“It’s awesome,” said TJ McManus, 28, who came from his home in Brighton to visit the busiest beach for the first time. “It feels like the first day of our summer, especially after the last two weeks of windy misery. I’m just soaking in.
The view from M Street was like in a Boston summer picture book. A group of young men, dressed in floral swimsuits and sunglasses, shared a pack of Harpoon Brewery beers. A young pit bull rolled furiously in the sand. Footballs and baseballs hovered above the crowd.
And some south Boston residents watched the daytime excitement from their porches, a midday activity they’ll likely repeat again and again this summer.
Sal Arria, 78, sat in a beach chair, happily completing a crossword puzzle and watching the crowd. Arria grew up in Dorchester and he said knew this strand when you could only find about 30 sunbathers enjoying the weather, nothing like the crowds that flock here today.
“I’m addicted to coming here now,” Arria said. “In my time, it was a [expletive]. It was deserted. But there is energy now. There is life. No one my age, of course, but still. This is very fun.”
There was also a deep nostalgia for Arria. His wife died two years ago and he remembers going to this beach with her as a teenager, before they dated.
“It brings back memories,” he said, “of the good ones.”
Nick Wlodychak, 30, was unfazed by the sudden jump in temperature.
After all, “this is Boston, isn’t it?” he said.
Wlodychak sat contentedly in a beach chair on Saturday, watching his 5-month-old golden retriever puppy, Rufus, intensely dig the sand beneath him. It was the pup’s first time at the beach, though Wlodychak said many more trips from his south Boston home are expected to follow this summer.
And crowds will have plenty of opportunities to return over the coming week, although temperatures will be more spring-like than summer-like after Saturday.
Alan Dunham, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Norton office, said in a phone interview that temperatures are expected to hover in the 70s for a few days before plunging into the 60s. weekend.
“We still have some time left in the weather spring,” Dunham said, “but it will definitely be a hot week.”
The temperature in Boston reached 86, tying the May 14 record set in 1879, the weather service said. Only Norton and Bedford were hotter on Saturday, both hitting 87, Durnham said.
For many beachgoers, Saturday was a pleasant precursor to the season ahead.
Erin M., for example, who declined to give her last name, dwelt on the hot temperatures of the day as she left the beach.
“Vibes are high for a wild summer,” she said.