05 Sep, 2009
Southern California Beach Traffic Lighter this Labor Day Weekend
I visited some of the beaches of Southern California and noticed they were not packed this week. So when one of the local news channels said the very same thing, I decided to run with it. Why are beaches that often set records for one-day attendance on Labor Day Weekend seeing lighter attendance? I have some hunches why.
The news station also tried to figure it out and surmised that because school has already begun for some kids, this is not the big holiday that it once was when most schools started the week after Labor Day weekend. That’s one good reason.
Another possibility is that the beaches early in the summer were absolutely packed. You simply couldn’t drive on the California coastal highways without experiencing heavy traffic and in Southern California, waits at stoplights, sitting through several cycles sometimes. Perhaps the heavy attendance all summer long provided the local crowd with enough beach exposure to satisfy their pent up desires. The weather has been hot and muggy (humidity in the 50-70% range), and the beaches have provided mild relief, though inland cities enjoy much dryer climate which at times, can feel more comfortable. A trip to the beach lately (in Southern California where attendance numbers are greatest), has included moderately unhealthy air quality because of the fires in L.A., muggy, humid weather, and heat.
Another factor is unemployment. Many who come to the beach from inland cities and counties such as Riverside (where foreclosures on homes and unemployment have been higher than elsewhere), will find a trip to the beach now costs $15 for parking in State Beaches such as Bolsa Chica State Beach in Huntington Beach, where rates went up on Aug. 17. SEE THE PARKING FEES PRICES. When you fill up your car with a tank of gas at around $40-50, then pay for parking, $15, and buy some sodas or pack up a cooler with goodies and bring a bundle of firewood $6, you’re looking at a daytrip of around $50-100 for the family. If you don’t have work or are worried about your job, the high unemployment rate make take a chip out of your frequent visits to the beach, and could affect attendance this year as prices go up when it’s clear that the job market isn’t loosening up.
For those who love the beach, weekdays and weekends after Labor Day are simply awesome for visiting California beaches. You can often park free in neighborhoods nearby and walk a few blocks to the beach. The crowds are gone, and the weather in the fall is simply the finest.