Gulf vacation on short notice?
August 4, 2021 1:37 PM   Subscribe

We (couple, 40s, no kids) had a vacation planned in 10 days on the gulf coast of Florida near Tampa Bay. Between the Delta situation and the red tide we're thinking about cancelling our Florida hotel and moving north to... Alabama along the gulf? Any suggestions?

We just started looking into this last night -- maybe Gulf Shores, Alabama? Or somewhere else? We're coming from Cincinnati and would like to keep the drive under 12 hours. Priority is hotel with pool, ideally right on the beach. We want to relax by a pool and/or relax on the beach (our booked place in Florida has a great pool which is usually not busy, but we're thinking if no one's at the beach... they'll all be at the pool, and we're trying to keep our distance from others). We like to eat but it'll be all pickup this time around, and we tend to prefer hole in the walls over fancy dining.
posted by jabes to Travel & Transportation around Collier County, FL (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: If COVID is a main concern, I don't know that gulf coast Alabama is much better than Florida right now. Link.
posted by augustimagination at 1:43 PM on August 4, 2021 [10 favorites]

Response by poster: We've both been vaccinated and are not planning to interact with anyone else except when necessary (and masked - no eating in restaurants, no bars, etc.)... the Florida trip was still going to happen before we started hearing the red tide updates and dead fish/maggot covered beaches reports. So getting out of red tide area is the priority, we're planning on being as safe as possible re COVID.
posted by jabes at 1:47 PM on August 4, 2021

Best answer: It's a COVID sh*t-show in Gulf Coast Alabama right now ... we have people waiting in cars for 4-5 hours at the urgent care and the county you would visit has the highest rates in the state. We want you to visit, but tbh this is not a good time.

But if you're definitely coming, you can at least be assured that the beaches are pretty and there are no dead fish!
posted by mccxxiii at 1:48 PM on August 4, 2021 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Gulf Shores or Pensacola Beach would be good choices. But yeah, just be aware that in 10 days the hospitals everywhere on the Gulf Coast will be very very full and you'll have limited options if you have a medical emergency. Maybe consider postponing for a month or two.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 2:04 PM on August 4, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Have you considered going to a Georgia, South Carolina, or North Carolina beach instead. Covid rates aren't as high as Florida, red tide is not an issue on Atlantic coast now. I know schools in Savannah just started today so smaller crowds at beach there.
posted by mareli at 2:23 PM on August 4, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Georgia is getting worse. Travel is really more dangerous simply because the hospitals are filling, as well as the covid threat.
posted by tiny frying pan at 2:36 PM on August 4, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You know how it would be in bad taste to go on vacation someplace that just had a natural disaster? Any additional people in Alabama right now aren't helping. More cars on the ride means more car accidents, etc. The natural disaster is in progress. Mobile and Baldwin Counties have the highest rates of daily new cases by population size in the entire state, more than 100 new cases per 100,000 people each day. The daily rates in Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties in Florida (the Tampa Bay area) are high at about 60 per 100,000 people, but lower than the Gulf Coast in Alabama.

Some spots in North Carolina and South Carolina are a bit better, and Virginia even more so. But how about a beach on a lake near you? Or a really nice hotel in a nice city with a pool? Surely you could find a hotel with a nice pool in New York, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, etc.
posted by bluedaisy at 5:45 PM on August 4, 2021 [8 favorites]

Best answer: Update to my previous post: Baldwin County Alabama, where you would visit for Alabama beaches, has ZERO open ICU beds. NONE. The two hospitals are at 111% and 161% ICU capacity.

I know you're not planning to go on vacation to end up in the ICU, but consider that statistic a snapshot of how things are going here. If you get into a car wreck and need trauma care, you'd be in trouble.

Please plan a trip to our beautiful Gulf beaches next year, and maybe try something on the Atlantic coast right now?
posted by mccxxiii at 6:07 PM on August 4, 2021 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: Thank you all, you're all wonderful human beings and I appreciate you taking the time to respond and give me a dose of reality about COVID in Alabama. We'd just started exploring non-Florida ideas when I posted this question and you all quickly made me realize that it was a Bad Idea. We've cancelled our booked Florida hotel and are exploring a drive out East somewhere, maybe a hybrid city/hotel pool vacation.
posted by jabes at 6:04 AM on August 5, 2021 [2 favorites]

You can comfortably reach a LOT of nice beaches on the Atlantic Coast from Cincinnati. North to south, Wildwood Crest or Cape May in NJ, Dewey or Rehoboth in Delaware, Virginia Beach, and most of the Outer Banks in NC are within your radius.

I don't care for Ocean City, MD and dont have experience with a lot of the NJ shore towns, but they are very popular.

You can probably just look at a hotel aggregator and filter for beachside and pool. And all of these places are WAY less COVID than FL or AL, generally less the further north you go. If you want it to be more deserted, look where the kids will already be back at school.
posted by foodmapper at 2:11 PM on August 5, 2021

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