Vacation plans on hold while you follow the oil flow?

We had hoped to return to Orange Beach this summer after the kids had such a great time there last year. However, with all that oil seeping out into the Gulf of Mexico I had kind of decided we would just head to Hilton Head this year – a safer bet. Or so I thought.

But now with fears of oil reaching currents that would bring it around the Florida Keys and up the East coast all of our vacation plans are on hold.

I know vacation plans seem trite when we’ve got a whole ocean and all the little animals in it to be worried about, however I’m sure people are trying to figure out where it’s safe to book for the summer. (Pacific Ocean anyone?) No one wants to lose money they’ve put down on a condo or beach house, especially in this economy.

I did search the City of Orange Beach site and as of the date I was searching no oil had come ashore and they were handling this PR emergency very well. They are posting current photos of the beach and the ocean so people can see how it looks. They are also posting what appear to be almost daily briefings of the ocean’s conditions and what is currently happening on their shore. In one brief that I read, it said the forecast was clear at least for 72 hours. So I guess folks could plan a last-minute vacation and see how things shake out. (Probably less crowded and good rates.)

The AJC ran an earlier article with some tips for planning your vacation with so much uncertainty.

So what is your vacation strategy with this heartbreaking oil spill threatening the beautiful beaches near Georgia? Will you go ahead and book ahead or wait to see where exactly the oil goes and how the clean-up progresses? Are you afraid to book on Gulf coast or the East Coast? What about a trip to the Caribbean? How about heading further up the East coast to Myrtle Beach in South Carolina or Wilmington Beach in North Carolina? How will you determine your best bet for a beach vacation this summer? How long will you wait to book?

158 comments Add your comment

Jeff

May 18th, 2010
7:43 am

Disney with the 7 yo munchkin.

Kathy

May 18th, 2010
7:55 am

Just had our annual trip to St George and it was fabulous!

Photius

May 18th, 2010
8:10 am

Unemployment in Georgia at 10%…. People are scared about losing thier job…. Those who are working are saving like crazy…. Let’s have a blog about suburban WASP’s vacation plans, Caribbean anyone? ZZZZZZZ

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

May 18th, 2010
8:19 am

Photius — that’s why we were excited about going back to Orange Beach — the prices were great!!! so the less expensive vacation would seem riskier to plan for.

and P.S. I’m personally not Protestant. and my husband is Asian.

irisheyes

May 18th, 2010
8:32 am

Yeah, we’re just going to visit family. Furlough days and trying to support a family on a teacher’s salary don’t allow for too many beach vacations.

Becky

May 18th, 2010
8:34 am

We are going to Savannah and KY for long weekends and VA/DC for a week..That’s just me and the kids, we will go to the beach with the husband, just not sure when..

@Photius..All of us are very aware of what you are saying, but that shouldn’t stop people from having some relaxing time away if they can still afford it..We are going to KY, VA and Savannah because we can stay for free in these places..We’ve been to all of them already (except Savannah) and the kids love going there and can’t wait to go back..

JJ

May 18th, 2010
8:36 am

I don’t see why you can’t still go to the beach, just don’t get in the ocean. There’s a ton of things to do out of water.

Michelle

May 18th, 2010
8:44 am

JJ…that’s what I was thinking too…most places have pools these days even though they are beach front! Not everyone likes to get in the ocean!

We are talking about going up to VA Beach (my brother lives there). Some of my other family members are talking about traveling over that way as well, so it would be like a mini family reunion! :o)

T-you could use the vacation as a teaching tool as well!

CNB

May 18th, 2010
8:51 am

We have booked a week in Destin for late July, paid our deposit several months ago and are nervous now about paying the balance due. I say we go anyway and enjoy being away from the daily grind and enjoy the non-beach and sand activities. It’s a time for some R & R.

I appreciate that folks are struggling to afford vacations. Precisely why we are going as a large group and splitting the cost. Makes it a little more affordable.

motherjanegoose

May 18th, 2010
9:10 am

Theresa…,my comment is gone. I had lunch with DB yesterday and she said hers are evaporating frequently. What is going on?

Grumpy

May 18th, 2010
9:14 am

We have a Destin trip planned for the first week in August. We aren’t canceling. Living in fear isn’t living at all.

Richard Alpert

May 18th, 2010
9:14 am

Still headed to St. Lucia for the honeymoon in July!

PTC DAWG

May 18th, 2010
9:15 am

Going to the East Coast of Florida as always..I like waves, big beaches for bike riding and NO crowds…imagine that. :)

Grumpy

May 18th, 2010
9:15 am

JJ, the only problem I can forsee about “just going to the beach” might be the possible smell of oil being too overbearing.

But like I said, I’m not canceling Destin in August. We’ll just see what happens and roll with the punches.

Becky

May 18th, 2010
9:16 am

Congratulations Richard..

JATL

May 18th, 2010
9:16 am

We were going to do Gulf Shores/Orange Beach this year, but even though it looks great now (and I’m REALLY hoping it stays that way), we opted for an old favorite -St. Augustine Beach. I personally love the beach there because you can ride your bike for miles on it -like Hilton Head -and my oldest will really enjoy that. We are also going to take a Disney day trip. There are tons of things to do if the weather is crappy or oil washes up, although we primarily go for the beach. My most recent research into the oil spill hitting the gulf stream and going up the Atlantic Seaboard says it will take months to reach the Atlantic beaches -particularly the north Florida ones. So, hopefully everyone can have a nice vacation no matter where they’ve reserved a spot. The whole thing makes me want to puke!

@Photius -if we all sat back and took a look at the state of things in this world and even around us, and decided that because some have it rough, we shouldn’t vacation or have fun -then no one would ever leave their homes! Also -the people who run tourist-driven businesses at the beach are still reeling from Katrina on the Gulf and all of them EVERYWHERE have to have good summers or they go under. Exactly how would me staying home or not discussing vacation plans on a blog help them?

PTC DAWG

May 18th, 2010
9:17 am

Oh yeah, Photius….you’re negativity is showing…how is that vote for Obama working out? LOL

JATL

May 18th, 2010
9:18 am

@ Richard -10 years ago I had a St. Lucia honeymoon in July and it was incredible! Have a fantastic time! Say -do you have perma-eyeliner by chance and never age? Just wondering…Here’s hoping your love story turns out MUCH better!

john

May 18th, 2010
9:19 am

Go for it…i was just in Destin…it was gorgeous…not hint of oil at all. (For the record, I do not work in Destin, nor have any ties there for you skeptics).

Jim

May 18th, 2010
9:21 am

Beach trip is still planned. As we say, a rainy day at the beach is better than a sunny day in Atlanta.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

May 18th, 2010
9:21 am

MJG — I will look for it as soon as I can — trying to get baby off the potty.

Photius — i want to apologize for my snippiness this morning. read it before any caffeine. sorry

Alecia

May 18th, 2010
9:21 am

Supposedly tar balls washed ashore in the Keys this morning. Does anyone know how far south this will reach? We are all talking about a northward flow. I am considering a spur of the moment trip to Puerto Rico, but cannot find any info on the conditions. Why would anyone pay for a beach vacation and not enjoy the ocean?

Jimmy

May 18th, 2010
9:23 am

We own a beach condo in Gulf Shores. I’ve been watching the NOAA trajectory very day. So far the oil has come no closer than 60 miles and is now drifting south – even curving toward Mexico.
The news media has created the fear and hysteria.

dagnabit

May 18th, 2010
9:25 am

I’ll be going to N. Myrtle Beach in late sept. I don’t get in the ocean either, but I do walk on the beach. I plan on showing up. If the beach is messed up ,I’ll be bitter.

Becky

May 18th, 2010
9:26 am

@Alecia..We go to the beach a lot, but I don’t really get in the water..I just enjoy the “beachy” atmosphere (sp)..

CONDO OWNER

May 18th, 2010
9:30 am

I have seen absolutely no data to indicate the oil spill will ruin anyone’s beach vacation this summer – but running a lead story like this will certinly go a long way toward insuring that the resort/vacation industry along the gulf coast suffers greatly regardless. Let’s just go ahead and yell “fire” so everyone panics.

LaBell

May 18th, 2010
9:31 am

We were in Destin, FL all week last week and the sand was white and the water was clear and warm. Everyone needs to calm down and enjoy their vacations.

Panhandle bound

May 18th, 2010
9:31 am

The panhandle is sitll gorgeous – I’m going!

Hopeful

May 18th, 2010
9:32 am

Still planning to go to Destin in three weeks. Have already paid in full, but was told (in writing) that my money would be refunded if the oil came ashore, thankfully. I know many don’t have that option and I feel for them.

Regarding just going and not getting in the water… yeah, not so much. If the oil came to the shore, it wouldn’t just be a matter of oil in the water. The beaches would be full of people working on the clean up effort, and would be closed to visitors. In places that rely mainly on tourism, many stores would close if the tourists weren’t there. And the smell would be so bad, you’d have to stay indoors the whole time or risk getting sick from it.

So yeah, there’s no such thing as “go, just don’t get in the water.”

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

May 18th, 2010
9:38 am

An AP story about how much the oil is spreading — i will search for more but I have to go to preschool

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/17/oil-spill-florida-keys-sc_n_578318.html

Destin Days

May 18th, 2010
9:40 am

I live and work in Destin in the vacation biz. We are currently feeling no effects of the oil spill. The weather and the water are great! Plan a trip. Take advantage of the spill to get good discounts! Just make sure you can get a refund if the oil begins to affect our area.

JATL

May 18th, 2010
9:40 am

@ CONDO OWNER -I agree. I’ve been following NOAA reports and other scientific reports and while there’s a chance that ALL of the horror predicted can and will happen -they’ve blown it WAY out of proportion (not the spill, but the possible ruination of beaches). I literally heard on the news last night, “You can now add worry about Atlantic beaches to your worry of the gulf coast beaches. Oil is about to enter the gulf stream and be carried up the Atlantic seaboard -so, will this ruin your vacation?” Talk about sensational (and hurtful) “journalism”! Seriously folks -whether you want to do Gulf or Atlantic -check NOAA and other DEPENDABLE, scientific sites! The local news media is sensationalistic and careless.

Mountain Man

May 18th, 2010
9:41 am

Hey Gang – Why not head to the North Georgia mountains instead? Blue Ridge, GA has some incredible cabins to stay in and there are tons of things to do there including water activities on the lake and rivers.

Destin Days

May 18th, 2010
9:45 am

Hopeful. You need to change your name. Not sounding very hopeful. You don’t know what you are saying!. Here in Destin, we are using the fishing fleet of over 600 boats as spotters. When oil is spotted offshore, the Coastguard will be dispatched immediately to clean up, set booms, etc. The amount of oil that will reach our beaches, if any, will be minimal. IF it does come ashore, the sand ill be replaced immediately with clean sand. It will not be cleaned onsite. Quit trying to scare everyone out of a vacation.

GTFan

May 18th, 2010
9:46 am

My husband and I are heading to Penascola, Florida on Friday. Were camping out at Fort Pickens camp site. I am really excited about going because I have never been camping! Penascola is our favorite place, and I am not going to let the drama of this oil spill my vacation. I already have put down the money to reserve it. Besides, if the oil was in Florida it would be all over the news!

GTFan

May 18th, 2010
9:46 am

Vacation Bound

May 18th, 2010
9:48 am

We just returned from Perdido Key and the beach area was beautiful. There was no sign of oil and none is expected. We drove over into Orange Beach and Gulf Shores and the beaches there were also flawless!

dawgma

May 18th, 2010
9:49 am

No oil at all in Destin area – fishing was awesome as usual. 1 55 LB COBIA, 3 GROUPER, AND LOTS OF DINGO SNAPPER.

EVEN BETTER THE BEACHES ARE A LITTLE LESS CROWDED AND THE MERCHANTS ARE GIVING GREAT SERVICE!

Patrick

May 18th, 2010
9:50 am

Still plan on hitting PCB next month no matter what. I won’t have to invest in any Hawaiian Tropic, the oil will already be in the water!!

PTC DAWG- My vote for Obama worked out great!!! Much better than a vote for McCain/Palin would have.

Scott

May 18th, 2010
9:51 am

My wife and I decided to go to Panama City for a long weekend last weekend. We decided to carry forth on the plans we had made before the spill. There were no problems and everything seemed as normal as always.

Linda Abernathy

May 18th, 2010
9:58 am

Just came back Sunday from a week in Gulf Shores/Orange Beach. No oil at all, no oily traces, no oily smells or odors. The beaches were clean and beautiful (and if I could submit a photo, I would). We had a great time with no crowds, no waiting in line for the zoo or at restaurants or anywhere.

Pepper

May 18th, 2010
9:59 am

Santa Rosa beach for July 4, cannot wait.

Chuck

May 18th, 2010
10:00 am

The beaches of St. Simons and Jekyll Islands are the nation’s best-kept secret. These beaches are beautiful and wide, and even during the hottest tourist season from Memorial Day to Labor Day, they are virtually empty compared to destinations like Myrtle, Daytona, and Destin. And besides being hurricane-proof, they are also oil spill proof, as the currents take both straight up the coast from Florida to South Carolina, dodging the tucked-in beaches of Georgia (the westernmost point on the entire east coast).

Yup, I said it

May 18th, 2010
10:00 am

Planning a trip to Panama City, FL mid August, when the rates are a little lower and the kids are back in school…not going to let a little oil scare me. It might even help me get a deeper tan…LOL!

Hey, speaking of which, does anyone have any insight on condo rentals in that area-near Pier Park? We currently have a hotel booked, but I’m trying to stretch a buck and hear that a condo is much nicer than a hotel room.

Go for it guys-enjoy a beach vacation if you can. And I cannot think of a better place to do it than the Fl Panhandle.

CL

May 18th, 2010
10:00 am

Im glad to read these comments. I am a gulf oyster and shrimp lover and was getting depressed that the oil spill might shut down everything I love about the Gulf this summer. I got a little more encouraged when they were able to extract some of the leaking oil on to the ships.

If there is any silver lining in this, I think we will all begin to value all environment a little more than we have (and step up the search for cleaner and more cost effective energy sources), and begin to reappreciate being able to enjoy clean shorelines on all of our coasts

Sun Fun

May 18th, 2010
10:03 am

My family and I have reservations for the Keys in July. Nonrefundable airfare. Can cancel villa res., but am waiting it out. If it gets nasty, guess I’ll have to cut my losses and head Yellowstone.

Becky

May 18th, 2010
10:06 am

@Moutain Man..We have been to the mountains many. many times..Every summer, we go to Helen, Cleveland and Blue Ridge 3-4 times..I would much rather be in the mtns, than at the beach…

DB

May 18th, 2010
10:14 am

We’re not big beach people, so our vacation plans seldom include a beach – we’re more “mountains and lake” folks. We’re out to San Francisco and up to Oregon and Crater Lake later in the summer. We’ve been trying to include as many National Parks as we can over the last 15 years — this country is absolutely amazing in its variety and scenic diversity.

td

May 18th, 2010
10:16 am

Yup, I said it, I have a condo about 3 miles from Pier Park. August is a great time to go. Check out our VRBO page and let me know if you are interested.

http://www.vrbo.com/237204

Turker Slayer

May 18th, 2010
10:21 am

I will try to refrain from blaming the Obama Administration for dropping the ball on this one. I go to the West coast of Florida every year for beach, pool and deep sea fishing. I fear that the beach will be black, sticky and smelly. I won’t be eating any Gulf seafood for some time. BTW I ordered shrimp weeks ago.