What you need to know about July 4th celebrations at the Oceanfront

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – Thousands of people spent Monday at the beach during the long July 4th holiday weekend.

“We just came because my nieces and nephew are up from Georgia and we wanted to take them to the beach,” said Kristi Buhot, of Stafford, Virginia.

“We’re on vacation with my family,” said Taylor Exline, of Culpepper, Virginia. “It was closer and we’re actually meeting family from Georgia that decided to come up to see us.”

Keya Boykin-Miller and her family from Valley Township, Pennsylvania, are leaving Tuesday.

“We’re here just for vacation for the long weekend,” she said.

hrScene Fourth of July Weekend Guide

Larger than normal crowds are expected at the Oceanfront to celebrate Independence Day.

Tiffany Russell with the Virginia Beach Conventions and Visitors Bureau said here’s what you need to know if you plan be there:

Live Oceanfront entertainment will be at 17th, 24th and 31st Street stages Tuesday with concerts starting at either 6:30 or 7 p.m. You can find the full lineup online.

Fireworks are at 9:30 p.m. There will be free parking at the convention center, so plan wisely and come to the resort area early — don’t wait until the last minute — in order to avoid delays on I-264. Drivers on the interstate will be diverted starting at 8 p.m. Locals and visitors are encouraged to arrive via Shore Drive, General Booth Boulevard, Virginia Beach Boulevard or Laskin Road. The eastbound exit for S. Birdneck and westbound exit for First Colonial will be closed from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Va. Beach changing traffic pattern to Oceanfront this Fourth of July

All parking meters accept credit cards and coins. There is a one hour minimum for credit card payments.

Officials expect occupancy to reach 95 percent or higher just like 2016, even though the holiday is falling on a weekday this year. According to an STR census count, Virginia Beach has more than 11,000 hotel rooms in the city. Several hotels have already said that they are sold out. Before coming, visitors should already have plans for accommodations.

“Just be prepared for a big day on the beach with lots of people out here. Plan like you’re going to the all-day sports tournament so that means lots of water, lots of good food. Be healthy, protect yourself from the sun,” Tom Gill with Virginia Beach Life Saving Service said.