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Sandy solace and delightful diversion along Gulf coast beaches
By Tom Adkinson

(Editor’s note: This is one in a series of travel stories spotlighting activities logical for Americans as they venture out in a time of coronavirus.)

gulf coast beach
Morning treasure hunt; image by Tom Adkinson

Whether it is a morning treasure hunt with a metal detector or a socially distanced walk as sunset approaches, as these images from Northwest Florida illustrate, Gulf of Mexico beaches are effective antidotes to the coronavirus pandemic blues.

The Gulf coast has many personalities as it stretches through five states – Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. Although the coast has many often-crowded locations, cautious travelers are able to find quiet spots. Opportunities for at least semi-solitude should increase as autumn progresses and traditional beach visitation wanes in some areas. Many communities have condos and beach houses that permit relative isolation and options for meal preparation away from restaurants. Coastal communities’ convention and visitors bureaus are logical first stops for destination research.

gulf coast afternoon stroll
Afternoon stroll along a Gulf Coast beach; image by Tom Adkinson

Veteran beach visitors know to monitor long-range weather forecasts, a tactic especially true in 2020, when five named hurricanes and tropical storms have struck the Gulf coast. If you’ve ever wondered who names hurricanes, it is a committee of the World Meteorological Organization. It rotates six alphabetized lists, meaning you won’t see any of 2020’s storm names again until 2026. And, yes, some infamous names are permanently retired. That’s why you’ll never see another Hurricane Katrina.

Trip Planning Resources: Trip-planning resources: Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas

(Travel writer Tom Adkinson’s new book, 100 Things To Do in Nashville Before You Die, is available at

Published October 2, 2020

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