VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – With travel numbers up, this summer at the Oceanfront is sure to make a splash.
Thursday, many out-of-towners hit the beach, the boardwalk and everything in between.
“We’ve been going to restaurants, and we went to the beach a couple times, and we got snow cones,” said 8-year-old Juhi Narayana, who is visiting with her family from Baltimore, Maryland.
The Fourth of July holiday brought in some big crowds.
“The Fourth of July was packed,” said Maria Stone, who is visiting from New Castle, Pennsylvania. “There was nowhere on the beach to sit. We’ve never seen so many people on the beach.”
For many restaurants, the holiday also brought in some big money. The Fourth of July and the days following are a big economic driver for businesses.
“The Fourth of July was very busy,” said Yolanda Wiggs, a chef at Lager Heads. “We had extra staff.”
Management at Lager Heads said sales were about the same as last year.
But over at Tortugas, the food and beverage director said their sales dipped by about $3,500 compared to last Fourth of July, which fell on a weekend.
Some visitors are surprised to see the throngs of people thin out Thursday.
“It’s been pretty quiet this week, because we came after the holiday,” said Nitin Narayana, who is visiting with his family from Baltimore, Maryland.
Wiggs said the crowds are expected to grow again this weekend.
“Today’s a little slower but it’s going to pick up,” she said. “It’s going to be very busy this weekend.”
Friends Michal Labudek and Maria Stone are visiting Virginia Beach for the first time. They drove in from New Castle, Pennsylvania on Sunday after flight delays, and cancellations threw a wrench in their original plans.
“We were originally supposed to go to Key West, Florida, but our flight was canceled, so we left the airport and drove here, seven or eight hours, and we were not expecting it to be as fun as it was,” Labudek said.
“We were determined to have a vacation,” she said.
The GM for the Hilton said they were completely booked last weekend and only have a few rooms left this weekend.