Resources for Gulf Coast travelers

Gulf Coast states east of Texas are offering information on destinations that may be affected by the oil spill. Some beaches have been soiled, but most hotels, attractions and historic sites remain open, both along the coast and inland. Here are resources for status reports:

Louisiana: New Orleans, 100 miles inland, is untouched by oil. For updated information on areas affected by the spill, plus phone numbers for tourism information from coastal parishes, access http://oilspill.louisiana travel.com/office-tourism- update.

Mississippi: The Mississippi Gulf Coast is open. Visitors can get special offers and coupons for discounts from a large number of coastal lodgings, restaurants and casinos. Details: http://www.visitmscoast.org.

Alabama: Gulf Shores and Orange Beach have tar balls and odor in some areas, but most of the oil is being removed quickly. The Alabama Department of Public Health has issued a swimming advisory in waters off Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan. Swimming is not banned, but individuals are discouraged from swimming in the ocean. Beaches are open for sunbathing and walking. Details: http://www.gulfshores.com (click “Oil spill update”).

Mobile Bay and Dauphin Island are open. The Dauphin Island shuttle service is temporarily closed. Summer sightseeing cruises at Bellingrath Gardens and Home have been canceled; the boat used for the cruises is ferrying clean-up crews. Home and gardens tours are available. Details: http://www.mobile baytravelup dates.com.

Florida: Northwest Florida is the only area in the state now experiencing oiling from the spill. Here are websites for major destinations in the area:

Destin area – Links to oil-spill update for Destin and Okaloosa County, beach-condition photos, seafood status and Florida map at http://www.destinchamber.com.

Pensacola area: http://www.visitpensacola.com/ content/oil-spill-update.

Coastal overview: http://www.deepwaterhorizon response.com and http://www.geoplatform.gov/ gulfresponse.

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