The Best Things To Do In Bluffton, South Carolina

This treasure of a town is full of restaurants and river adventures.

Bluffton, South Carolina

Hilton Head Island – Bluffton Chamber of Commerce

Claiming the moniker “Heart of the Lowcountry,” Bluffton is a small town chock-full of character, history, and hospitality. Whether you're visiting for a day or a weekend, you'll find plenty to do. Here are some of our top picks.

Bluffton, South Carolina

Hilton Head Island – Bluffton Chamber of Commerce

What To Do In Bluffton

When you arrive in town, make a stop at the Cole-Heyward House, which is the official Welcome Center. The Heyward House Museum and Welcome Center is owned and operated by the Historic Bluffton Foundation, a nonprofit that is dedicated to the preservation of the culture and history of the town. You can tour the House Museum, which was built in 1841 by enslaved people. It is one of only eight antebellum homes that remain in the Lowcountry.

Three blocks from the Welcome Center, admire the 1857 Anglican church, The Church of the Cross. Federal troops burned Bluffton during the Civil War, but spared this building. 

Walk along Calhoun Street, the center of the town's arts and cultural district, which is filled with eclectic galleries and specialty shops. The Society of Bluffton Artists (SOBA), showcases more than 100 local artists, and offers workshops and exhibits. Next door is Bluffton General Store, where you can purchase unique gifts and coastal collectibles.

Church of the Cross, Bluffton

Hilton Head Island – Bluffton Chamber of Commerce

Afternoon is the ideal time to get out on the water with a guided adventure with May River Excursions. Be on the lookout for Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, or set sail at dusk underneath the cotton candy pink South Carolina sunset. 

Montage Palmetto Bluff

Hilton Head Island – Bluffton Chamber of Commerce

Where To Stay

Staying in Old Town gives you easy access to explore the area by foot. The first and only boutique hotel in the neighborhood is Old Town Bluffton Inn. Owned by husband-and-wife team Vince and Danielle Harrison, the elegantly designed hotel has 14 rooms, custom-made furnishings and original art, plus a lovely pale pink parlor and breezy front porch.

If you're looking for a stay with lots of on-site activities and amenities, the luxury resort Montage Palmetto Bluff consumes 20,000-acres along the May River. From pro shops to a Paris market, paddle boarding to golfing, Montage crafts luxury experiences specific to each guest. For a romantic outdoor adventure, try the "Veuve Clicquot Picnic + Pedal," which includes bike rentals, your choice of five picnic basket menus (the "Day Date" includes canapés, tea sandwiches, and a variety of sweets to please every palate), plus a bottle of bubbly, of course.

Nectar in Bluffton, South Carolina

Hilton Head Island – Bluffton Chamber of Commerce

Where To Eat And Drink

Fuel up for a day of fun at The Cottage Café where chef Leslie Rohland dishes out Southern cuisine with a twist. Begin with a mimosa (there are three types to choose from), then tuck into a Crabby Southerner—a fried green tomato, crab cake, and poached egg perched on an English muffin. 

Another option is Corner Perk Brunch Café and Coffee Roasters where the hot coffee is freshly roasted and the Huevos Rancheros are nice and spicy. Order a Tiramisu Whipped Cold Brew to go as you stroll through Old Town. 

No visit to Bluffton is complete without a visit to Bluffton Oyster Company. Since 1899, the family-owned business has been harvesting fresh Bluffton oysters, the star of the May River from September through May. Take home an order of oysters, shrimp, blue crab, or fresh fish, or devour the fresh catch at the family’s Bluffton Oyster Company Seafood Restaurant. Seafood doesn't get any fresher than this.

Bluffton Oyster Factory

Hilton Head Island – Bluffton Chamber of Commerce

FARM serves dinner with an ever-changing menu celebrating the fishers, farmers, and other local producers behind its food. Sample roasted oysters with horseradish souffle, chives, and saltines; grilled snapper with butterbeans; or pickled shrimp. Whatever you choose, don't miss the brown butter cornbread. Although the menu has global influences, chef Brandon Carter says the region inspires his cooking. “It’s the way the salt air smells. It’s the oyster beds that you can see from the banks of the May River," he says. "There’s a real sense of place and community here that you don’t find very often these days.” 

Likewise, the Waterson brothers at Burnt Church Distillery craft spirits to honor South Carolina’s history. Every bottle has a story, like the Sin Eater Cinnamon Smoky Whiskey. Dating back to the 1600s, Sin Eaters were social outcasts who took sins of others upon themselves.

Chefs and Lowcountry farmers come together to make one great dining experience at Nectar Farm Kitchen in Old Town. The fried bologna sandwich will take you back to your childhood, and the butter bean burger is like nothing you've ever tasted. The restaurant has a complete cocktail and wine list, and Nectar Brewing Company, a craft brewery located in the kitchen. 

Bluffton, South Carolina

Hilton Head Island – Bluffton Chamber of Commerce

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