Hampton Beach Says Hello to Summer on Memorial Day Weekend

One of the biggest travel weekends of the year is upon us.

This Memorial Day, a record 37.6 million Americans will hit the road across the country to celebrate the long weekend, the most on record since AAA started tracking almost 20 years ago.

One of the most popular destinations in New England is New Hampshire's seacoast.

At Hampton Beach, Ocean Boulevard is back for the season.

With summer-like weather expected this weekend, businesses are gearing up for upwards of 15,000 visitors each day.

By Friday morning, the doors are open, the lights were on, and the cleaning was done.

"It takes a month and a half to get rolling," said Chantelle Hashem whose family owns Big Steve's Italian Sausage. "We're ready, ready for the whole summer."

A lot of people kicked off Memorial Day weekend early.

"It's totally worth the day of PTO, I don't regret it at all," said Lis Gorra, a resident of Boston's Dorchester neighborhood who was playing ski-ball with her boyfriend.

Nashua seventh-grader Sofia Renna got to take the day off and spend it with her family at the beach.

"I got good grades," she explained.

Nearly 2 million New Englanders are planning to travel this weekend.

AAA of Northern New England says it's the highest travel forecast in about 15 years.

"That's a good sign, a real good sign," said John Nyhan, president of the Hampton Area Chamber of Commerce.

He says a huge marketing push and beach and boardwalk improvements over the last several years have attracted more visitors than ever.

"I've talked to a couple hotel owners and they say they're double the number of reservations than this time last year," Nyhan said. "This is the place to come for summer."

A group of women from Western Massachusetts couldn't agree more. As they kicked off their 11th annual girls trip to Hampton, they said there is no better place to raise a glass and make a toast to summertime.

"It's easy access, you can walk to everything, there are lots of bars and restaurants, and, of course, these lovely ladies," said Gwendolyn Kelley of Agawam.

There are a lot of summer events planned at Hampton Beach.

New this season will be a circus, a country-western week, and live music on the center stage every night.

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