SAYREVILLE, NJ (CBSNewYork) – It’s the Fourth of July weekend, but some are kicking it off at the end of June.

By early Thursday evening, the mad dash toward holiday destinations was on.

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At the Cheesequake Service Area on the New Jersey Turnpike, 1010 WINS’ Al Jones caught up with some travelers hoping to beat Friday’s traffic mayhem.

“We’re hoping to beat the traffic and get to the beach before everybody else does,” said “Angie,” from Middletown, New York.

1010 WINS’ Al Jones Speaks With Travelers At The Cheesequake Service Area

However, the New Jersey Turnpike Authority calculated that Thursday was the real getaway day for the 4th of July weekend.  It’s estimated that 1.6 million cars will be on the Garden State Parkway Thursday, which is slightly fewer than what was expected Friday.

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The lure of lighter traffic, great weather and falling gas prices encouraged people like “Angie” to get away early.

“It’s the first time we’ve gotten away on the Fourth of July in a while, so we’re hoping that the weather is awesome,” she said.