22 Jun 2020
What is June Grass in Florida?
The Emerald Coast in known for sugar-white sand beaches and crystal clear water, but sometimes the warm Gulf temperatures bring June Grass to our shoreline. Although it’s harmless to humans and necessary for our ecosystem, this unappealing algae can be a nuisance to beachgoers in Destin and the surrounding communities. So what is June Grass exactly? Here is everything you need to know in preparation for your upcoming vacation to the Gulf Coast:
What is June Grass?
Florida June Grass, scientifically named Cladophora , is floating marine algae that is present on the Panhandle beaches in June and other warm months. As the water temperature rises, it migrates from the center of the Gulf of Mexico and makes its way inland. It’s not actually grass, but this bright green algae can carpet the sand creating a grass-like appearance.
As this article explains, “It’s ecology at work. It is the beach nourishing itself.” June Grass is necessary for the environment, marine life and our beautiful white sand beaches. It’s just something we have to put up with in order to enjoy our stunning coastline!
Is it Safe to Swim When June Grass is Present?
Yes! Florida June Grass is not harmful to beachgoers. Although the water and sand don’t look as pretty when this algae is present, it is safe to go for a swim and enjoy your favorite beach day activities. When there are minimal amounts, you’ll just come across isolated clumps that aren’t bothersome at all. Other times, it’s very thick and slimy feeling when you swim through it.
Ultimately, it’s not the most pleasant experience, but it won’t hurt you or your family members. Just be warned—you may accidently take some back to your vacation rental and find it in your hair or swimsuit when you go to shower off at the end of the day!
What is that Smell?
Have you ever arrived at the beach, stepped out of your car and wondered, “What is that nasty smell?!” If the answer is yes, then you have probably experienced Florida June Grass. When it washes ashore and bakes in the sun, it causes a rotting smell that isn’t ideal for visitors or locals looking to enjoy a day at the beach. However, this is a necessary occurrence for the beaches, so it isn’t cleaned up.
Will There be June Grass During My Vacation to Destin or 30A?
Your guess is as good as ours! It’s hard to predict when June grass will be present, but it can sporadically appear as early as June and last until October when the water begins to cool down. It comes and goes during the summer months, so it’s impossible to plan your vacation around it.
If you’re curious about current conditions, check out The June Grass Report . It is a blog that shares crowdsourced information about the appearance of Florida June Grass at your favorite beaches, tips for avoiding it and answers other frequently asked questions about what is June grass. Visitors will share information about where they were and how prevalent June Grass was at that location.
How Can I Avoid Florida June Grass?
While the only foolproof way to avoid June Grass is by not going to the beach at all, there are a few things to keep in mind to minimize your chances of encountering it.
June Grass seems to be more prevalent when there’s a freshwater input nearby. This includes coastal dune lakes, bays and rivers, which bring nutrients to the Gulf and “feed” the June Grass.
The wind direction can also affect the presence of June Grass. North winds can help push it off the beach whereas a southern wind will push it further onto the shore. For more suggestions on how to avoid it, check out these tips from The June Grass Report.
Hopefully you will no longer be asking “What is June Grass?” next time you see this bright-green algae on your favorite Panhandle beaches. While June Grass isn’t ideal for beachgoers, it won’t ruin your trip to the Emerald Coast. You can still enjoy stunning views, Florida sunshine and other family-friendly activities like shopping, dining and sunbathing by the pool. Ready for your Gulf Coast getaway? Contact My Vacation Haven to find the perfect vacation rental for you and your family! We have vacation rentals all along the coast, from Destin to 30A, and would love to host your next trip.