By MADDY VITALE
Crowds of tourists and residents took to the beaches, Boardwalk and the ocean in Ocean City to cool off and escape the heat wave on Tuesday.
Families decided to take in the ocean breezes and forego the air-conditioned indoors to enjoy a day of amusements, surf and sun.
Whether on weeklong vacations, slipping out of work for a day of relaxation away from the city, or just taking a stroll a few blocks from home, people were fleeing the heat. City parking lots were full, the beaches were packed and the Boardwalk was alive with activity.
As the temperatures hit the 90s, beachgoers and Boardwalk strollers found ways to keep cool.
Amber Hurley, 43, took her daughter, Lexi Nicoterra, 22, and her best friend, Ashley Furness, 21, all from Washington Township in Gloucester County, for a day trip to their favorite shore town.
“The breeze is just so nice. Yesterday was so oppressive,” Hurley noted, as the three lounged on beach chairs at the 7th Street beach.
“Honestly, we come down as often as we can,” noted Nicoterra. “Right now it is 95 at home, with no breeze.”
Furness, Nicoterra’s best friend, chimed in, “We rather be here in a heat wave than anywhere else.”
Beach umbrellas dotted the landscape at the Ninth Street beach and, actually, throughout the city’s beaches.
While most people wanted to splash in the surf, spread out on beach towels and chairs, they also wanted to escape the glaring sun and get a bit of shade, too.
Then there were families who left the beach early and went up to the boards to check out the amusements and get some tasty Boardwalk treats.
Gary and Jess Stevens, who live in the suburbs of Philadelphia, and their children, Henry, 5, and 2-year-old Ryan, were spending their weeklong vacation doing everything they do each year on their family trips to Ocean City.
“We did some biking and have been to the beach for the last few days. We had pizza,” Jess said, while chuckling at Ryan’s commentary while atop her shoulders. “We are getting some of the Boardwalk staples today.”
Gary pointed out a favorite among the family.
“We love crab fries,” he said.
Gary added that Ocean City is so family-friendly. It is the ideal vacation retreat for his family, he said.
“I’ve been coming here since I was born,” Gary pointed out. “It is just a great place for families.”
Jess said the couple couldn’t have picked a better place to go and at the right time.
“It’s great to be near the ocean,” Jess said. “You get the ocean breezes.”
Carmen and Keith High, of Bloomsburg, Pa., their son, Brandon, and his girlfriend, Lauren Lincks, had the right idea when it came to cooling off.
They took a brief break from their beach outing to head up to the Boardwalk for some water ice.
“We have been coming to Ocean City since before the kids were born,” Carmen said. “For us, it is more than a vacation spot. It is a home away from home.”
The Ocean City tradition began for Keith when he was growing up in Philadelphia.
“When I was young, my parents lived in Philly and we would come down to Ocean City,” he explained
Brandon said he can remember visiting Ocean City every summer since he was little.
“The kids used to bring their friends, now they bring their girlfriends,” Keith added.
And when it came to the steamy temperatures, Keith said the family found the remedy.
“The breezes are awesome,” he said. “We are all set up down at the beach. It is really nice.”