Clear skies, a strong breeze, and the hazy smell of barbeque greeted everyone heading to Redcar Beach for Bank Holiday Monday.
Children could be seen strewn across the sand, some brave enough to swim in the ocean, while others remained content as they devoured their ice creams and watched the world go by.
The center was teeming with people eagerly awaiting their fish and chips, their ice cream cones or enthusiastically climbing on the funfair rides overlooking the sea.
Bikers clad in scorching black leather jackets chatted, as fun roared Frank Sinatra and a whiff of freshly made donuts swirled in the air.
It came as temperatures in Teesside reached their highest level of the year, as freezing rain in recent weeks gave way to a sparkling sun.
Carl, who traveled with his daughter Emily from Darlington, was seen happily sitting on the promenade.
He said: “I feel great, the sun is shining for us and we are about to hit the beach.
“I finished a shift at the hospital where I work this morning, and I’ll be back at work tomorrow, so I need to make the most of it.”
The same ‘seize the day’ attitude was shown by Richard and Anne Coles, 77 and 75, from London.
They were at Redcar with Richard’s job as a boat inspector and found it to be an “absolutely lovely” place to vacation.
“It’s a bit cold compared to where we live at home,” said Anne, who works as a swimming instructor. “I was a little brave bringing my short sleeve t-shirts.
“But the fish and chips is an absolute steal, it’s a lot better value than what you get in the south.”
Further down the beach, Claire, 23, could be seen meandering along the sand looking for trash to pick up and drop in the trash bag she was carrying with her.
She is part of a larger group of “Sea Shepherds” who volunteer their time to clean the shoreline of debris and plastics.
“Someone has to do it, even though it’s a holiday. The litter has gotten worse since the lockdown was relaxed, so our help is needed more than ever.”
While Claire needed an eagle’s eye to spot what she was looking for, Anthony’s plastic of Nunthorpe’s umbrella, tent, bucket and shovel was hard to miss.
He and his family had set up their beach with all the equipment needed for a day of souvenir making.
He said he was very happy to be outside and soaking up the sun with his children after a “gloomy month” of weather in May.
“It’s not too crowded at the moment – I actually thought it would be busier,” he said. “This is the first time that we can take out all the beach gear all year round.”
“We had a whole weekend having fun, and spending time with family is a great way to end it.”
Claire Smith, who traveled from Guisborough to the coast with her daughters Arya, 3, and Izzy, 2, was found in the middle of a messy dessert situation.
“I am going through a disaster,” she said. “It’s absolutely gorgeous ice cream, but it makes a great meal.”
“It’s supposed to be a treat, but look at the condition of the children! I’m going to have to water them afterwards at this rate.”
For those who wanted something a little more salty, patience was key today as queues were observed at all of the fish and chip shops along the main stretch of the promenade.
Graham, Amanda and baby James were seen enjoying the seaside staple before heading to the beach for a “splash”.
It was all smiles from the Darlington family despite having to wait 20 minutes for their food among the busy crowd.
“It’s not too long, and we’re just happy to find some kind of normalcy and to be able to take a family trip,” Graham said.
Martin Healey, meanwhile, was more concerned with the bustling seaside town scenes.
“I’m having a great day, but I’m dreading the number of people nearby,” said the 51-year-old.
“It doesn’t feel quite normal to me yet, although it does with our boys.
“They had fun in the amusements today, regardless of the world.”
Elsewhere in the city, punters have taken to the racetrack in hopes of picking a winner in the sun.
Redcar crowds have been compared elsewhere in Teesside with reports of a large number of visits to Stockton and Middlesbrough parks
Unsurprisingly, visitor hot spots such as Saltburn, Great Ayton, and Roseberry Topping have also proven popular with families starting a vacation halfway through.
Drivers heading to Whitby suffered delays after an accident involving a motorcyclist on the A171 Moors road near Scaling Dam.