MANASQUAN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – People seeking relief from the heat and humidity packed the Jersey Shore this Fourth of July.

CBS2’s Meg Baker spoke with beach goers in Manasquan, as they unpacked chairs, umbrellas and coolers for a day of fun in the sun.

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“I’m off all next week, because it’s Fourth of July, so my vacation has just started,” Mary Biro said.

It’s a scorcher outside, so a refreshing dip in the ocean was a must. Lifeguards were on high alert, keeping an eye on the water and the large crowds.

“It’s a safe day to be in the water. No rip currents, no sea life. We have a lot of people in right now,” said lifeguard John Shea.

Many people also took a moment to remember why they had the day off.

“Fourth of July means to me a celebration of the country’s birthday, the greatest country in the world. It means family and barbecue and good times and the people that you love,” John Bukowiec said.

“We’ve got a few veterans in the family, so independence and celebrating those who have served and are serving,” said Emmett Walling.

Most people said they have tomorrow off too and plan to stay down the shore through the weekend.

So you can expect the beaches to be just as crowded.

According to New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection, several of the state’s beaches were filled to capacity by noontime.

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Hundreds of people flocked to Jersey City’s beautiful coastline for an Independence Day party for one of the best views around.

There was live music, dozens of food trucks, rides and more.

“This is the second year that I’ve been here and it’s amazing. The concerts, the food trucks, I love it, it’s very fun,” Jersey City resident Jessica Goldstein said.

The annual celebration draws people from all over to have a good time and, of course, watch the fireworks with a stunning backdrop of the New York City skyline.

“It’s a great day. It’s a great venue with a great back-drop,” one man said.

Mayor Steven Fulop told CBS2’s Nina Kapur, much like the city, the festival wasn’t always this large. It’s grown dramatically over the years, but its core purpose has always stayed the same – a welcoming place to gather and celebrate free of charge.

“Today is a special day for the country, and we figure as a city of immigrants here in Jersey City, it’s a good way to celebrate,” Fulop said.

Adrienne Spencer grew up in Jersey City. She says as a young girl, the area was all rocks and water. Now, it’s something she can brag about.

“I feel proud to say now that I’m from Jersey City,” she said.

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Jersey City’s own Akon took the stage at 6:30 p.m. with Pitbull then taking the stage at 8 p.m.