Families rushed out on Thursday morning before the gates even opened at Hammonasset State Park with hopes of getting a good spot on the sand and a great place to barbecue.
Car load after car load of families flooded into the park ready to celebrate the Fourth of July.
"Have a good time. Get into that water, get some sun, right, relax, eat," said Lillian Graciani, of Middletown.
Graciani arrived with her family two hours before the gates opened, all in the hopes of beating the crowds.
"It is packed today, very packed and it's early," said Grisel Delgado, of Springfield, Massachusetts.
Delgado drove two hours with her family from Springfield. They said it was well worth the trip.
"It reminds me of Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico has a lot of beaches so it reminds me of that. And today is a day we should spend with family together, enjoy ourselves,” she added.
They were joined by dozens of families on the beach, where kids were building sand castles, squirting water guns and having a great time.
"This is the first outing that we've had all summer so this is a good start," added Rachel Block, of Bristol.
Several families also staked out a good spot near the pavilions where they could relax in the sun and grill.
After a fun filled day at the beach, families plan on heading back to their hometowns across the state to catch the fireworks.