Even though some of the waters off Alabama’s Gulf Coast are closed to swimmers doesn’t mean you still can’t enjoy the area.
“The beaches aren’t closed,” says Kim Shumack, public relations manager with the Alabama Gulf Coast CVB
. “You can come out and enjoy the sand; build sandcastles, play Frisbee, go walking and more.”
“We are encouraging travelers to come and vacation here.”
To assist travelers, the CVB has set up a separate site, The Beach Facts
that features continuously updated information through content, YouTube videos
showing the status of the beaches, and visitors’ photos
showing “the good and the bad,” according to Shumack.
Katie Spratlin, sales and marketing manager with Compass Marketing
and Coast 360
, says they understand the hesitation, but with 32-miles of sandy beaches, the conditions change daily.
“The oil sightings range from heavy to spotty in some areas to non-existent in others, on any given day,” she says. “And clean-up crews work diligently to clean up affected areas as soon as possible, some even working through the night.”
Much like the CVB, Coast 360 is “definitely encouraging vacationers to keep their plans to visit Gulf Shore and Orange Beach.”
“There is so much to see and do off the beach as well, should the need arise,” says Spratlin.
With the rivers and back bays to nature and wildlife preserves, there is still something for the outdoor enthusiast
to enjoy. She also adds Gulf State Park
is home to campground areas, golf, Lake Shelby (perfect for swimming and boating) and numerous fishing holes, not to mention, it is the only Gulf-front state park in Alabama. Little Lagoon
is another getaway where visitors can swim and boat to their hearts content.
“Families will enjoy visiting places like Waterville USA
, The Track
, Adventure Island
and so much more. And for food-lovers, you can’t pick a more perfect vacation destination.”
She recommends dining at local restaurants such as LuLu’s at Homeport Marina
, Tacky Jacks
and The Hangout
, which “provide fun and energetic dining atmospheres often accompanied with live music.” Other well-known hotspots include DeSoto’s
, King Neptunes
and the Tin Top
that “serve the best seafood dishes prepared on the Gulf Coast.”
Captain Chris Nelson with Alabama Kayak Adventures
agrees there still quite a bit do in the area.
“They’re still running sailboats in the inner bays, dolphin cruises are taking place, and you can still go fishing inshore. Places like the zoo
and Alligator Alley
are open as well.”
He takes visitors out regularly on eco-tours
in waters not anywhere near the oil spill. Not only is this an opportunity to enjoy the backwaters of the area, but also a chance to spot a dolphin or two; or even a manatee (Nelson says there’s around 30 resident dolphins and 13 resident manatees) while on tour but there’s no guarantee. It’s worth taking a chance and discovering a new part of Alabama’s Gulf Coast.
Keep your current plans or make some plans to visit Alabama’s Gulf Coast this summer. There’s something for everyone to make a memorable summer vacation.
There are deals aplenty waiting for you along Alabama’s Gulf Coast. Many properties are offering guarantees as well.
photo credit: Sunglasses and towel, flickr, creative commons by ljfullofgrace