will be located over the central states
High Heat: Sabrina Hatch of Idaho practices her handstand underneath sprinklers at the Lincoln Memorial
Temperatures across the nation are expected to reach the high 90s Fahrenheit (32 Celsius) over the next several days, according to AccuWeather.com.
More than 1.4 million people from Illinois to Virginia remained without power Tuesday after the weekend's violent storms, and forecasts indicate that there’s little hope for any reprieve from Mother Nature.
Power companies said that the heat wave will keep some customers without power for the rest of the week, unable to turn on their air conditioners, surf the web or even turn on the lights.
‘This is the worst outage we've ever had,’ said Jeri Matheny, spokeswoman for Appalachia Power, which serves most of southern West Virginia, to CNN. ‘We'll end up rebuilding large pieces of an infrastructure system in five to seven days that took decades to build.’
Patriotism: The PNC American Flag balloon is put away after being raised in honor of America for Independence Day on the De Baun Athletic Complex