WAUPACA, Wis. (WFRV) - What better place to spend a hot summers day than at the beach?
"I've been coming here the last few days," 10 year old Milo Marcelja.
"The dock is really fun, you do flips and stuff," 11 year old Nathaniel Menchaca said.
With dozens of lakes near Waupaca, it's always been a hot spot for tourists from around the state and the Chicago area. But this summer's extreme heat and dry conditions are driving even more people into the area.
"When that first heat wave came, we saw a lot of people calling and coming into town and looking for things to see and do," explained Jeff Anderson, Tourism Director for the Waupaca Area Chamber of Commerce.
Anderson said, so far, tourism numbers are far exceeding last year. He also credits the uptick in visitors to the mild spring. Warmer temperatures in March and April got things going a lot earlier this year.
"Especially with our Chain O' Lakes being spring-fed," said Anderson. "It's not greatly affected by water levels and the dry weather. Our water levels are a little bit lower than average, but still passable with our canoe and kayak opportunities."
Bruce Becker welcomes the increased traffic on the waterways. He owns Becker Marine, a boat rental and sales shop on Lime Kiln Lake.
"Just because of the weather," Becker said. "I think it's been up 10% to 15% from last year, both sales and rentals."
Becker said, most days, his entire inventory of pontoon and ski boats gets rented out.
"This is ideal," he added. "Sometimes it can get a little too hot, but anything 70 to 90 degrees is perfect."
"Absolutely," agreed Anderson. "Keep the summer sun shining!"
Anderson said restaurants and shops in the area are also seeing the increase in tourists.