Carteret County - Labor Day is the unofficial end of the summer tourist season for many Eastern North Carolina beach communities, including Emerald Isle.
Locals and tourists flocked to the ocean to soak up the sun during the three-day weekend.
"Saturday I'd say was the busiest," said beachgoer Fred Franklin. "There wasn't five feet between anyone's blanket."
Businesses also saw large crowds.
"I was surprised at how busy we were," said Karran McGlothlin, employee at the Emerald Grill Restaurant.
McGlothlin says business has been great this year. She attributes part of the success to the restaurant's expansion. Due to the expansion, the restaurant can easily be spotted from the roadway.
McGlothlin is not yet concerned about a slow down in business. "We stay steady up until November, when it really drops off," she said.
Unfortunately, many other tourism related businesses also experience a slow down in the winter months.
Michael LaVecchia, an employee at Island Harbor Marina in Emerald Isle, says the holiday weekend is the last hurrah of summer.
"We were running out of parking spaces," said LaVecchia. "Absolutely the best day so far this year."
Daniel Monette runs a boat charter business in Emerald Isle. Monette has been a charter boat captain full-time for the past four years.
Monette says he's had more customers this year. "It's better than last year, I'd say maybe about 25% more customers his year."
That doesn't necessarily equal more profit. Monette says customers are signing up for shorter trips because of the economy.
Business owners tell us once the winter slowdown begins, business usually doesn't start picking up again until St. Patrick's Day and then Memorial Day.
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