The US Gulf Coast is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the US, if not the world. I’ve personally made lasting family memories that include beaches from each state along the Gulf of Mexico. As a toddler, my parents would take me to Biloxi Beach for an afternoon of making sand castles. As a tween I experienced my first moments of being able to explore a beach hotel on my own. The teen years are full of memories with multi-family trips, complete with groups of moms singing Margaritaville on a balcony, legendary frozen concoction in hand, as we kids laughed at our mothers until tears ran down our eyes. I also spent my senior trip on one of those beaches.
I remember an early Louisiana morning where I joined my soon-to-be husband and his friend as we all went fishing down in Venice, Louisiana. When we became parents, we continued the Gulf Coast beach vacation tradition, sometimes meeting relatives, other times just us. I even took a girlfriend getaway on one of those beaches, getting one of my best friends some much needed Mama Time.
Hurricanes have left their mark on all of these coastal communities since before they were even recorded. Homes were flattened. Communities destroyed. Our fragile coastal wetlands and their ecosystems have barely survived. Now the Gulf Coast faces a disaster of another kind – an oil spill.
We’ve gotten many emails from readers asking how the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico will affect their beach vacations. At this point, no one is sure, however this disaster will affect more than just those going to the beach for a week. This will affect the price of goods that you use and the future of much wildlife and marine animals’ longevity, as well as plant species.
Consumers should keep their plans to visit the Gulf Coast for a family vacation. By cancelling already booked trips, it can cause a chain reaction making many of these destinations suffer further in this already tough economic time. There is no way to predict at this point how the Deepwater Horizon oil spill will affect your vacation. Your beach experience may not be what you were hoping for. However, there are swimming pools, water parks, attractions, restaurants, and other natural areas to visit during your family beach vacation.
How You Can Help
Many Gulf States have issued volunteer information and updates about their particular areas. If you are concerned about oil spill impact or you want to help, here are some resources to assist you in making an informed decision. If you are not local, don’t be a burden to an already affected area. Being a volunteer can offer great personal satisfaction, but your assistance may not be needed in a particular area. Check ahead before you travel a long distance.
Oil Spill Volunteers – This independent website is working with local areas to connect individuals and group with volunteer opportunities. Keep in mind that there are safety concerns. Many communities offering volunteer training, which may be required before lending a helping hand. It was organized by two Ocean Springs, MS residents in an effort to assist areas impacted.
Brett Robinson Vacations – This company maintains a large number of beachfront vacation rentals. They are providing ongoing updates regarding the beach areas and environment surrounding the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach areas of Alabama’s Gulf Coast.
Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill – Deepwater Horizon is the name of the rig which suffered an explosion and subsequent oil spill into the Gulf of Mexico. The website offers updates, as well as facts and a timeline of the incident. It was launched by the US Federal Government as an informational resource regarding the response of the incident.
CDC Toxin FAQ – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a Fuel Oil and Petroleum Toxins FAQ in response to the number of concerned citizens calling with questions.
Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) – When the incident occurred, Governor Bobby Jindal took action to access the effects of the oil on Louisiana’s wildlife and coast. Louisiana’s emergency operations website has been a wealth of information for all those possibly impacted by this disaster. This is the most comprehensive information provided by a Gulf Coast State and kudos to whoever is running their social media campaign. Live updates are being tweeted from @GOHSEP.
Do you live near the Gulf Coast? Are you planning a vacation to this area? Please share your thoughts and updates.