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July Fourth draws crowds to LI parks, beaches

Sean Gillam, 13, finds enjoyment while riding his

Sean Gillam, 13, finds enjoyment while riding his boogie board from the humid day at the beach in Long Beach. (July 5, 2013) Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams, Jr.

Long Island state parks and beaches were packed with sun-seekers on July Fourth, drawing about 294,000 total visitors -- up slightly from last year, officials said.

Overall attendance Friday dropped to 130,000, according to George Gorman, Long Island deputy regional director for state parks.

Jones Beach had 115,000 visitors on the holiday, compared with 120,000 in 2012. But Robert Moses and Sunken Meadow both had bigger crowds this year: 46,000 at Robert Moses, up from 32,000 last year; 55,000 at Sunken Meadow, up from 54,000. Totals for other state parks and beaches were not released.

Friday, 53,000 visitors were counted at Jones Beach; 31,000 at Robert Moses; and 16,000 at Sunken Meadow. Comparisons to 2012 were not available.

In explaining the increase of about 20,000 July Fourth visitors this year over last, Gorman said Thursday was "really the first nice beach day we've seen this year."

Lifeguard hours Friday were extended from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. to accommodate people arriving later in the day.

For Thursday and Friday, Nassau County reported a total of 1,529 visitors at Wantagh Park; 1,595 at Cantiague Park; 1,085 at North Woodmere Park; and 1,273 vehicles in the Nickerson Beach parking area.

Suffolk County visitation figures were not released.

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