OCEAN CITY, N.J. (CBS) -- Many families are expected to travel to the Jersey Shore for the Fourth of July holiday weekend. AAA estimates about 48 million people will be traveling more than 50 miles during the holiday weekend.
"Crazy, the beach is packed," Gigi Carroll said. "I have never seen so many people on the beach because we, as I said, we came last year, the year before was different."
"I love it," Anna Alusi, who was visiting from Idaho, said. "A little bit more humid than Idaho. But absolutely love it. The smell of the ocean. The feel of the ocean. Everybody's so active."
This is the first summer since the start of the pandemic with no widespread COVID-19 restrictions.
Despite record-high gas prices, beachgoers and businesses estimated the crowds they saw Friday appear to be similar to pre-pandemic levels.
"I gave up other things just to make it to Ocean City. It was worth it," Denise Rothenberg said. "Thank goodness everybody's back to work, and everything looks a little bit more normal, and we're grateful to be in the USA."
Garfield Simms and his daughter, Selah, came to Ocean City from the Bay Area in California.
"We live on the West Coast and see who has a nicer beach," Garfield Simms said. "We're going to give our thumbs up to the Atlantic."
Manco and Manco Pizza general manager Tom Rossi expects this weekend to be the start of one of their busiest summers since the start of the pandemic.
"It makes me feel great," Rossi said. "We love seeing the customers. We love having them in here and giving them the best pizza they can have."
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