Despite some thunderstorms, near record crowds packed beaches along the Alabama coast this week.
In Orange Beach, officials estimate about 200,000 people showed up for the Fourth of July holiday. Tens of thousands of people also visited shops, restaurants and hotels in Gulf Shores.
Bob Murphy, owner of Bahama Bob's Beachside Cafe, calls it the "best Fourth of July we've had in years," adding: "It's nice that the holiday falls in the middle of the week, so we actually get two good weekends out of it."
Rain threatened some events Wednesday.
Traffic along Highway 59 between Foley and Gulf Shores is a sure sign that beach business is booming.
Bumper-to-bumper traffic and heavy delays along 59 are expected through Sunday.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)