OCEAN CITY, N.J. (KDKA) — Many of the communities hardest hit by Superstorm Sandy are popular vacation destinations for Pittsburgh families.

But the locals who live in work there say they plan to be ready, back up and running, when the tourist start returning for the next summer season.

“It’s a big decision to leave your home and worry about what you’re going to find when you come back.,” said Gigi Kirshbaumer, a resident of Ocean City, N.J.

They were forced to flee their homes ahead of the storm’s landfall, and came back Wednesday to find their power off, their basements flooded and their streets full of salt water and sand.

“It’s very eerie; it’s bizarre; it’s surreal,” said Ocean City local Brantly Cesanek. “Just muck covering everything. It’s nasty.”

The boardwalk itself was relatively unscathed and some of the favorite haunts of vacationers, Manco & Manco Pizza, Kohr Bros. Frozen Custard and Johnson’s Popcorn, survived.

But the Wonderland Amusement Park took a big hit and the beach itself is less than half of its former self.

Just how much beach that was lost is absolutely staggering. Up until Sunday, the dunes actually reached up to the boardwalk, but now it’s all been washed away.

The priority is to get the power back on and students back to school.

“It’s pretty bad,” added Kirsten Kirschbaumer, another Ocean City resident. “Some of the streets are actually really bad, and I’ve never seen anything like it.”

But the folks there say Ocean City will be ready for you next summer

“We’ll be ready for them,” said Nancy Aiken, a bed and breakfast owner in Ocean City.” We need our business.”

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