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Labor Day weekend travelers bring boom to North County San Diego businesses

Small business owners hope tourists bring open hearts and open wallets to local shops this holiday weekend.

ENCINITAS, Calif. — It's not just lifeguards that have their hands full this weekend. On Sunday in Encinitas, large crowds flocked to the beach and nearby businesses for the Labor Day holiday weekend.

Locals Rob and Maria walked along North Coast Highway 101 hand-in-hand, ready to soak up the sun alongside tourists.

”It’s nice to see everybody out and about,” said Rob. "It's like we're back to normal from last year."

“This feels really good, just to see people having fun,” said Maria.

There was a line out the door off-and-on all Sunday for Nectarine Grove, a popular food spot in Encinitas.

“[We’ve been] incredibly busy,” said Felipe Cardenas as he worked. “It’s honestly super good, especially with everything going on. We’re right next to the beach, so people come here.”

In fact, it’s a much-needed boost for local businesses. Encinitas 101 Mainstreet even started the Encinitas Support Fund last year, which has helped dozens of beachside businesses since the pandemic broke.

Some visitors even purchase a surfboard as a souvenir. 

“It seems like we get a lot of people that are from out of town,” said Will MacFarlane of Bing Surfboards. 

According to AAA, travel bookings this summer are up at least 11% over 2019 levels, which is apparent when you look around at the hustle and bustle of San Diego-area traffic.

”It’s helping, you know, sustain a lot of these small businesses,” said MacFarlane.

You can learn more about different San Diego County businesses here.

WATCH RELATED: Big crowds at San Diego beaches for Labor Day Weekend