"It's a big number...it's a big number. We have to really turn and burn," says Captain Don Rice. He is referring to the 900 tourists he helped shuttle from Saint Andrews State Park to Shell Island yesterday. "This week business is nuts, it's chaos, people enjoying life everywhere," says Rice.
Some of those choosing to enjoy life are Allison and Wayne Daniel. They've been to Panama City Beach before but this is their first time traveling to Shell Island. "It looks like its a little more secluded, that's nice," describes Wayne Daniel. "You kind of get out of the mix of things and get away from all the resorts for a minute."
Park manager Brian Addison says it doesn't surprise him to see hundreds of people coming through Saint Andrews State Park. But does seem to think there's more people than last year. "Fourth of July falling in the middle of the week, were treating it as a 7 day weekend and so visitation during the day is busy and our campground is full."
This is good news too especially since the campground had to close for a short while because of Tropical Storm Debby. Soon numbers will be in to see just how much revenue the park has brought in this year. Park officials can then try and make comparisons.
Last year, Saint Andrews State Park generated the most revenue out of all 160 state parks in Florida. As of three weeks ago before Tropical Storm Debby, Florida park officials said if the current pace of business continues, this year could be a record-breaking one.