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Gas prices lowest in 7 years for travelers heading out for Thanksgiving

File photo: Customers gas up at the Mathews Drive Enmark station on Hilton Head earlier this year.
File photo: Customers gas up at the Mathews Drive Enmark station on Hilton Head earlier this year. Jay Karr

Drivers heading out of and into the area for Thanksgiving this year will likely save a few dollars at the pump, as gas prices are expected to be the lowest since 2008, according to a news release from AAA Carolinas.

Statewide, the average price for a gallon of gas is $1.88, down 71 cents from Thanksgiving in 2014, the release said. Prices in Beaufort County range between $1.88 and $1.96, according to price-monitoring site GasBuddy.

An estimated 660,000 South Carolinians are expected to travel 50 miles or more from home during Thanksgiving, about 90 percent of them by car.

But people won't just be leaving the Lowcountry; local hotels are reporting solid bookings through the holiday weekend.

Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa sales coordinator Lauren Taylor said the resort is up about 10 percent in holiday bookings from Thanksgiving in 2014. The resort is serving a Thanksgiving dinner in its Carolina Room and has a separate bar menu for a more non-traditional dinner, she said.

The Beaufort Inn on Port Republic Street only had a few rooms still left through next week, general manager Stacy Price said. Its bookings are about the same as last year, likely because the restaurant at the inn is closed for Thanksgiving this year.

Both Taylor and Price said their guests come from all over. Some are there to see family locally -- Price said the inn attracts many seeing family on Fripp Island -- and others to just get away.

Price said the inn is a popular spot for people to stop on their way back from seeing family around the holidays. A couple currently at the inn traveled from Rhode Island to Tampa and picked the inn to stay at on their return trip, she said.

On Hilton Head, preparations for the Community Thanksgiving feast at Hudson's Seafood House on the Docks have already begun, general manager Andrew Carmines said.

The restaurant expects to serve about 1,400 people and has over 350 volunteers signed up to help out.

Friday, the restaurant was preparing sweet potato souffles that will be served Thursday. Cooking the turkeys starts Tuesday, he said.

Follow reporter Matt McNab at twitter.com/IPBG_Matt.

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