DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -

For thousands of people who flocked to the World's Most Famous Beach on the Fourth of July holiday, their time in the sand was just what they needed.

"The key is to get in and get in early," Fred Rucker said.

Rucker got to the beach about 9 a.m., but other late risers didn't have it so easy.

"We are just full. We have no parking and had to close some beach approaches as early as 10:30 this morning because of parking," Volusia County Beach Patrol Captain Tammy Marris said.

Marris said the Fourth of July holiday is like the Superbowl for lifeguards. They were fully staffed and expecting huge crowds, but they were still surprised by the large turnout Wednesday.

Marris said at least four of the main beach approaches were closed for most of the day.

Drivers packed their patience searching for parking spots on and off the beach, but everyone agreed the wait was well worth it.

"It's a little congested coming in. It's backed up, but once you get on, you're good to go," Caroline Dunn said.

Marris expected similar sized crowds for the weekend, and urged families planning on coming out to the beach to come early.