Southern Living Beach Watch

May 20, 2010 | By | Comments (9)

Despite what we're seeing on the news these days, we're getting reports that so far, much of the coast is clear. This weekend, our staffers visited different parts of the Gulf coast, from Mississippi to Florida, and discovered that while seaside communities are taking smart measures to protect their beaches from the oil spill, many of them are still beautiful and vacation-ready. 

"Vendors are actually quite frustrated because the beach is fine, but people are cancelling their trips," says associate travel editor Jennifer Cole, who spent the weekend in Fairhope, Alabama.  

 Photo: Seaside Beach, courtesy of Lynn Nesmith (

In fact, some of the beaches are actually in better shape right now, thanks to anticipatory cleanup measures. "Volunteers have scoured Dauphin Island’s beaches to do a massive cleaning in preparation for when and if the oil hits," says Kelby Linn, a Dauphin Island Chamber of Commerce board member. “For now, the water is bright blue, and the beaches have never looked so good.”
Associate travel editor Amy Bickers says the same about Orange Beach, Alabama. “I spent last weekend at the Hangout Music Festival in Gulf Shores and stayed at a hotel just down the highway in Orange Beach,” Amy says. “The beaches were pristine.”
Senior Writer Valerie Fraser Luesse visited the Mississippi Coast and says: "These people have been through a lot and are still rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina, so they’re watchful but hopeful. We drove Highway 90 (Beach Boulevard), which skirts the beach all the way from Biloxi to Pass Christian, and didn’t see anything but a great view. Downtown Ocean Springs was gorgeous. And ‘Old Town’ Bay St. Louis, which is the downtown area on the waterfront, was holding a festival. It’s great to see these folks making a comeback.”

 Photo: Seaside Beach, courtesy of Lynn Nesmith (

Lynn Nesmith, a former Southern Living editor who is lucky enough to call Seaside, Florida, home, sent us these gorgeous shots yesterday from her backyard beach. "What can I say? It’s another picture-perfect day in Seaside!” Lynn says.

I'm headed to Key West today and will keep my eyes peeled for tar balls or any other signs of the spill. 


  1. Timberland Boot Store

    thanks for your article,like your blog very much,well done

    March 6, 2012 at 10:51 am
  2. Gina Gregory

    I wish other media outlets would check out the beaches for themselves so that people could get the real story about our beaches. Thanks so much Southern Living for what you’re doing.

    May 26, 2010 at 4:03 pm
  3. Luanne Burnett

    Thank you for your favorable blog. Orange Beach and Gulf Shores, Alabama are absolutely beautiful. Our sugar-white beaches are clean, the Gulf of Mexico is sparkling blue and the air has the sweet smell of saltwater it has always had.

    May 24, 2010 at 2:23 pm
  4. Pristine Properties Cape San Blas, FL

    Thank you Southern Living for spreading the good word. Beaches are open and beautiful! It’s so nice to have you guys come to the location you are reporting about whether than reporting from behind desks hundreds of miles away!

    May 24, 2010 at 2:07 pm
  5. Kym Trogdon, Moonspinner Condominium Rental Manager

    I beleive it is very important to let the public and all of our past guest know that our beach here in Panama City Beach is crystal clear with no signs of any oil remains.

    May 23, 2010 at 12:32 pm
  6. David Walter

    I visited Moonspinner Condos in PCB from May 4th till May 16th. Everything was beautiful. I would not have known about the problems with oil had I not listened to the news. PCB looked and smelled as it has since 1982 when I firist visited the place. Come on down. Water and beach are great.

    May 23, 2010 at 10:28 am
  7. Sissy Pierce

    We spent a few days this week at our condo at Gulf Shores Plantation near Ft. Morgan. Everything is beautiful; no trouble in our little corner of paradise.

    May 22, 2010 at 4:52 pm
  8. Kate Wilkes

    Thank you Southern Living!! The Florida Gulf Coast beaches are more beautiful than ever. Navarre Beach is definately “Open for Business!.

    May 21, 2010 at 4:45 pm
  9. Kathi Lloyd

    Thank you Southern Living for passing on this valuable information. Moonspinner Condos, “Where the Beach and Nature Meet” is located adjacent to St. Andrews State Park on Panama City Beach, FL. If it weren’t for the news, we wouldn’t have a clue there was an oil spill.

    May 21, 2010 at 3:36 pm

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