A hot start to the summer season at the Shore

The calendar said May, but at the Jersey Shore this weekend it almost felt like July.

Baking hot weather in the Philadelphia region, paired with a warm ocean and milder weather at the beaches, kept folks at resorts longer than usual this Memorial Day.

In Avalon, Beach Patrol Lieutenant Matthew Wolf said people are packing the beaches:

“This is the first year in Avalon that we were selling beach tags on Memorial Day weekend. We made close to $30,000 on Saturday, which is more than we ever made in a single day. It was certainly one of the busiest days we’ve had on the beach ever.”

Ocean temperatures, nearly 70 degrees, were unusually warm for this time of year, Wolf said, which he’s sure added to the crowds.

Some might call this a “chamber of commerce” kind of weekend, given the postcard-perfect beach weather.

Talk to someone who really does head a Shore chamber of commerce, such as Michelle Gillian of Ocean City, N.J., and you’ll get nothing but smiles. Gillian said the holiday scene in her town looks more like the Fourth of July, instead of Memorial Day:

“There’s bumper-to-bumper traffic; our parking lots are full; our beaches are full. People are riding their bikes; they are walking the boardwalk; they are boating on the bay. They are really enjoying outdoor activity that they haven’t enjoyed for many, many months.”

Gillian said a strong start to the summer season is great for shore businesses that have only a few weeks to make their money.

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