LONG BEACH, Long Island (WABC) -- The national holiday to mark America's birth as a country is filled with parades, concerts, competitive eating and -- of course -- fireworks, and millions across the Tri-State Area are celebrating Independence Day Thursday.
Nice weather and a long weekend for many means the beaches and boardwalks are packed, from Long Island to the Jersey Shore.
Some state beaches -- including Island Beach, Swartswood, Orient Beach, Sunken Meadow, Bear Mountain, Wildwood, Lake Tiorati and Lake Welch -- were filled to capacity and had to be temporarily closed to new arrivals.
AAA estimates that a record 48.9 million Americans will travel 50 miles or farther for this July 4th, which combined with the beautiful weather means big bucks for area businesses.
The shore remains a popular destination, with revelers beating the heat and humidity with a dip in the ocean or pool, or a ride (or two) at a water or amusement park.
In Ridgefield Park, New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy joined in the festivities at the annual Baby Parade -- where spectators were coping with cuteness overload.
The event commemorated 125 years of Fourth of July celebrations in the town, and children decked out in red, white and blue walked, rode in decorated carriages, on elaborate floats or atop personally decorated bicycles.
The celebration along the waterfront in Jersey City is expected to the city's biggest yet, with hometown rapper Akon and international superstar Pitbull headlining the show.
The festivities kicked off at Exchange Place, featuring food trucks, a beer garden, entertainment and capped off by fireworks over the Hudson River.
The show, fireworks and an all-day carnival are expected to draw upwards of 250,000 people.
All across the area, many people were out early to claim a spot for the fireworks or set up for a barbecue or house party. And in one Westchester County town, they read the Declaration of Independence -- an annual tradition in Mount Vernon.
Meanwhile, police are out in full force, keeping an eye out for those who may be drinking and driving -- specifically on boats.