By MADDY VITALE
Visitors to Ocean City knew how to beat the heat when temps and humidity climbed on Labor Day, the traditional end of summer. They splashed in the surf, lounged on the beaches under big umbrellas and strolled along the boards, stopping for icy drinks and ice cream to keep cool.
For some, it was just a beautiful Monday with sun-splashed skies and warm temps. For others, it was a day before reality hit and it is back to school and work.
Jack and Melanie Daniels, of Philadelphia, brought their 14-month-old daughter, Emma, to the resort to enjoy the holiday.
It’s a longtime family tradition for Jack. He is 35 and came to the resort with his parents, who had a vacation home in Ocean City for years, “since he can remember.”
“We come every year for the nostalgia of it,” he said. “We always have a good time.”
Melanie noted while pointing to a pizza box of a popular Boardwalk eatery, as well as a container of candy popcorn, that the couple, along with their daughter, have been nibbling their way through the day.
“I’m sad that the summer is over. We want to soak up all Ocean City things today,” Melanie said.
By 3 p.m. visitors began leaving the shore. But there were still throngs of tourists on the beaches.
While bathers kept cool in the ocean, they were also close to shore as rough seas and rip currents, resulting from two hurricanes over the past week – Idalia and Franklin – continued to churn up surf.
Lifeguards Jesse Hickman, Randy Young and Ellis Kirk watched closely and called in swimmers who went out too far on the Ninth Street beach.
Ocean City Beach Patrol Director Allan Karas, a retired Drug Enforcement Administration supervising special agent, said that the lifeguards definitely worked hard over the holiday weekend.
“It was a perfect storm — huge crowds, warm water, and extremely dangerous rip currents. My lifeguards and EMTs were pushed to the limits this weekend,” Karas said Monday night, adding that the beach patrol “lived up to the 125 years of excellence in lifesaving.”
While lifeguards kept an eye on bathers to keep them safe, families kept cool enjoying the surf.
Gina and Brian Peterson, of Lancaster, Pa., brought their daughter, Zoe, 2, for the day.
“She loves the beach so much,” Gina said as Zoe spun around, giggled and dabbed at the sand at the water’s edge.
The Petersons enjoy Ocean City for its family-friendly atmosphere, Gina noted while they had fun on the Ninth Street beach.
“She loves the water. We’ve been here all day. We will get dinner on the Boardwalk later,” Gina said of her daughter and husband.
Sarah Jackson, of Vineland, bought a vanilla ice cream, and despite the temptation of eating it herself, she was actually giving it to a family member.
“It’s for my nana,” she said with a smile.
The heat was melting the treat fast.
“I am having a really good time today,” Jackson said. “Ocean City is really a fun place.”
Jackson went back to her family who relaxed in beach chairs under the loggia at the Ocean City Music Pier, escaping the blazing sun.
Family friend Dr. Yvonne Carter, of Vineland, said she has been coming to Ocean City for vacations for at least 15 years.
“It’s a family-friendly place. I’ve been coming for three generations,” Carter said. “There are restaurants, the beach and a wonderful Boardwalk.”