We arrived yesterday, staying on middle gulf drive between Sundial and Gulfside City Park. Admittedly, the water color is a shock when you first see it. It is darker than we've seen in 7 years of visiting the same time every year. We have seen it when a tropical storm has passed nearby and the water was stirred up and cloudy but this is much different. The overall color is totally different. But still the water is actually pretty clear, you can see the bottom to look for shells fairly well, in fact it is clearer than I've seen during several other trips. I would be lying if I said it didn't bother me at all, it is disappointing even when you expect it. But it doesn't smell badly and I didn't feel squeamish about walking in the shallows. My mother and a friend saw two stingrays very close to the waters edge earlier today so we're being careful. Also, lots of people boating, and parking on the sandbars,more than we've ever seen.
So, right now I'm still happy to be here,we had a wonderful meal last night at Cip's, saw a lovely rainbow as we left Jerry's with our provisions, and sitting here at the moment looking out at a beautiful day, bright sun, nice breeze.....think I'd better go take a stroll on the beach while my little one is napping, and husband is watching football (and the baby monitor!)
We have yet to check out any other beaches, we always go to Bowmans, Blind Pass etc... The water color may be better that way from what we've heard. I'll try to report back if I get a chance. Thought I'd post our experience because I appreciated any first hand reports I could get before our trip.Edited: 3:10 pm, September 08, 2013