What To Do In Bluffton, SC | We Have The 20 Best Things To Do & See When Visiting Bluffton

It used to just be a place that you passed on your way to Hilton Head Island.

Today Bluffton, South Carolina, is a destination all its own right, enticing visitors who want to experience the tidewater town’s celebrated “state of mind” and shop and dine at its many unique boutiques and restaurants.

Known as the heart of the Lowcountry, Bluffton is 15 minutes east of Hilton Head Island and 25 minutes northeast of downtown Savannah, Georgia. It’s the ideal escape to experience a slower pace, to absorb rich history, and to indulge in centuries-old coastal beauty.

Thousands of visitors come to this small town every year to enjoy these things and so much more.

But it can be hard to know where to start with all the fun and interesting things to do if you’re planning a trip to Bluffton.

Here are 20 of the best things to do in Bluffton, South Carolina that will guarantee you have the time of your life.

1. Spend Some Time In Old Town Bluffton

Bluffton’s old town district is a charming downtown area with a number of historic and cultural highlights. Sitting just off the May River, the area is a pedestrian-friendly spot full of boutiques, galleries, and both fine dining and casual restaurants.

Photo credit: Instagram

2. Tour the Heyward House

One of the original Bluffton homes not burned by the Union army during the Civil War, the Heyward House is now the official welcome center and town museum.

Built around 1841 by a local plantation owner for his summer residence, the house remains as it once was with slave quarters and a summer kitchen.

Given its excellent condition and the exhibitions and artifacts it houses, the estate provides a wonderful platform for learning about the history of the Lowcountry region.

Heyward House Museum and Welcome Center

70 Boundary Street
Bluffton, SC 29910
(843) 757-8293

From: Facebook

3. See the Historic Church of the Cross

If you’re looking for a picture perfect setting, look no further than The Church of the Cross. It’s located on a bluff overlooking the May River and boasts some of the most stunning views of Old Town Bluffton.

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The church is well preserved with grounds manicured to near perfection. It’s easily one of the most photographed spots in Bluffton.

The Church of the Cross is one of the few structures Union soldiers didn’t burn during General Sherman’s “March to the Sea.”

Be sure to walk to the edge of the property to catch beautiful sweeping views of the river. Calhoun Street (in front of the church) dead ends at the public boat ramp.

For a unique souvenir pick up a jar of “Holy Honey” (at the door) made from honey bees discovered in the rafters of the church.

The Church of the Cross
110 Calhoun Street
Bluffton, Sc 29910(843)757-2661                                                                                                            https://thechurchofthecross.net

4. Visit the Bluffton Oyster Company

The last remaining hand shucking house in the state, the family-run Bluffton Oyster Company is worth a visit just to stand on ground created by the discarded shells of oysters shucked over the last 200 years. In the heyday of Bluffton’s oyster business, the town boasted five different oyster gathering operations.

They’re still selling fresh-from-the-trawler seafood (from oysters, clams and mussels to shrimp, scallops and blue crabs) harvested from the May River, Port Royal Sound, and the Atlantic Ocean.

Bluffton Oyster Company
63 Wharf Street
Bluffton, SC 29910

5. Fill Up at the Bluffton Farmers Market

The Bluffton Farmers Market is a weekly event (Thursdays from 12-5pm) that brings the entire community together, both locals and tourists alike.

Purveyors offer products like fresh fruit and vegetables, locally produced chocolates and cheese, and artisan bakery and prepared foods.

Be sure to ask if Farmer Joe is around. He always has a smile on his face and is a local favorite in Bluffton (and Savannah).

Bluffton Farmers Market
68 Boundary Street and Martin Family Park
Bluffton, SC 29910
(843) 415-2447

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From: Facebook

6. Sightsee on the River with May River Excursions

Whether you want to try your hand at fishing, crabbing, and shrimping in the beautiful waters of the Lowcountry, or you just want to take in the sights on the water and watch for dolphins, May River Excursions can line up the perfect boating day for you.

May River Excursions
81 Calhoun Street
Bluffton, SC 19910
(843) 304-2878

7. Tour the Garvin Garvey’s Freedman Cottage

Tour the home constructed and owned by African Americans in Bluffton during the Reconstruction Era. This rare property is open for visitors to experience the history of the family and the rehabilitation of its structure.

Garvin Garvey’s Freedman Cottage
63 Wharf Street
(located Oyster Factory Park)
Bluffton, SC 29910
(843) 757-6293

From: Website

8. Get Artsy at the Society of Bluffton Artists

The Society of Bluffton Artists, known more fondly as SOBA, is a Bluffton community non-profit that brings together local artists to help them enhance their skills and share their talents with aspiring creators.

SOBA owns two spaces: a gallery in Old Town Bluffton and the Center for Creative Arts. The gallery displays works in different media by artists from in and around the Lowcountry and also provides a space for classes and workshops.

Society of Bluffton Artists
7 Church Street
Bluffton, SC 29910
(843) 757-8586

From: Facebook

9. Go on a Scientific Expedition with Spartina Marine Education Charters

As its name suggests, Spartina Marine Education Charters offers much more than a sightseeing experience on its charter boat trips through the waters of the Lowcountry region. Instead, Spartina provides fully educational and immersive experiences that introduce both children and adults to the endless species found in the local waters.

Different tours have their own specific themes and may include an on-board tank where passengers can get up close and personal with crabs, fish, and shrimp.

Spartina Marine Education Charters
110 Calhoun Street
Bluffton, SC 29910
(843) 338-2716

From: Facebook

10. Hike the New River Linear Trail

The New River Linear Trail makes up part of the larger East Coast Greenway, an incredibly extensive trail that, when completed, will provide a route for non-motorized movement between Key West and the border between the United States and Canada. The New River Linear Trail is an unpaved section of the Greenway and finds its southern endpoint at the New River.

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The trail includes scenic natural areas such as wetlands and historic places close to Bluffton which are marked with informative signs. The trail is open to both cyclists and hikers and dogs are welcome along the route.

New River Linear Trail
3809-3835 Okatie Way
Bluffton, SC 29910

From: Website

11. Experience Fantastic Artwork at Palmetto Oaks Sculpture Garden

Nestled in a forest bordered by the May River, the Palmetto Oaks Sculpture Garden is the perfect destination for art enthusiasts and nature lovers.

All of the sculptures you’ll see here are the works of one talented individual who single-handedly creates this whimsical environment

Stephen Kishel creates these abstract sculptures and then displays them in his nearly one acre garden gallery. This is a special place and well worth a stop.

Palmetto Oaks Sculpture Garden
11 Palmetto Beach Lane
Bluffton, SC 29910
(843) 263-6940

From: Facebook

12. Relish the Art at the Maye River Gallery

Located in the heart of Bluffton, the Maye River Gallery is treat for art lovers

With a rotating schedule of exhibits that showcase the very best artists, this gallery provides visitors with the opportunity to view quality contemporary works.

Here, you’ll marvel at jewelry, pottery, photography, ceramics, glassware, pine needle sculptures, and woodturnings, as well as paintings in oil, watercolor, acrylic, and pastel. And they all make beautiful gifts.

Maye River Gallery
54 Bridge Street
Bluffton, SC 29910
(843) 757-2633

Note: Make sure you call before visiting as they are moving from their Calhoun Street location to the Bridge Street location

From: Facebook

13. Enjoy Some Southern BBQ at One Hot Mama’s

A destination on the South Carolina Barbecue Trail, One Hot Mama’s is known for its quality, freshness, innovation, and consistency. This is authentic barbecue, South Carolina style, and a must-stop when visiting Bluffton.

One Hot Mama’s
104 Buckwalter Pkwy Suite 1A
(Located in Berkeley Place Shopping Center)
Bluffton, SC 29910
(843) 815-6262

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From: Website

14. Dial Up Some Family Fun at The ZONE

The greatest show in the Lowcountry under one roof. Never want for something to do. Batting Cages, Escape Rooms, Laser Tag, Ninja Course, Time Freak, Mirror Maze, and a Mechanical Shark.

Great for families, parties, corporate events, team building. Did we say under one roof? Yes, so no worries when it rains.

The Zone
108 Buckwalter Pkwy, Suite 2F
(Located in Berkeley Place Shopping Center)
(843) 836-3701

Picture from: Flickr.com

15. Enjoy a Picnic in Oyster Factory Park

With an open-air pavilion, picnic tables, and a fire/oyster roast pit, Oyster Factory Park is a favorite gathering place for families with its striking views along the May River.

For those wanting to get out on the water, a boat ramp at the park provides easy access along with a courtesy dock and parking for boat trailers. Thanks to its dramatic views, the park is also a popular place for family reunions, weddings, and other events.

Oyster Factory Park
63 Wharf Street
Bluffton, SC 29910
(843) 757-4010

From: Instagram

16. Savor a Farm-to-Table Meal at Nectar Farm Kitchen Old Town 

As they state on their website, “Bring the Fields, Farms & Forests of the Lowcountry to Your Table.”

High quality, well-curated, locally-sourced dishes served in a warm and friendly atmosphere. Indulge in dishes such as Blackened Carolina Catfish, Blue Crab & Grits, Root Beer Braised Short Ribs, BBQ Country Ribs, and more.

Don’t miss the craft brewery located on the premises for something exciting on tap every day.

Nectar Farm Kitchen Old Town
207 Bluffton Road
Bluffton, SC 29910
(843) 706-2337

From: Website

17. Shop Until You Drop at the Tanger Outlets

Bluffton lays claim to the area’s largest shopping center. Actually, it’s two outdoor malls located a mile apart. The collection of more than 90 stores includes top designer brands such as Ann Taylor, Coach, J Crew, Michael Kors, Kate Spade, and more.

It’s easy to spend a day browsing through the assortment of shops offering everything from apparel, jewelry, and accessories to housewares, home furnishings, and specialty items.

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Tanger Outlets
1414 Fording Island Road
Bluffton, SC 29910
(843) 837-5410

18. Wander around Rose Hill Mansion

The historic Rose Hill Mansion is known as the most beautiful plantation house in the Lowcountry. Originally built in the late 1850s by planter and physician Dr. John Kirk and his wife Caroline, the plantation was a wedding gift of Caroline’s father. Work was halted during the Civil War and while occupied through the years, the interior was not completed until 1946. In 1987, a fire devastated the house and it sat in a state of ruin until purchased by The Middle White Foundation. After a decade-long restoration it was brought back to its former glory.

Today there are guided tours that delve into the past of the United States especially during the Civil War era.

Mansion at Rose Hill
199 Rose Hill Way
Bluffton, SC 29910
(843) 295-7533

From: Facebook

19. Play a Round of Golf at Old South Golf Links

This beautiful public course in Bluffton welcomes visitors from Hilton Head and beyond. The towering oaks and marsh views make this a spectacular backdrop for a day on the links, and do not be surprised if during your play you spot an alligator in a lagoon or a deer grazing nearby.

Old South Golf Links
50 Buckingham Plantation Drive
Bluffton,SC 29910
(843) 785-5353

From: Facebook

20. Spend the Night at the Old Town Bluffton Inn

To enjoy all the southern charm of Bluffton’s historic district we suggest a stay at the Old Town Bluffton Inn. This boutique hotel has 14 luxurious and lavishly appointed guest rooms. The entire inn can be rented for special events, making it a popular wedding destination.

Old Town Bluffton Inn
1321 May River Road
Bluffton, SC 29910
(8430 707-4045

Photo credit: Blufftonsc.com

Bluffton, South Carolina, is really one of the hidden gems of the Lowcountry. Not as well known as Hilton Head Island or Savannah, but a special place in its own way and chock full of interesting things to see and do.

Come and experience the Bluffton “State Of Mind.” You will not be disappointed.

Blair Witkowski
Author: Blair Witkowski

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