Beat the Heat: Stay Cool and Safe in South Carolina State Parks

As summer humidity and temperatures soar, enjoying the great outdoors comes with its own set of challenges. While South Carolina State Parks offer breathtaking natural beauty and exciting recreational activities, it's crucial to stay safe and beat the heat during the sweltering summer months. Here are some essential tips to ensure your outdoor adventures remain refreshing and enjoyable:

1. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate:
One of the most critical factors in staying cool and safe in the heat is proper hydration. When exploring the outdoors, always carry an ample supply of water and drink regularly, even if you don't feel thirsty. Avoid sugary drinks and alcohol, as they can contribute to dehydration. 

2. Plan Your Activities Wisely:
Beat the heat by planning your outdoor activities during the cooler parts of the day. Schedule hikes, picnics, and other adventures in the early morning or late afternoon when temperatures are lower. Additionally, take frequent breaks in shaded areas to rest and cool down.

3. Dress Appropriately:
Wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing in light colors to reflect the sun's rays and aid in sweat evaporation. Don't forget to apply sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to protect your skin from harmful UV rays.

4. Seek Shade:
When the sun is at its peak, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., find shaded areas to relax and cool off. South Carolina State Parks offer plenty of shaded areas, wooded trails, and picnic shelters where you can take refuge from the heat.

5. Stay Cool in the Water:
Take advantage of the many water-based activities available in our parks. Whether it's taking a swim, paddling down a tranquil river, or hanging out at the splash pad, water activities provide instant relief from the heat.

6. Use Cooling Accessories:
Bring along cooling accessories such as a handheld fan, cooling towel, or misting bottle to help lower your body temperature when outdoors. These simple yet effective tools can make a big difference in staying comfortable in the heat.

7. Know the Signs of Heat-Related Illness:
Be aware of the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heatstroke, including feeling faint or dizziness, nausea, weakness or fatigue, muscle cramps, and confusion. If you or someone in your group experiences these symptoms, seek shade, hydrate, and seek medical assistance if necessary.

8. Respect Nature and Wildlife:
During hot summer months, wildlife may also be seeking relief from the heat. Be mindful of their habitats and avoid disturbing or approaching them closely. Keeping a safe distance not only protects wildlife but also ensures your safety.

9. Keep Your Pets Cool and Hydrated:
Don't forget about your furry friends when enjoying outdoor activities in the parks. Keep your pets cool and hydrated by providing them with plenty of water and shade. Avoid taking them on hikes or walks during the hottest parts of the day, and never leave them in a parked car, as temperatures can quickly soar to dangerous levels. Consider investing in a portable water bowl and cooling mat for your pet's comfort, and be mindful of signs of heat exhaustion or dehydration in your furry companions. 

10. Stay Informed:
Before heading out to explore South Carolina State Parks, check the weather forecast and heat advisories. Be prepared for, and know how to react to, weather and water hazards such as flash flooding, excessive heat, and lightning.

By following these tips and staying vigilant, you can enjoy all that South Carolina State Parks have to offer while staying safe and cool during the summer months. Remember to respect nature, stay hydrated, and listen to your body's signals. With proper preparation and awareness, your outdoor adventures will be memorable for all the right reasons.

S.C. Heat Safety Week April 29-May 3, 2024

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has issued a proclamation declaring April 29-May 3, 2024, as South Carolina Heat Safety Week.

South Carolina residents and those visiting our beautiful state are encouraged to pay close attention to weather forecasts from the National Weather Service and local meteorologists, stay hydrated, find cool spaces, and be aware of early signs of heat-related illnesses to ensure safety during the hot season.

Contact your local National Weather Service office for further information on Heat Safety Week. Additional resources can be found online at,,, and