(REHOBOTH BEACH, Del.) - Officials say a record nine million people visited the state of Delaware in 2016.

Tourism officials have done their part to take advantage of being close to Philadelphia, New York, Baltimore, and Washington.

"We're close to roughly 30 percent of the US population, which is a great market to pull from," said Scott Thomas of Southern Delaware Tou.rism

The state made over $500 million because of visitors, which saves each household about $1,400 in taxes, and visitors could have a permanent impact on the economy.

"It might be people looking to relocate, not just residentially, but even with their business," Thomas added.

Sussex County boasts, not just beaches, but fine dining, and maybe most importantly protection of the environment and natural resources.

"The plantings have been made, you know, of the beach grasses. it's a sheltered walk now," said a visitor from New York.

"It creates not only a good thing ecology and economically because of the many businesses here in Sussex County that are depending on that," Thomas said

Everybody knows how special Delaware beaches are in the summertime but for many, even on a rainy day in February, this is the place to be.

In all, visitors contributed visitors contributed over $3 billion to Delaware's gross domestic product in 2016.