FAQ

Please read the whole FAQ before posting questions and comments. Thanks!

What is June Grass?

Filamentous, floating marine algae from the genus Cladophora is called “June Grass” in Florida. It is not really a grass and it is present on Panhandle beaches in June and many other warm months.

Is June Grass harmful to people?

No, June Grass is not harmful to people who are enjoying the beach. Consuming it is probably not a good idea. It will get in your hair and in your bathing suit if you choose to swim while there is a lot of it in the water.

The worst thing about June Grass is that it can be smelly when it accumulates in large concentrations along the shore and begins to rot. This process can be harmful to fish and other marine life because the bacteria that are decomposing the alga can deplete the oxygen in the water in a process called eutrophication. I have seen this happen a few times when the June Grass is very bad. Odor and slime aside, June Grass is actually thought to be very beneficial and nourishing to our beautiful beaches.

When June Grass is heavy there may be other organisms in the mix such as sargassum, jellies (some sting, some don’t), and you may hear people talking about “sea lice”. Don’t be alarmed: there are no actual sea lice.

In this part of Florida the term “sea lice” refers to nearly-transparent stinging pieces of jellies, that have been broken off from the larger organism, usually because of stormy, rough ocean conditions. They can give you an itchy rash if they come in contact with exposed skin. Fortunately, this is usually very minor and is not directly related to the June Grass phenomenon.

Is there any objective measurement in the June Grass Grossness Index?

No, there is not. I just made it up and it is completely subjective. I make the measurements based on my observation of beach conditions. I may make it more scientific in the future, but I mostly do it to give readers an idea of what they will encounter when visiting local beaches.

Where do you make the June Grass reports from?

Most of the time I make my observations from the main beach access in Topsail Hill Preserve State Park. It is the easiest beach for me to access regularly. I sometimes make reports from Okaloosa Island or Dune Allen Beach. If I happen to post an observation of June Grass from another location I will specify the beach at that time. Beginning in 2014 I established the POST BEACH CONDITIONS HERE page, so readers could post updates themselves and I began taking reports from readers who emailed me photos.

Is this blog affiliated with any government agency or business?

No, it is not. I do it purely to amuse myself and others. That being said: the observations and opinions in this blog are my own and are intended for entertainment purposes only. I am not responsible for anything bad that may happen as a result of you using information from this blog. I am thinking about selling a few ads. However, you will always get a free and honest June Grass Report. Advertisers will never influence the content of beach reports. All subscriber contact information is 100% private and I will never share it.

Who takes the pictures?

I do, unless otherwise specified, and all rights are reserved on all images. Please contact me if you want to use something from this blog. In 2014 I started posting photos submitted by readers. By submitting photos readers agree to let me use them as I see fit but I always give them credit.

Why isn’t there a current June Grass Report posted?

I write The June Grass Report blog as a hobby. I have a lot of other outdoor hobbies that don’t necessarily involve the beach. Plus, I work full time. I do not post reports on red flag days because I do not encourage anybody to go in the water on a red flag. I will try my best to make sure there will be at least one June Grass Update per week from Memorial Day Weekend until Labor Day.  During the off-season I may make occasional posts if I feel like it.

I want to visit during ________(insert month here). Will there be June Grass?

I don’t do predictions on The June Grass Report. Chances are that if you visit the Emerald Coast, during a month that (American) public schools are not in session, you will encounter June Grass in one form or another. It’s natural and there’s nothing to be done about it. If this is a huge problem for you then visit in a different month. October is especially nice here and so is April, if you can avoid the spring breaker college kids. If you have school-age children and vacation as a family then I strongly suggest southwest or east coast Florida, or perhaps south Texas if you really want to avoid the June Grass.

We’re thinking about coming down, should we cancel our plans?

If there has been a lot of rain then, yes, get your money back. Heavy rain causes runoff from the land, which fertilizes the Gulf and makes the June Grass worse. Plus heavy rain also increases the bacteria count in the water and the beaches get closed anyway. Sometimes a tropical storm will disperse the June Grass but not always. DO NOT COME IF THERE IS A TROPICAL STORM! You will just get evacuated!

We’re here and we already paid for our vacation. How can we avoid the June Grass as much as possible?

I have a whole page of suggestions for avoiding June Grass.

Our family/friends have been living here for years/we’ve been coming here for years. Why does the June Grass keep getting worse?

This  is just my opinion but here’s what I think is going on: more people visit the area every year. All of them flush the toilet…a lot. Wastewater treatment may keep disease germs out of the Gulf but even treated water has increased “nutrients” (chemical compounds that help plants grow, like algae. Think lawn fertilizer). More people = more nutrients = more June Grass.

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  1. Coming to Sandpiper Beacon in PCB Sept 7-14. What is the June grass condition and the water bacteria condition?

  2. With all due respect, I think folks in the Panama City Beach are in denial about this. On my last trip to the Panama City/Carillon Beach area green slime carpeted the beaches for miles. Call it natural if you like, but Filamentous algae (June grass) feeds on nutrients, like those that come from lawn fertilizers, septic systems, and package plants. Too much beach development can cause too much fertility from all of these sources. Although many of the beaches in this area are not monitored, those that are are showing increasingly high levels of nutrients and bacteria. The most recent report I saw showed as much as 33% of samples exceeding safe levels of enterobacteria like e-coli (see link below). The enterobacteria increases with fertility,and so does the algae. Its worse in warm water, but the warm water isn’t the cause., it’s just the trigger. I sure hope locals come to grip with this before the region loses its reputation for pristine beaches.

    http://www.nrdc.org/water/oceans/ttw/fl.asp

  3. Our family is coming to Okaloosa Island August 5th for vacation, how does the water look? Is there any seaweed or June grass in the water? If so, about how bad is it?

  4. Heading to Destin – Crystal Beach area on Saturday, Aug 2. Any prediction of what to expect?

  5. Shantel Hebert

    Headed to Navarre beach on July 13th is the June grass still there?

  6. Danielle Harris

    We visited Henderson State Park (beach) today in Destin and there was tons of June Grass. Tons! We came last year in early June and there was none in sight.

  7. Lori Youmans

    Any current updates about PCB this week? Headed that way on Saturday.
    Thanks

    • We are here right now and the June Grass is thick. It came in yesterday afternoon. Hope it leaves soon!

    • We are here right now. It’s pretty thick at the moment. We are next to a state park so there was a clear area but only lasted two days before it got thick with June grass slime. We pretty much stuck to pools and just sat on the beach… Hopefully gone when u arrive.

  8. Today at Henderson Beach Park, you can get for 6.00 entrance fee a great bath with the sea weed. Water looked green and ugly. The best thing is to go to Destin (area) in August or a bit later to enjoy blue Golf water.

  9. Just left Okaloosa Island/Ft. Walton Beach and it was very heavy! Destin was fairly clear and the sound was completely clear.

  10. Looking for a June grass report for Panama City Beach for 2014, anything to report as of yet or possible for next week June 14th?

    • We are here now and it is heavily thick with June grass( came in heavy on Tues July 8th. Didn’t ruin our vacation though… We still had fun even if it felt like swimming thru slime.

  11. Our family is heading to PCB June7-14 and we are bringing along a friend whom will be new to the area. I know there is nothing to stop the June grass, but do you know if it will wash to shore around this time or is this still too early? Either way we are excited and can’t wait to have our toes in the sand! 🙂

  12. Thanks so much for this site! I know June grass isn’t predictable, but do you think it would be clearer the last week of may (right after Memorial Day) or early august? We came in early August 2012 and the area was beautiful. Couple of red flag days, but no seaweed. Trying to plan a longer stay for this summer. Any comments appreciated…..

  13. June grass in bloom at Panama City Beach. It’s spotty enough that avoiding it is possible if you pick a good spot for a dip in the ocean.

  14. We are headed to Ft Walton on friday. Any updates on the June grass would be appreciated…

  15. The Water On Okaloosa Island is loaded with June grass right now. It’s better around Navarre Beach and Pensacola Beach. Those beaches still have pockets of June grass, but the water is much more clear.

  16. Headed to Ft Walton next week. Can you provide an update on june grass and water conditions. Heard water is not emerald right now. Thank you!!

  17. Robert Cross

    On average when does the June grass clear up and leave out of Destin area beaches. We normally come down the 3rd week of august and water is clearing up nicely.

  18. Can you update for this year? It seemed to be starting last week when we were in PCB and my son is going back on the 18th. I was wondering if that’s going to be in the height of the grossness. Thanks.

    • Ms. Hetty Mae

      Sorry. The traffic in PCB is so bad in the summer that I don’t even bother to go there. The only thing that interests me in PCB is diving at the state park, which I can do at any other time of year. I’m looking for guest reporters in the areas where I don’t often get to the beach (PCB, Navarre, Destin), so hopefully I will find one and get a current report up soon. In the meantime here is a beach web cam for PCB and I like to watch this youtube channel that is often shot at St. Andrews and can give an idea of how much June grass is in the water.

  19. Any June grass predictions for July 6-17??

  20. My family will be going to destin june 22-27 for the first time…i have been reading about june grass and I’m hoping its not there when we come…how does the beach look so far??

  21. Beth B. (St. Louis)

    We will be staying in the Seacrest Beach area 5/25/13 – 6/1/13. Any signs or predictions of the June grass this year?

  22. We visited Okaloosa many years ago in mid July. The June grass was terrible. We drove just a few miles down to Destin and the water was perfect. Is Destin always clearer than Okaloosa.

    This year we will be trying Okaloosa out one more time. We will be there first week of June. In the past, how was June grass beginning of June?

  23. When (what month) does the June grass usually come in at its height? Is middle of June better or mid July to try to miss it. We were there the end of June the year of the oil spill and the June grass was horrific!!! We are trying to plan a trip and want to come when the June Grass is gone..

    Thank you,
    Rachel

    • It is usually better earlier in the year, but it really depends on the water temps. We have had a cool spring, so lets keep our fingers crossed that we have a light year for June Grass!

  24. I am coming to Panama City on the 30th, I noticed from your site and from the webcams that there is a lot of sargasam? build up on the beaches. Do they ever clean that up? When I was there last year the June Grass was horrible so we were hoping if we came later in the summer we would have clear waters. Your site has been very helpful!

  25. We are coming to Gulf Shores this weekend and saw where the June grass is really bad right now. How long does the grass stay? Will it be there very long, days or weeks? What happens to the grass when it builds up on the beach? Do they have a crew come around and clean it up or does it just go back into the ocean? Thank You!

  26. Thanks for this incredible site!! What are ypur thoughts of the junegrass potential the week of 7/2 (by pompano joes)? Thanks, Mike

  27. We are staying at the Jetty East in Destin. I have been reading about the ocean being pretty rough this past week and about the drownings. That is very scary, I will make sure and look at the flags when we get there. Is it just bad if you go out into it or even just standing on the beach in a little bit of water?

    • Let me tell you a story and then you can make up your own mind. Once while my friends were diving the jetty I decided to snorkel along the beach. It was a nice day and there were a lot of boats tied up and people on the beach. I was in maybe knee deep water, snorkeling, when I got caught in a weird, but very strong current running parallel to the beach toward the bay. I managed to get banged up on an anchor line and then I ran into a guy who was wading and almost knocked him over but he grabbed me and helped me get my feet under me and stand up. It felt like wading in a very fast river going those few steps back to the beach.

  28. HEADING TO ST JOSEPH PENN STATE PARK ON THE 17TH…KNOW IF JUNE GRASS IS EVER BAD THERE? HAD A BAD EXPERIENCE WITH GRASS NEAR FT. WALTON SEVERAL YEARS BACK. MY SON CALLED IT “THE SLIME BEACH” WE DROVE A FEW MILES DOWN TO DESTIN AND WATER WAS VERY CLEAR.

    • Ms. Hetty Mae

      I have been to St. Joe Peninsula state park during scallop season in previous years and don’t recall any June Grass in the bay. I didn’t swim on the Gulf side though. We seem to be starting the year off light but we will see what the storms we’ve been having bring us. It’s a really nice state park and I hope you enjoy it!

  29. Hello,
    We will be at the Jetty next weekend, is there any June grass there right now? Last time we came the grass was really bad, I hope this time we get lucky and it is not in.

  30. Any June Grass yet?

  31. Jack Johnson

    I have been told by not so believable sources that the beaches closest to the East Pass are not as affected by the June grass due to the usually constant outflow of water from the bay (seems to make some sense). Do you have any opinion on that theory?

    Thanks and see you in July.

    • Ms. Hetty Mae

      I’m afraid I have to disagree on that theory based on my personal experiences. The photos of me SCUBA diving in heavy June Grass were taken at the Destin Jetty. The same year there was a lot of rotting June Grass on the Okaloosa Island side of the pass. It was enough to make your eyes water. Something to remember about East Pass is that sometimes the water is flowing in rapidly, sometimes it is flowing out, and sometimes it has a washing machine effect, which I experienced the one time I was foolish enough to dive when the tide wasn’t high.

  32. Is it true that when the water hits 80 the june grass comes in?

    • Ms. Hetty Mae

      Not necessarily. Warm water is key for the development of most algae (which is what June Grass is), but that doesn’t automatically mean it will be nasty at the beach once the water hits 80F. As I understand it the June Grass develops off shore and then tides, winds, and currents play a major role in determining which beaches it will hit.

  33. We will be in the Santa Rosa area during Memorial Day week? Any June grass in sight yet? Love your blog!

    • Ms. Hetty Mae

      No june grass yet! I am ashamed to admit that I have yet to go in the water, but my summer schedule and new smart phone should allow me to update The June Grass Report very regularly. For those that were curious about how the forecast effects the june grass: it’s really hard to predict but if it’s already “in” then a south wind tends to push it in and a north wind can push it out somewhat.

  34. We are coming the week of May 20th. I see that the weather is calling for rain all next week. Does that bring the June grass in? Can you keep me posted it it starts coming in around May 20th. Thank you.

  35. Any news on the June Grass near Rosemary Beach? Will be there in the first week of June. Thanks

  36. I just wanted to let you know that your website has been so helpful for me and my family. We are a military family and just moved to the city of Crestview in May of 2011. When we fist got here the beaches were so clear and the water was amazing! As time went on and our beach trips got more frequent we started running in to June Grass, and we were so dismayed to realize there was no way of knowing what was going on at the beaches before we drove the 45 mins to the shore. When I found your website I was so happy. I use it every single time we are planning a trip to the shore now. Thank you so much!!!!

    • You’re welcome. Thank you and the military members of your family. I hope to have more, and more timely, reports this year now that I have a smart phone and a more flexible schedule.

  37. Hello, I stumbled onto this website via google. My family and I have been coming to Destin for 7 years now, the first 4 years the water was crystal clear as they should be, the last 3 years they have been filled with June Grass which pretty much ruins our beach time. I know it is early in 2012 but we always make our reservations in january or early February for our summer vaca. We are really stumped on what to do this year. We love destin, but we also love a clean beach and clean water so we are considering going somewhere else. Is the entire panhandle affected by this? Living In Indiana its a quick 12 hour drive to destin and we would like to stay there but we also want our 1 week on the beach to be grass free…any advice?

    • You could consider staying in the Sandestin resort and try out water sports on the Choctawhatchee Bay side of the peninsula. The June Grass isn’t usually bad in the bay. You might also consider the St. Joe peninsula, there is a nice state park there and you have the choice of bay or Gulf access. The June Grass doesn’t usually get bad until late May, in my experience, and it is really dependent on wind and local currents. I don’t know much about local currents, not being an oceanographer, but I have observed that the June Grass is more tolerable when the wind is from the North. I know getting here before June could be difficult with school-aged kids but I hope it is better this year and that you guys have a nice visit.

  38. Jonathan… just called Henderson Beach State Park…. they said it’s pretty bad everywhere but there, causing people not to go into the water. But, they said that they are experiencing less June Grass then everywhere else, and that people are flocking there. It’s in Destin.

  39. Jonathan Hunter

    Coming down this weekend 8/6-8/13….how is June grass looking?

    Thanks,

    Jonathan

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