ATLANTIC BEACH, N.C. (WNCT) — Memorial Day is a time to honor those who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice while serving in the military.

The holiday is also considered the unofficial start to summer.

People flocked to Atlantic Beach Monday to take advantage of sunny weather on the tail end of the long weekend.

“I figured I’d come out here and appreciate everything North Carolina has to offer — at least the best parts of it, which is the beach,” said Airianna Thompson, a Havelock resident who visited Atlantic beach on Monday.

Traffic coming into Atlantic Beach was heavy Monday, but beachgoers said the extended wait was worth it in the end.

“We’ve been coming here for years,” said Bob Pell, an Ohio beachgoer. “It’s kind of our place. And my wife and I are gonna be celebrating our 40th anniversary this year, so it’s a family time.”

While beachgoers enjoyed their time in the sun, they didn’t forget the meaning of Memorial Day.

“The best thing about being out is thinking about those who have served to allow me to have the day off and be out on the boat,” Wilson resident Elliott Smith said.

“The fact that we have a day to celebrate it — it’s something we should celebrate daily, but to be able to come out to the beautiful beach and be reminded of that is something that’s pretty beautiful,” Thompson said.

Watch the video above to learn more about the unofficial start of summer.