Health

There aren't any major health problems to be concerned about while visiting the Lowcountry, though typical health complaints come from sunburn, bug bites, and dehydration, all of which can be avoided.

Personal Care

If you are planning on spending time outdoors, don’t forget the sunscreen! Nothing ruins a vacation faster than a third-degree burn earned on the beach because you forget to apply (or reapply) sunscreen in a prudent manner.   Remember to reapply several times a day, particularly if you are out on the water or at the beach.

Mosquitoes tend to be problematic from May - September.  Little tiny bugs, called "no-see-ums" can be a bad nuisance during the spring.  Love bugs can also be pesty in early fall, but do not sting.  There are plenty of bees and wasps in the area, but no more here than in other parts of the Eastern Seaboard.

Dehydration is a serious problem.  Remember to stay hydrated throughout the day and particularly in the afternoon as temperatures and humidity increase.  Hydration is especially important if you are on the water in a boat.  Limit you alcholic consumption and ensure that children and seniors receive adequate amounts of water.  Tap water is purified and safe to drink.  Surface water in Beaufort is tidal, and therefore salty.

Wildlife Threats

You may also encounter wildlife in areas outside of downtown Beaufort.  Deer are most typically seen, but you may also encounter snakes in deep woods and alligators near lagoons.  State law prohibits feeding or antagonizing alligators and be sure to stay at least 20 feet (6 meters) away from them. There are no alligators in the ocean or in marsh estuaries.

At the beach, the most common animal to watch out for are jellyfish, some of which are washed up on shore.  Be sure not to touch them, even when they are dead.  Shark attacks are uncommon.

 

Safety

Beaufort is generally a safe community, though common sense should always be considered to ensure your safety.

In Town

The historic district is a safe area, and Beaufort city police regularly patrol the downtown and Bay Street areas where visitors frequent establishments.  As in any other community though, ensure your hotel and car doors are locked and that valuables are securely stashed away.  Unfortunately drunk driving is an issue in the community, so be careful driving at night, particularly on weekends.  Call a cab if you need a ride.

Traveling with traveler’s checques may make good sense if you are traveling for a while and don’t want to have to deal with huge wads of cash. Otherwise, consider using a credit or debit card while traveling; be sure to keep a listing of traveler checque serial numbers and any relevant airline tickets, credit card numbers, and the like separate from the originals. This will make your life much easier if the worst happens and your wallet or purse is stolen.

Boating

If you plan to be out in a boat, think safety: wear a life jacket. Don’t take a boat into the water if you are not sure how to run it!  Ensure that you have ample fuel for your excursion and consult the tide charts and navigation maps prior to leaving.  It is a good idea if departing from a marina that you inform an employee of your whereabouts in the event of an emergency.  Be also aware that there are incidents of BUI (Boating Under the Influence) and maintain a cautious separation when passing other boats.

Tides in the Beaufort area are very strong, and there is often a 6 to 8 foot (2 meter) differential between high and low tide.  Be aware of mud flats and narrow estuaries.  It is very easy to get lost in some of the marsh estuaries, so people who are unfamiliar with the waterways should stick to marked channels and named creeks.  In spring and summer, always keep an eye to the west, as afternoon thunderstorms can roll in very quickly.

At the Beach

If you plan to go swimming whilst at the beach, have someone remain with your belongings; stuffing a wallet into the back of a shoe is not much of a theft-deterrent. Keep careful watch of children at the beach, and always accompany small children into the water.  There are no lifeguards on duty on Hunting or Fripp Islands.

Oceanic tides on Hunting Island and Fripp Island are relatively strong, though the ocean floor slopes are rather gentle.  However rip currents can exist and are very powerful, particularly after storms pass through.  Stay off the rock groins on Hunting Island and the rock walls on Fripp Island to ensure you or someone you love do not get injured from slipping.