Rip currents, shark sightings, wildfire smoke, and hard economic times did not keep crowds away from North Carolina beaches over the July 4 holiday.
The Jacksonville Daily News reported beaches and attractions in Surf City, Topsail Island and Atlantic Beach were busier than expected.
Strong rip currents caused the deaths of three men at separate North Carolina beaches last week, and a Pennsylvania girl was bitten by a shark at North Topsail Beach.
Smoke from eastern North Carolina wildfires caused air quality officials to issue alerts for outdoor activities.
But falling gas prices and lots of good fishing gave vacationers something to smile about.
More than 200 youngsters participated in a weekend fishing contest at Surf City, where Pier owner Ed Lore said bluefish, perch and spots were plentiful.