Huge crowds flock to beaches for Memorial Day

GULF SHORES, Ala. (WALA) – It’s a busy weekend across the Gulf Coast, as folks are heading down to the beaches for Memorial Day weekend, and Saturday, May 24, many beach-goers were spending a large amount of time in the car stuck in traffic.

May portions of Highway 59 south of the I-10 were bumper to bumper as crowds flocked to the southern Baldwin County beaches.

But, some beach-goers said they didn’t mind all the traffic, because after waiting in the long lines of cars, it all paid off with a relaxing day at the beach.

“We had the mindset of just coming over here to relax anyway, just to hang out and spend the day out on the beach,” said Ursula Collier, who spent her day at the Gulf Shores public beach, “So, it didn’t really matter how long it took to get here, (what mattered is) just that we got here actually.”

Beach officials said they’ve been preparing for all the crowds.

“We are geared up for a busy weekend, we hope everyone has a great time, has lots of memories when they leave, but we want them to leave safely,” said Melvin Shepard, Aquatics and Beach Safety Director of Orange Beach.

Shepard said with so many people flocking to the beach, there’s a greater risk for swimmers in distress, and this weekend, he’s warning beach-goers to use caution.

“The biggest thing is there is a moderate rip current forecast, and what we’re looking at are the prediction of rip currents forming along the beaches,” said Shepard.

If you’re not sure of the surf conditions at the beach, you can call 968TIDE for conditions in Gulf Shores, and 981SURF for conditions in Orange Beach.

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