Vacation trend: Forget traveling

John Garcia says he isn’t planning to visit his sister in San Diego this summer.

The San Francisco resident said he doesn’t think his family will make it farther than Marin County this year.

“We’ve decided to split rent with friends on a vacation home at Stinson Beach,” the 31-year-old supermarket manager said. “I feel bad about not seeing [my sister], but we can’t afford it right now.”

With gas inching closer to $5 per gallon, many Bay Area residents say they are becoming stay-at-home tourists for the summer season. “Staycation,” as it’s being called, has become some locals’ way of getting away from it all — without getting away at all.

Mike Peyzner, 29, a San Mateo photographer, agrees with Garcia. He said he and a group of friends recently rented a space in Bodega Bay.

“You get to spend time with the people who are important to you and you don’t have to go far,” Peyz-ner said.

Vacationing closer to home has become the new trend, analysts say. More than 4.6 million Californians were expected to travel 50 miles or more during the recent Memorial Day weekend, a slight decrease from 2007, according to the AAA of Northern California. There hadn’t been a decrease in Memorial Day travel since 2002, AAA said.

“And chances are we are going to see less people traveling this Fourth of July,” AAA spokeswoman Cynthia Harris said.

Most analysts say gas prices will likely not surpass $5 per gallon this summer, and some speculate the prices will stabilize. But the average price per gallon of unleaded fuel in San Francisco rose to $4.43 on Monday, AAA reported.

To save on gas costs, Bay Area residents are finding new ways to save money, Harris said.

“There are all sorts of ways people have ingeniously found to spend less money,” Harris said.

And why not? The Bay Area is already a major tourist epicenter packed with thousands of summertime activities and getaways, said Angela Jackson with the San Francisco Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. Local museums, for example, are one way locals can feel like they didn’t have to skip out on that European vacation.

“They don’t have to go to Paris, or New York … they can see all these exhibits all at once this summer,” Jackson said.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

‘Staycation’ destinations

How to enjoy culture from around the world in San Francisco this summer, as recommended by the San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau.

» San Francisco CityPass: The vacation itinerary offers the Muni Passport, valid for seven consecutive days on all Muni vehicles, and tickets for the de Young Museum, the Legion of Honor, Blue & Gold Fleet Bay Cruise Adventure, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Aquarium of the Bay at Pier 39.

» Contemporary Jewish Museum in S.F.

» Frida Kahlo at the S.F. Museum of Modern Art; June 14-Sept. 28

» Power & Glory: Court Arts of China’s Ming Dynasty, at the Asian Art Museum; June 27-Sept. 21

» Filoli Center in Woodside

» Hiller Aviation Museum in San Carlos

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