By MADDY VITALE
MaryAnn and Stephen Joseph take grandparenting seriously. On Wednesdays they take all five of their grand kids to do something fun for the day and give the parents some relaxation time.
The Josephs, of Williamstown, N.J., definitely enjoyed their time Wednesday with their grandchildren Alei’a, Annabella, Gianna, Mia and Peter, ages 8 down to 4.
And it also didn’t hurt that they picked Sea Isle City’s beautiful beaches to set up their towels, sand buckets and shovels on a day that Sea Isle doesn’t require beach tags.
“We love coming to Sea Isle. We’ve been coming here for years,” MaryAnn Joseph said as she lifted up her 6-year-old granddaughter, Alei’a Joseph. “We love free beach day. It saves us money and we have tons of fun with the kids.”
Stephen Joseph added, “It is nanna and pop-pop day. We do all different things with the kids and this is just something else fun we can do that they really enjoy.”
Sea Isle sells seasonal and weekly beach tags. Those tags are favored by visitors taking extended vacations.
The $5 daily beach tags are usually purchased by Sea Isle’s daytrippers. For that reason, the free beach days on Wednesdays throughout the summer are especially popular among the daytrippers, Sea Isle Public Information Officer Katherine Custer said.
The city has been offering this incentive to beachgoers for more than 25 years.
Beach tag sales generate about $1.4 million in annual revenue for Sea Isle for city services, including keeping the beaches clean and paying for lifeguards.
While the city loses some revenue by giving people a free day on the sand, Custer said in an interview last year, “For the amount of goodwill it does, it certainly is worth that. It gives people an opportunity to visit who might not otherwise.”
Some beachgoers thought they just got lucky when they walked onto the beach Wednesday afternoon.
“We walked up and figured we beat the beach tag checker,” said Gina Russo, of Havertown, Pa., with a laugh.
She and her children, Lorenzo, 2, Mia, 8, and 11-year-old son, Luciano, made a day of it.
Russo’s friends, Stacey Allen, of Havertown, Pa., and Sue Bechhold, of West Chester, Pa., said a free day on the beach was a nice treat.
Deb McLaughlin, of Springfield, Pa., had her three little ones, Mark, Maura and Molly, in tow for a beautiful day building sandcastles and dipping in the water.
Mark, 5, said he loved the water. Maura, 2, and sister, Molly, 16 months, had fun making things in the sand.
Molly scooped up some sand and giggled.
“We are here for the summer. We are lucky. My mom has a condo here,” McLaughlin said. “But for our friends and their families, free beach day is a way for them to come down with the kids and get a little beach time without having to pay. I think it is a great thing to offer.”
For more information about what Sea Isle City has to offer go to www.visitsicnj.com