OCEAN CITY, New Jersey (WPVI) -- A small preseason crowd soaked in the sun on Wednesday, dreaming about another summer at the Jersey shore.
"Coming up to the boardwalk, especially in the evening, or biking on the boards in the morning," said Laura Malt of Charlotte, North Carolina as she enjoyed some ice cream on the boardwalk.
In Ocean City, businesses like the Sifting Sands Motel are making sure things are ready for the rush of visitors to come.
A crew power washed the pool area and the outside of the motel on Wednesday afternoon.
"We will get reservations at the end of this year for next summer," said Linda Raiser at the front desk.
She says there are still vacancies for this summer, adding weather often plays a role in last-minute bookings.
On Wednesday, Stockton University held its annual "Jersey Shorecast," predicting trends for the summer season.
"All signs look good for a positive season at the Jersey shore," said Jane Bokunewicz, PhD, of the Levinson Institute of Gaming Hospitality and Tourism at Stockton University.
Among the biggest challenges last summer: labor.
Last summer in Atlantic City, casino hospitality workers negotiated a new contract and a raise.
"I think the increase in the wages is going to help a little bit so it's more attractive to take a job in housekeeping than it ever was before," said Bokunewicz.
But smaller businesses also struggled to find workers.
At the brand-new Capo Strada Italian Street Food on 9th Street in Ocean City, they say they're willing to pay for experience and willing to train those with none.
"We don't have many employees right now. The employees we do have are pretty skilled professionals," said manager James McKissick. "But we'll take anybody. If they have no experience I'd love to have them come in and teach them what to do."
With soaring airline prices, experts are confident that people will keep looking for drivable vacations, which bodes well for the shore this summer.