Kevin Roche, in cap, and Ryan Hamill watch their kids have fun in the surf to kick off the Memorial Day weekend.


After a long, cold winter and a super-soggy spring, Ryan Hamill admitted that he and his daughters were a little unprepared for sunny summer days on the beach.

“It’s great to get down here, but I’ll say that we’re out of practice getting our beach stuff ready. It took us 45 minutes, and normally it takes us about 10 minutes. We forgot to bring sunscreen and all that stuff,” he said, laughing.

No worries, though, because Hamill and his daughters, Shea, 8, and Colleen, 6, will now have plenty of time to perfect their beach routine with the eagerly awaited arrival of the summer season at the shore.

Joined by their friend, Kevin Roche, and his daughter, Molly, 6, Hamill, Shea and Colleen hit the beach and even did some bodysurfing to start the Memorial Day weekend in Sea Isle City.

Hamill, of Wilmington, Del., and Roche, of Media, Pa., plan to spend the entire holiday weekend with their children in Sea Isle. The kids didn’t waste any time Friday splashing in the water, doing some surfing on their body boards and digging in the sand.

“It’s really fun coming down to the beach,” Shea exclaimed. “The water’s beautiful, but it’s also very cold.”

The water temperature was a brisk 60 degrees, but the air temperature soared up to 80 by the afternoon. Threatening clouds in the morning cleared out to reveal partly sunny skies during the first unofficial day of the summer tourism season at the shore.

Lori Branco, of Sea Isle, was joined on the beach by her daughter, Courtney Branco, and her two grandchildren, Brooks, 4, and 2-year-old Blakely.

“We had to bring the kids down to the beach so they could feel the water. But we didn’t bring their bathing suits,” Lori said.

The Branco family enjoys the water.

As Brooks and Blakely played in the water, Courtney decided that her kids should have their bathing suits after all.

To Brooks, it didn’t matter. He and his little sister were having plenty of fun dressed in shorts and T-shirts.

Brooks had a one-word answer to describe his afternoon on the beach: “Cool,” he said, to the amusement of his mom and grandmother.

A little ways down the beach, a group of high school friends from Doylestown, Pa., were playing spikeball and planning some things to do over the holiday weekend.

“We’ll hit the beach, have some fun, play some spikeball and probably play some basketball,” said Caden Loftus, who was part of the group of juniors, 16 and 17 years old, from Central Bucks West and Central Bucks South high schools.

Loftus said he and his friends like Sea Isle because it is a nice, clean town. Then another reason emerged.

“The girls,” added Jaynis Rivel, another member of the high school group.

Friends from Central Bucks West and Central Bucks South high schools in Pennsylvania are staying in Sea Isle for the entire holiday weekend.

Visitors to Sea Isle over the Memorial Day weekend will be greeted by much wider beaches following a replenishment project that is adding close to 1 million cubic yards of new sand.

Altogether, 680,000 cubic yards of sand has freshened up the beaches in the south end of the island from about 73rd Street to Townsends Inlet at 94th Street.

A contractor for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the federal agency overseeing the project, is now spreading 252,000 cubic yards of new sand on the beaches in central and downtown Sea Isle between 29th Street and 53rd Street.

The replenishment project is expected to be completed by mid-June.

For safety reasons, beaches are closed in the areas where the project is being done, but are reopened after the new sand is spread out. Mayor Leonard Desiderio said no one will have to walk more than two blocks on the Promenade to access an open beach.

“The Army Corps of Engineers strictly enforces the project’s work limits to ensure that the maximum amount of beach remains accessible to the public,” Desiderio said in a statement.

Massive pipes are being used to pump new sand on Sea Isle’s beaches.

Beach replenishment is just part of the improvements Sea Isle is making around town in advance of the summer season.

Desiderio noted that contractors are wrapping up a series of road reconstruction and utility projects.

Sea Isle is also finishing construction of a new handicap-accessible ramp to the Promenade at 53rd Street and has started work on another new ramp at 51st street. The work is expected to be done by mid-June.

In addition, Sea Isle’s Public Works crews “are cleaning and sprucing up everything throughout town” to prepare for summer, Desiderio said.

A digital sign at the entrance to the Promenade flashes a temperature of 80 degrees.
The Promenade draws pedestrians and bikers for the holiday weekend.
A game of spikeball gets underway on the beach.