PENSACOLA BEACH, Fla. (WKRG) — Thousands of locals and tourists flocked to Pensacola Beach for a busy Memorial Day weekend.
Locals and beach employees said it was one of the busiest weekends they had seen since last year.
“This is the most insane week I’ve seen since spring break of last year,” said Zak Almanasrah, a resident of Pensacola. “The traffic was horrible. The bridge is opened up and everyone is coming back in town. It took me two hours to find a parking spot.”
Fewer vehicles drove through the toll plaza on Pensacola Beach this weekend than last Memorial Day weekend, during the height of the pandemic. Memorial Day itself, however, was in fact busier than last year.
Restaurant employees said Tuesday they saw a difference in customers who come in.
“We’ve have had lots of large parties,” said Crabs general manager Max Murphy. “Not twosomes but lots of families. We were extremely pleased with the volume of people who were coming out here and visiting our restaurant. It was far more than we anticipated.”
Murphy credits the Pensacola Bay Bridge reopening as part of the reason for the restaurant’s success this past weekend.
“This is really our bread and butter: Memorial Day to Labor Day,” he said. “So now the bridge is open. There’s two access points. Garcon and Pensacola Bay Bridge. I think people are traveling on both of them.”
After last year where Crabs experienced many obstacles, including its roof being torn off during Hurricane Sally, Murphy hopes the busy weekend is a good sign for the future.
“This customer flow puts this positive light on our future,” he said. “We’re looking forward to a record June.”