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What’s That Green Stuff at the Beach? It’s June Grass!

“Eww, what’s that green stuff?”

I heard this question countless times growing up on the beaches of Northwest Florida, and the answer is, “It’s June Grass!”

Yes, it’s gross.

It gets in your hair and swimsuit. It makes the normally crystal clear Emerald Coast waters impossible to see through, and it smells funky when it washes ashore.

Tourists and locals alike despise June Grass or ‘seaweed’ season.

It’s certainly not my favorite time of year to go for a salty swim, and I always feel bad for the people that traveled hundreds of miles to experience the Panhandle’s beautiful beaches only to find them filled with slimy green grass.

But what really is it?

(Not only are there visible chunks, but the dark green of the water means that June Grass is floating all throughout the water.)

What Is June Grass?

Technically, June Grass isn’t really grass at all. It’s algae.

This Cladophora algae bloom happens every year. And though we find it gross, stinky, and slimy, it’s an essential part of the ecosystem.

(When the water is dark along the shoreline, there is June Grass!)

How Can I Avoid June Grass?

June Grass tends to start blooming in June, hence the name. But it can bloom throughout the entire summer from May-October. It seems to me, that it gets worse in July as the summer gets hotter.

There’s no exact timeline for when it will come and go, but if the water temperature is warm, you can bet you’ll find it somewhere along the Gulf Coast.

The algae also tends to be thicker in areas near freshwater inlets, such as dune lakes and bays. And some locals swear that it’s worse in the afternoons. So, maybe try to take your swims in the morning.

If you can, try to plan your vacation before water temperatures rise or after they cool. Which does NOT mean that it will be too cold to swim. We have had beach days as early as the end of March and as late as the end of October.

There’s no guarantee that you will avoid the slimy green grass. However, there is a website where people submit June Grass reports, complete with a Grossness Index so that you can see what conditions are like before you go.

I took both of these pictures of Lainey at the beach in June of 2 different years and the water was TOTALLY different! You really never know when it’s going to bloom.

BUT all of my beach pictures from April and May have been beautiful, so if you can go during that time, I recommend it.

Is It Safe?


Unlike Red Tide, an algae bloom that kills marine animals. June Grass feeds and serves as a breeding ground for marine life.

June Grass is completely safe for both humans and pets, unlike blue-green algae that can be found in freshwater lakes during the hot months.

So, even if the water is green during your vacation go on and enjoy the water as much as you can, knowing that it is completely safe.

(The June grass isn’t always super thick, but as you can see here, it is still obvious and visible.)

And if you want to avoid seaweed completely, then check out these 3 springs in Northwest Florida!

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