MADISON -- About 535 campers are expected at Hammonasset campground this Memorial Day weekend. So many, in fact, they were let in three hours before the official 12 p.m. opening.
"We are the first ones coming here all the time," says Gabriel Valerim, " Memorial Day weekend, Fourth of July -- we are here."
Among the early birds are the regulars: people who have been coming to Hammonasset to camp for 35 years.
Most of them associate Memorial Day with the unofficial kick off to summer, but not all, like Bill Wagner.
"It's about remembering those who fought for our country. A lot of people who I knew went and didn't come home. I had a cousin that didn't make it."
One of the people enjoying the beach was a state worker who is on furlough today. He says it's to help out with the state budget crisis.
"It's been raining and cold all winter, so this is great, we're taking advantage of the day," says Randy Quinn.
And as soon as the forecast looked good for Friday, some decided to make it an extra long weekend.
Another thing everyone looks at during the Memorial Day weekend is the gas prices.
Last year, gas prices per gallon were $.63 cheaper than now heading into the travel weekend. Here, in the state, the average price per gallon is $3.15.
Most travelers say they always circle Memorial Day weekend on their calendar.
Up to two million New Englanders are expected to travel this weekend according to AAA.