Labor Day Tourism Increases in Walton County

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It's the last weekend to relax before hectic fall schedules begin once again.

Local beaches were packed with families trying to get in those last few days of summer vacation and in Walton County resort employees saw an above average visitor rate.

"Last year we saw occupant rates at 70 to 80%; this year we are actually approaching 95%. That is a good 20% jump compared to last year,” said Maria Boyd of Sandestin Golf and Beach Resorts.

While a rainy summer season has affected other holidays this year, Boyd said she is happy this weekend was different.

"With the holiday weekend for labor day we had higher occupancy. The rain did dampen things for us in the summer time, but the great weather we are seeing, the great events we are having and kick off this weekend are really going to drive us through the fall season,” stated Boyd.

Along the beaches Walton County Sheriff’s Deputies patrol the highly populated areas and just like the resorts, their department is extremely busy during Labor Day Weekend, but for other reasons.

"We are stepping up our traffic enforcement, our traffic units have been out this weekend, we are just telling everyone to be mindful of the speed limits, be mindful of the bicyclists, the golf carts and especially small children,” said Deputy Keith Parsons of the Walton County Sheriff’s Department.

During a busy holiday weekend, traffic isn't the only thing on deputy Parsons mind.

“We also want to encourage them to keep their valuables safeguarded; we had some isolated incidents where personable items have been stolen. People are bringing tablets and smartphones down on the beach and they just need to make sure somebody stays with their property at all times,” said Parsons.

Back at Sandestin Resorts, Boyd is confident the high number of visitors will continue for next year's summer season.

"Once they come here they see our sugar white sands and beautiful emerald water and they keep coming back year after year especially after Labor Day,” said Boyd.

Throughout the holiday weekend, Department of Transportation officials had signs out to help direct detour traffic, which Parsons says helped with the traffic flow.