For folks who live near New Jersey’s coast year-round, this week starts the greatest stretch of summer.

Jersey shore locals are happy to have their beaches back. (Dino Flammia, Townsquare Media NJ)

Known as local summer, this is when the tourists are gone and the local residents come out to play. It’s finally their turn to enjoy the areas’ amenities for themselves.

Strolling along a few beaches in Monmouth County, at no charge, it was easy to find folks who were ecstatic to be back on their local sand, free of distraction.

“It was crazy this weekend, and now everyone is gone,” said a smiling Debbie Kayner of Manasquan. “It is nice to relax and to be able to pull out of my driveway easily.”

Lakewood resident Greg Smith, who’s been coming to Manasquan’s beach for decades, was thoroughly enjoying the several feet of empty sand in front of him early Tuesday afternoon.

“There’s no hustle and bustle,” he said. “You can park right up to the beach. You don’t have to pay.”

Smith said he stays away from the beach during the peak summer months because he never knows how long it would take to actually drive there and find a spot.

September is former Belmar resident Mark Spagnuolo’s favorite month. He said September still offers a couple weeks of gorgeous summer weather, plus better swells for riding the waves.

“You can kind of surf whenever you want to and not get hassled,” said Spagnuolo, now living in Red Bank and working as a lifeguard in Belmar.

The overall atmosphere of the shore area is changed for the better when vacationers are out of the picture, locals said.

“We got our beach back,” said Carol Taylor of Jackson. “You don’t have to sit here and listen to people talk on their cell phones. It’s just peaceful.”

Local summer arrived in some spots before Labor Day this year, thanks to the holiday landing on the latest day possible.

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