Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Gulf Coast beaches update

Workers clean up oil residue earlier this week on Orange Beach, Alabama.
Workers clean up oil residue earlier this week on Orange Beach, Alabama.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Mississippi beaches experienced significant oiling earlier this week
  • No-swimming notice withdrawn for Destin, Florida, beaches
  • Oil affects sections of Pensacola Beach and Perdido Key beaches in Florida
  • Health officials have issued advisory against swimming in Alabama Gulf waters

(CNN) -- As Americans gear up for the Fourth of July weekend, coastal areas affected by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico are working hard to keep beach-bound travelers informed.

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

Northwest Florida

Waters east of the Pensacola Beach fishing pier and on the north side of Santa Rosa Island along the Santa Rosa Sound remain open.

A health advisory has been issued for Gulf waters west of the Pensacola Beach fishing pier to the Alabama state line, according to the Pensacola Bay Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. The advisory includes western Santa Rosa Island and all of Perdido Key. Visitors are urged to avoid contact with oil on shore and in the water.

"We are all heartbroken and concerned about recent impacts from the Deepwater Horizon incident but rest assured the situation on our beaches remains dynamic," said Ed Schroeder, director of Visit Pensacola, in a statement on the bureau's website.

iReport: Share your photos of affected beaches

Video: Hurricane Alex and the oil disaster
RELATED TOPICS

The Okaloosa County Health Department withdrew a health advisory issued June 24 for Destin beaches.

"The oil impacts on our beaches are intermittent and can change within hours or within a day due to the dynamic nature of the currents and changing wind directions," the department's website said.

The department urges visitors to avoid entering the water when oil is present.

Large amounts of oil washing ashore prompted the Walton County Health Department to issue a health advisory Wednesday for beaches in Topsail Hill State Park, according to the area's Tourist Development Council.

"A health advisory does not represent a beach closure or restriction on beach access. Beachgoers are encouraged to exercise personal judgment as conditions can change quickly," the council's website said.

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

iReport: A slick trip to Perdido Key

Oil has not been reported onshore in the state beyond northwest Florida, according to Visit Florida, the state's tourism corporation.

Coastal Alabama

Gulf Shores and Orange Beach 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, and in bay waters close to Fort Morgan, Bayou St. John, Terry Cove, Cotton Bayou and Old River.

Waters off beaches flying double red flags are officially closed.

Last week, the department also issued a no-swimming advisory for Dauphin Island and the Mississippi Sound.

Coastal Mississippi

South Mississippi beaches experienced significant oiling on Sunday and Monday, according to the Mississippi Gulf Coast visitors bureau.

Advisories have been issued for beaches in Jackson and Harrison counties. The beaches are not closed, but state officials "advise people to be aware of their surroundings while recreating." Visitors should avoid contact with oil.

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, and a public health advisory is in effect parkwide.

"If you see or smell oil in the water or on the beach, avoid contact with water and report it to the nearest lifeguard or park ranger," the park service's website said.

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