Wednesday, July 7, 2010

It was biz-ay at the beach on the Fourth!

Of course, if you were down here, you would know this already!

"Traffic lined up for miles at times during the Fourth of July weekend in New Hanover County's beach towns, and parking lots were nearly full at area attractions," says the Star-News.

According to surveys and guest lists at several hotels and attraction sites, the bulk of this weekend's visitors came from just hours away on Interstate 40.

Jimmy Pope, owner of Golden Sands Motel in Carolina Beach, said 70 percent of the people who stayed at the hotel during the weekend were from North Carolina cities such as Raleigh, Durham, Kernersville and as far west in the state as Boone.

That's not surprising considering that in-state travel is both convenient and a constant trend, said Kim Hufham, president of the Wilmington Cape Fear Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau.

"Our largest feeder market we have is the Raleigh-Durham and Chapel Hill area," she said. "It's a great drive. You hit I-40, drive for two hours and you're here."

There were non-Carolinians around too.

Like many attraction sites, the Battleship North Carolina tracks where visitors live by asking for their ZIP codes. The results of this weekend's ZIP code survey were not available Tuesday, but Heather Loftin, promotions director for the N.C. Battleship, said she noticed a colorful array of license plates just by scanning the parking lot.

"I saw New Jersey. I saw New York, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Arkansas," she said.

"It was all over the board," Loftin added. "It wasn't necessarily from the East Coast."

Pope said he met a couple from Alabama who were visiting Durham last week and decided to travel to Carolina Beach for a day-trip since they wouldn't be visiting a Florida beach like they usually did.

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