Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Gulf Coast beaches update

A beachgoer takes photos where oil has come ashore on Okaloosa Island in Florida.
A beachgoer takes photos where oil has come ashore on Okaloosa Island in Florida.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • All of Florida's beaches are open, including tourist hot spots Panama City and Pensacola
  • Sporadic tar balls and a milky sheen have been reported on Perdido Key
  • Health officials have issued advisory against swimming in Alabama Gulf waters
RELATED TOPICS

(CNN) -- The oil spill on the Gulf Coast has states and visitors bureaus working hard to keep the public updated and reassure beach-bound travelers.

Here are some of the latest updates from destinations affected by the oil disaster:

Northwest Florida

The beaches in Fort Walton Beach, Destin and Okaloosa Island are open to the public and the air quality is good, according to the Emerald Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau, which represents the three destinations.

"Depending on the wind direction, tar balls may float ashore in Destin or Ft. Walton Beach later in the week, but cleaning crews are standing by," the bureau's website said.

Small to moderate-size tar balls continue to wash up on some beaches of south Walton County, but the impact has been isolated and all 15 beach communities remain open, according to the Walton County Tourist Development Council's website.

Meanwhile, small scattered tar balls and oil patches have affected Panama City Beach, but the beaches are open and the swimming is still safe, the area's visitors bureau website said.

"Our sugary white sand beaches are open for the enjoyment of our guests and, as of now, we are seeing only intermittent impact," according to the bureau.

iReport: Share your photos of affected beaches

The beaches of Pensacola Beach and Perdido Key are open for swimming, but sporadic tar balls and a milky sheen have been reported on Perdido Key, according to the Pensacola Bay Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

"Skimmer vessels respond to reports of oil sightings as needed. In addition, clean-up crews will be working on beaches at night when temperatures are cooler," the bureau's website said.

iReport: A slick trip to Perdido Key

Last week, the Escambia County Health Department rescinded a health advisory that had been issued for beaches stretching from the Florida-Alabama border to the entrance of the Perdido Unit of the Gulf Islands National Seashore.

Government officials said that there was no oil sheen or oil slick observed in the water from the high-water mark out to 100 yards from shore.

Dime-size to 5-inch tar balls continue to wash up in widely scattered areas of northwest Florida, but all of the state's beaches remain open, according to Visit Florida, the state's tourism corporation.

Gulf Islands National Seashore

All of the Gulf Islands National Seashore sites, which are in Florida and Mississippi, are open, the National Park Service's website said.

But several spots have been affected by the oil spill.

On Santa Rosa Island, a clean-up was under way where light mousse -- a frothy oil-water mixture -- made landfall. Significant tar balls washed ashore near Opal Beach and oil sheen was approaching Opal's shoreline.

"Response efforts include the constant surveillance for oil on the water," the website said.

Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama

Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama, have experienced significant oiling, according to the Alabama Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau.

"The beaches are open and visitors are still welcome to sunbathe and walk the beach, but we strongly suggest they swim in a pool or enjoy our many off-beach activities," the site said.

The Alabama Department of Public Health has issued an advisory against swimming in waters off Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan or in bay waters close to Fort Morgan, Bayou St. John, Terry Cove, Cotton Bayou and Old River.

Grand Isle, Louisiana

The oil's biggest impact in Louisiana is on the portion of the coast from the mouth of the Mississippi River extending east, according to a state emergency website.

"Most of the Louisiana Gulf Coast, 70 percent, is unaffected by the oil spill and remains open for commercial and recreational fishing," according to the Cajun Coast Visitors and Convention Bureau website.

Grand Isle has closed its public beach, the site said.

Oil disaster: Tracking the numbers
Part of complete coverage on
Impact Your World: How to help
A number of organizations are recruiting volunteers to help clean up coastal areas
Depths of the disaster
Get the numbers, see the images and learn how the worst U.S. oil spill has changed lives, ruined economies and more.
iReport: Gulf journals
These stories help us look into the lives of the hardworking people of the Gulf as they watch this disaster take its toll.
Send your photos, videos
Is your area being affected by the spill? Help CNN track the oil slick and its effects on Gulf Coast communities and wildlife
Map: What's been hit
Interactive map locates oil sightings and stories
Daily developments
How big is the slick? What's being affected? What's being done?
Timeline
Track the major developments of the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico
Berms, booms, blowouts: Glossary
Breaking down the jargon of the disaster