JUNE 24, 2010


As Summer Kicks Into High Gear, Alabama Families Look For Places To Keep Cool

By the calendar, the first official day of summer was last weekend. The longest day of the year is June 21, and it marks the beginning of the summer season.

According to the thermometer, we’ve already been in summer for quite some time in Alabama. It has been hot and humid for weeks. When the temperature starts to get in the high 90s, and it doesn’t get below 70 at night, we know the long hot season is here to stay for some time to come.

How to stay cool becomes topic number one for families. Summer vacations are usually built around where to go to beat the heat. The beaches of our gulf coast were the number one destination for Alabama families. From Orange Beach to Dauphin Island, the beaches were a refuge from the summer doldrums.

Now, the BP disaster is threatening those beaches every single day. The destination that has been a favorite for many has become less of an option. The Alabama Department of Public Health has issued a swimming advisory in gulf waters off Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan, and in bay waters immediately adjacent to Fort Morgan, in Bayou St. John, Terry Cove, Cotton Bayou and Old River. A swimming advisory means that individuals are discouraged from swimming in affected waters.

The beaches have had some oiling, and the cleanup turnaround time has reportedly been improved, but it is hard to keep cool when the water is off limits for the foreseeable future. Right now you can get great deals on Alabama hotels and other amenities at the coast, yet for families looking for the same experience as before will not find it this season.

Families do have other options to keep cool this summer without leaving Alabama. The state is blessed with hundreds of lakes and rivers that provide a wonderful refreshing place to take a dip, and a great place to vacation. From Florala state park along the shore of Lake Jackson way down on the Florida state line, to Lake Guntersville State Park in the Tennessee Valley, there are wonderful state facilities where some of the best swimming can be had, and at a great price.

The Alabama State Parks have more than just great places to keep cool, they also have golfing, fishing, boating, camping, hiking, nature craft, biking, horseback riding, family fun, and as the website says, “just plain ole' relaxin'.” State parks are in the mountains, down in the Wiregrass, and everywhere in between. There are state parks with great lakes in every corner of the state, and they provide an excellent way to beat the heat with the family this summer.

State parks are a great family resource, and are something we can be proud of. To find out more about the parks, and to make reservations on cabins or camp areas, point your browser to www.alapark.com,  or call 1-800-ALAPARK (1-800-252-7275).

Alabama has a great 2010 state vacation guide. The guide lists many smaller campgrounds and resorts, along with special events and deals for your family to keep cool this summer. There is help for event planning and even vacation packages listed through the state website. Go to www.Alabama.gov,  and click on the tourism and travel link. You can download the vacation guide online, or if you want a hard copy sent to your home, just call 1-800-ALABAMA, and one will be mailed to you.

Our state is taking a hit on the gulf coast, both to our tourism industry and the things that are supported by it like our schools. When we find another in-state destination to keep our families cool, we help keep the Alabama economy growing and keep our hard earned dollars working for us locally.

The summer heat is going to be with us for a while. It is nice to know that there are affordable local places to go for a swim and forget the thermometer for a while.

Contact Information

State House: Room 128
11 S. Union Street
Montgomery, AL 36130
(334) 242-7768 Home: 995 Country Estates Drive
Hamilton, AL 35570
Home Phone:
(205) 921-3214
(334) 353-3350
Email: mike.millican@alhouse.gov