By MADDY VITALE
Visitors to Ocean City over the holiday weekend relished the quieter beaches, but also the warm temps, free parking, discounts on merchandise from the Boardwalk to the downtown and taking their dogs on the beaches.
Monday meant biking the boards, lounging with books on the beaches and bringing their beloved family pets for the action.
Ocean City officials allow dogs on the beaches in the offseason, which officially began Oct. 1.
Melissa and Kyle Grube, of Easton, Pa., went to the Lima Bean Festival in Cape May, but also made it a point to head to Ocean City on the final day of their long Columbus Day weekend getaway with their 8-year-old beagle, Barklee.
“We were in Cape May today and stopped to get some pizza in Ocean City,” Kyle Grube noted.
“We always vacation here. We read that dogs were allowed on the beach, so we figured we would bring Barklee,” Melissa Grube said, adding that Barklee was tired out from her busy weekend. “You couldn’t ask for a nicer day.”
Dog lovers took advantage of being able to take their pups for walks on the beach.
Sarah Berkey and her boyfriend, Mike Dori, moved to Ocean City in May from Pottstown, Pa.
They sat on a jetty while Berkey was on a work break, taking in the waves and the mild temps, on the last day of lifeguard-protected beaches for the year.
“We love it. It is so warm. We’ve only been here 20 minutes. We couldn’t not go to the beach,” Berkey said with a smile.
“It is one of the last good weather weekends,” Dori added.
Berkey chimed in, “Hopefully, we will have another couple of really nice weekends.”
The couple was pleasantly surprised by all the activity in town throughout the weekend, including the blockbuster Fall Block Party in the downtown on Saturday.
“We were told it is so quiet in Ocean City after summer,” Berkey said, adding that the weekend was far from quiet.
The Boardwalk bustled. Although the beaches were not crowded, visitors set up spots to watch the surf and soak up the last likely days of warm temps under sun-splashed skies for a while.
Heather and Matt Parkinson, of Blackwood, N.J., brought their children, Robyn, 10, Aaron, 9, and 9-month-old daughter, Laurel, for a day on the boards.
“We always do day trips to Ocean City. Today we are getting in the last bits of ocean views and warm air,” Heather Parkinson said.
The children were off from school for Columbus Day, so the Parkinsons, along with Matt’s parents, Donna and Bill Parkinson, of Sewell, N.J., did all things fun in Ocean City on Monday.
“It’s so gorgeous today. We walked the boards and did some shopping. And a lot of eating,” Donna Parkinson said with a laugh.
Robyn, a fifth grader, said she liked walking around and eating ice cream.
Her brother, Aaron, who is in third grade, said he enjoyed the walk along the shore.
“I found some sea glass,” he said.
When it came to the big decision of where to eat, or what to eat, the family kept it simple.
The family ate caramel corn, Italian ice and ice cream.
“They said we could eat lunch, or just get junk food. We got junk,” Bill Parkinson said with a smile, as he spooned out some of his Italian ice.