People are hitting the roads and heading to the beach this weekend to celebrate the Fourth of July and to continue long-time traditions.
A cloudy sky and cool breeze couldn't keep people away from the beach on Sunday. Even those who traveled from out of state enjoyed Connecticut's shoreline.
"It's like home. We pull into the cabin and it's 'ahh we're home,'" said Kitty Uhrig from New York. For her and her friend Sue Beebe, it's a tradition to spend the holiday weekend at the beach.
"We come every year for the last 10 years now, it's our little getaway," said Beebe.
Another family drove in from Pennsylvania. Not only will they spend the holiday here, but they plan to make Connecticut their permanent home in a couple weeks.
Sunday marked one family's second time celebrating the July 4th weekend at Hammonasset State Park.
"I plan to play with my cousin, then go in the water, then play with those things...The balls over there," said Delylah Smith, of Hartford.
As families gather to celebrate, Connecticut has taken water safety seriously this season. Hammonasset Beach is one of eight state parks that will have lifeguards on duty on July 4th and throughout the summer, thanks to a major recruiting effort by the state.
Lifeguards will also be on duty from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the following locations:
- Black Rock State Park, Watertown
- Burr Pond State Park, Torrington
- Indian Well State Park, Shelton
- Rocky Neck State Park, East Lyme
- Sherwood Island State Park, Westport
- Silver Sands State Park, Milford
- Squantz Pond State Park, New Fairfield
According to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, 90 lifeguards have been hired, which included a $19 to $21 hourly-salary and significantly improved the state's lifeguard shortage.
For some families, Independence Day Weekend is a popular time for camping. One man from Somers does it every year surrounded by his family and friends.
"You see the little kids having so much fun. You can let them run around and they feel free," said Mike Dwight.
If you're going to the beach this weekend, check @CTStateParks on Twitter for updates and closings as beaches reach capacity.