LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com)  —  Saturday marked the first day of summer and all around the Southland people enjoyed the heat and sunshine.

CBS2’s Art Barron found plenty of families out and about and barbecuing and soaking up the rays.

At Santa Monica Beach, Barron said it was the perfect setting —  sun, sand and surf.

He talked to two tourists from Sydney, Australia where it is currently winter.

“Kinda getting good vibes, and hanging on the beach to get a good feeling,” said tourist Luke Pears.

“When we left it was cold and raining,” said Sam Dixon, Pears’ traveling companion. “Fifteen degrees and rain. It’s much more pleasant here.”

This is also the longest day of the year — officially 14 hours and 26 minutes long.

At the Griffith Observatory, the first day of summer is measured by shadow at the meridian arc.

“We’re wanting our kids to get interested in the solar system, space and the planets and everything,” said Natalie Lalone.

Observatory Curator Dr. Laura Danly says the sun is at its highest point in the sky on this day.

The first day of summer also serves as a reminder that we live in fire country and California has had a severe drought.

“As we enter the summer season here, there are going to be more red flag days, and we’ll be prepared as we do normally with our aircraft program,” said Captain Jay Fernandez with LA County Fire.

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