ATLANTIC BEACH, CARTERET COUNTY - The National Weather Service reports this past July as being the rainiest on record for the Town of Newport after almost a foot of water fell. Still, numbers show that visitors have been flocking to the Crystal Coast, even despite the rain.
Executive Director of the Crystal Coast Tourism Authority Carol Lohr says the Visitor Center has been busy all summer. She says the past few days in August have been particularly busy. Lohr says although there have been some vacation cancellations due to the rain at local hotels, most people are braving the rain.
"We have had one of the best July's we have ever had." says Lohr.
Lohr measures the tourism by something called the occupancy tax. This tax generates revenue from tourists, and this year it is up.
"It's up, a little bit, from this time last year so that's a good thing." says Lohr.
This July has been wetter and cooler than last July. The National Weather Service in Newport also reports that the average temperature this July at their headquarters on Roberts Road was only about 77°.
This means we have seen more tourism generated dollars this July than last, despite the rain.
"Everybody seems to be looking for things to do when the weather is not as cooperative as we'd like it to be." says Lohr.
The North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores reports much higher attendance on wetter days.
Lohr also says many visitors have been reported at the Maritime Museum in Beaufort as well as local shops.
So while it seems the rain is driving tourists away from the water, it isn't driving them away from enjoying Carteret County.