Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill – How will it affect your Gulf Coast beach vacation and ways you can help

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.

Beach chairs at Seaside Community flickr image by UGArdner

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.

Oil Slick Near Mississippi Delta May 1st View Flickr Image Copyright NASA Goddard Photo and Video

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.

Other State Sites: Mississippi, Alabama, Florida

Do you live near the Gulf Coast? Are you planning a vacation to this area? Please share your thoughts and updates.

Similar Posts


  1. For the past 6 months we’ve been planning our multigenerational family vacation to the Florida Panhandle. We’ve booked our condo and set tentative plans for daily activites including deep sea fishing, swimming with the dolphins, and lounging on the sugar white beaches. We still have time to cancel our condo and get a full refund.. but unfortunately, I’ve been unable to find other lodgings on the Ocean side of Florida, prices are double what we’ve paid already, and the majority of resonable priced condos are booked. We will have to have a family discussion to decide what we will do.

  2. We’re leaving Wisconsin to travel to the Gulf on Tuesday. We’ve gone every year for the past 8 years or so and won’t let the oil spill stop us. We didn’t let Katrina stop us either. Yes, it was depressing and sad to see the devestation but felt it was the least we could do to support the economy. There will still be plenty to do on land but if they’ve cancelled some of the “water” tours it will be disappointing. But I’m hoping that every dollar we spend as tourists will be an encouragement to the businesses that once again will be hard hit. Biloxi, Bay of St Louis and New Orleans are on the itinerary. It doesn’t sound as though the beachfronts have been hit yet but guess we’ll find out when we get there.

  3. Great post about tourism and keeping your vacation plans going even with the tragic oil spill! Other on shore activities can keep those plans intact. All of our favorite places will be welcoming us. Enjoy the pools, good food, water parks, inland fishing with a local guide. Take the kids to volunteer with local organizations and give back where needed. I plan on visiting our fav old haunts spill or no spill.

  4. I’m an Alabama native and I’ve spent my entire life visiting all the beautiful Gulf states and their beaches. My best childhood memories come from spending time in a 1950’s era beach front cottage on Panama City Beach with my mom,sis and granny. Then, as a teenager, my best friend’s parents owned a trailer in Destin. Wow ! Talk about freedom ! We would pack the Ford Galaxy with kids and drive all night to get there ASAP. We just could’nt wait to begin our sun burns. Now, as a mom, we go every year to one of the Panhandle beaches. I paid my deposit before the tragic oil spill and I still plan on going in July.
    There are NO other beaches that can compare to the Gulf Coast !

  5. Hi I live on the beach in Orange Beach Alabama and do a live report on beach conditions and the oil spill effects for Ornge Beach, Gulf Shores and Fort Morgan daily. You can find me on You Tube by entering oil spill Gulf Shores or oil spill Orange Beach also on CNN at IReport. Any questions send me an email

  6. Great to remind people that there are many attractions in the area.
    I can hardly believe that this catastrophe has gone on this long.

Comments are closed.