Parks see good business over New Year's weekend | News

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Parks see good business over New Year's weekend

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- Rob Ori and his friends packed up their campsites Tuesday afternoon.

They spent the New Year's Eve weekend at Anastasia State Park in St. Augustine.

"It was excellent," Ori remembered. "It was a little cold, but not too bad. Didn't rain... which is always good."

All of the 139 camp sites at Anastasia State Park were booked this past weekend and New Year's Eve.

One of Ori's friends, Mark Morgan, said the park is popular because, "it's got everything!"

Ori agreed, "You've got the beach. Fireworks last night were shot off the pier. We could sit in our lawn chairs on the beach and watch them. It was really great. The stars were out. You can't beat that."

However, not everyone who wanted to stay at the park was able to.

Jackie Mooney and her husband from Canada learned a month ago they couldn't stay at the park.

"We wanted to reserve here, but there were no spots available. So we ended up in a condo," Mooney explained.

Cristy Leonard, a Park Services Specialist at Anastasia State Park, said New Years Eve weekend at the park is just as busy as the Fourth of July, Labor Day weekend, and Memorial Day weekend.

The Castillo de San Marcos, known as the fort in downtown St. Augustine, was also busy New Year's Day.

The Rowlen family from Alabama went to that national park Monday. Tuesday they came back out to the lawn to play and have a picnic. William Rowlen said he'd choose this over a busy mall or store on New Year's Day.

"I'd much rather be in an open area like this. Let the kids run and enjoy a nice picnic with friends, and just have a good day," he smiled.

Many state and national parks, unlike other government offices, stay open on holidays.

Evidently, the business is swift.

There's something about the great outdoors to start the year off.

Ori grinned, "There's no TV. No nothing.  You don't know what's going on [in the world] and it's just great!"



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