PISMO BEACH, Calif. -- The City of Pismo Beach is planning for a busy start to the summer travel season.
Thousands of tourists are expected to descend on the popular tourist destination over the next few days to celebrate Memorial Day weekend, which annually kicks off the summer travel season.
"We are definitely starting to get busy," said Jorge Garcia, Pismo Beach Management Services Director. "Spring Break launched it. We've continued to have a steady stream of visitors come in. Over the last three or four days, we've definitely seen the hotels bookings come in, people are coming in. We're seeing the coolers. We're seeing the families. We're seeing a lot of smiles and those are great indicators for us. The businesses are excited to welcome people back. The community really comes to life and that's what we enjoy about being here in Pismo."
For many businesses, such as hotels, restaurants, gift shops, convenience stores, and others that are travel-related, it's an anticipated time to ring up big sales.
"It's exciting," said Chipwrecked owner Sarah Paddack. "Last Memorial Day, we were shut down. We didn't operate because of Covid, and so this is sort of feeling like our first summer where we're tiptoeing back into what it once was."
Paddack noted Pismo Beach remained actually quite busy throughout the pandemic last year. She hopes the trend will continue as the health crisis continues to improve.
"I think everyone is anticipating one of the busiest summers we've ever seen in Pismo," said Paddack. "Certainly the last few months have shown that people want to come here no matter what's going on and now that everyone is getting vaccinated, and we're starting to see a decrease in cases, I think we're really going to see people get out there and experience life."
On Friday, city streets were visibly busier than they have been over the previous full days. It's an indication visitors are beginning to arrive in big numbers.
"We've been here all week and it's getting harder to find a parking place, the longer lines to get food and drinks, but it's worth the wait," said Sharon Allison-Crook of Visalia. "It's a long weekend. Great weather. It's 100 degrees back home so we decided to come over here and enjoy some of this nice fresh ocean air."
According to Pismo Beach Chamber of Commerce Chairperson Valerie Mercado, the number of visitors to the city should exceed 100,000 over the next few days.
The Memorial Day weekend is a key period of time for local businesses each year, and this year is off to a promising start.
"It's already moving. It's hustling and bustling," said Valerie Mercado, Pismo Beach Chamber of Commerce Chairperson. "Our businesses are prepared as they can be. A lot of them are short-staffed, still and are having that struggle, but definitely, they're all ready and we're welcoming everybody to come."
The famous Pismo Beach shoreline will also be a popular place for tourists during the holiday weekend.
In preparation, the city will begin staffing lifeguard towers beginning today at 10 a.m.
Lifeguard towers will be staffed seven days a week throughout the duration of the summer season that ends on Labor Day weekend.
"We have our lifeguards that are out on the beach," said Garcia. We'll have additional patrols this weekend. We want people to come and enjoy the community in a safe and responsible manner. We want people to clean up after themselves, but we want people to enjoy the natural beauty we have. The weather is supposed to be fantastic."
According to the forecast, temperatures should hover in the mid-60's throughout the weekend.
"It's a great time of year," said Allison-Crook. "It's a great time to celebrate and take some time off. Everybody needs to recharge their batteries."