CONEY ISLAND, Brooklyn (WABC) -- Beaches and boardwalks are expected to be packed this bittersweet Labor Day weekend, as summer unofficially comes to a close.
Shore towns across New York City and state, Long Island, Connecticut and the Jersey Shore are gearing up for one final weekend of hopefully strong business in a holiday often packed with cookouts, beach trips, and family gatherings.
Despite back to school looming for many, New York City's 14 miles of beaches will be open for swimming through Sunday, September 11, with lifeguards on duty from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The city's free Olympic- and intermediate-sized outdoor pools will close after Sunday, September 11, while mini outdoor pools will close Monday.
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Down at the Jersey Shore, beach towns were hoping for brisk sales after a summer that saw fewer people booking weeklong stays, likely due to inflation and higher prices.
Still, it was the most normal summer since the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing beachgoers by the thousands.
Dr. Jane Bokunewicz is faculty director of the Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism at Stockton University which creates the "Jersey Shorecast" every year based on data from Atlantic City casinos.
"It's a mixed bag for the Jersey Shore this year, while looking at the casino data," she said. "In June, there was a little bit of a drop off, so it did seem like inflation and gas prices did have some impact. But overall spending being up so much in August is a good sign that perhaps those challenges are behind us."
Hotel occupancy is almost back to pre-pandemic levels, at 63% in July 2022 compared to 72.6 % in July 2019.
On Long Island, Long Beach will have fully staffed lifeguards through Labor Day weekend but no regular patrols after Labor Day.
Tobay Beach lifeguards will be staying on for one weekend, September 10 and 11, while lifeguards will stay on for an additional two weekends at Smith Point County Park.
This year, more than 300,000 people visited Smith Point County Park.
"While Labor Day marks the unofficial end to summer, in Suffolk summer is not over, and the joy that summer brings will continue to brighten our days," Suffolk County Executive Bellone said. "Lifeguards will remain on the stands for an additional two weekends, and I encourage all residents to take advantage of our world-class beaches while the warm weather is still with us."
Other beaches extending lifeguards including Jones Beach, Robert Moses, Hither Hills, Alfred Smith, Sunken Meadow and Wildwood through September 18; Point Lookout, Lido Beach, Lido Beach West and Atlantic Avenue Beach through September 25; and Main beach and East Hampton through October 10.
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