Florida Coastline Still Open for Sunbathing

The Sunshine State is gearing up for the busy summer tourism season, and, despite the growing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, tourism boards across Florida are reminding travelers that its coastline is still open for business. Speculation about possible devastation has caused travelers to cancel trips to Florida, though oil has yet to hit any of the state's beaches.

Several destinations in Florida are trying to get the word out that it's safe to fish, dive, swim, or partake in any other watersports, and seafood is still safe to eat. The Florida Keys tourism bureau's website and Panama City Beach's website are keeping travelers informed with up-to-date information about the oil spill in relation to the areas, reminding tourists that currents will likely keep the spill off beaches. And destinations on the Atlantic coast, such as Miami and West Palm Beach, are even more protected. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection also has a website with the latest information.

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Does this mean you can snag a bargain to the Sunshine State, or at least avoid throngs of tourists and have miles of beach to yourself? Perhaps. Many travelers are opting to reschedule their vacations in areas such as Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Galveston Island, Texas.

Other areas seeing a turndown in tourism include Dauphin Island, Alabama, as well as the states of Mississippi and Louisiana. Even San Francisco, as far away as it is from the spill, is worried about visitors' reluctance to eat seafood.

If you're looking to help, BP has a volunteer hotline, and LA Gulf Response also has ways to volunteer and make donations.

Do you have plans to vacation in areas that may be affected by the oil spill, and, if so, will you make alternate plans or stick to your original itinerary for now? Leave a comment below.

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