Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Bluffton, SC

  • Published 2022/12/04

Currently home to more than 30,000 residents and just a stone’s throw away from Hilton Head Island, Bluffton is the perfect spot for those who wish to explore everything that this illustrious stretch of land has to offer.

Located smack dab in the middle of Beaufort County, South Carolina, Bluffton claims its identity by dubbing itself “The Heart of the Lowcountry.”

With a central location for residents, businesses and guests alike, this quaint town is easily accessible and has plenty to offer anyone looking for an old-school Southern getaway.

Not only does Bluffton have hundreds of shops, restaurants, and attractions, but it also acts as a gateway for many other cool places in the area, including coastal towns like Savannah.

In the antebellum period, plantation owners were so taken aback by this amazing piece of nature they decided to stay.

Soon enough, more followed their lead.

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 cool things to do if you’re planning your 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!

Join the Gallery Experience at Pluff Mudd Art

Pluff Mudd Art is a local art gallery located in a charming old cottage at the heart of downtown Bluffton.

The quaint little art gallery is the collective energy of the Bluffton artist community, with individual designers bringing their unique vision to life.

The interior has art decorations made by local artists, and its setting is delightful to the eye.

You can take a stroll through five separate rooms where artwork is hanging up in ‘salon fashion,’ complete with wall-to-wall artwork.

Whether you like fine art or not, there’s simply no way that anyone could afford to miss visiting this gallery.

The incredible, enormous variety and scale of work on display here make it a “you-cannot-go-wrong” gallery.

You’re sure to find something that speaks to you and fits perfectly into your home.

Grab Your Spare Time in Old Town Bluffton

Garvin House in Old Town Bluffton

Rosemarie Mosteller /

As the sun sets over the May River, visitors flock to Bluffton’s historic homes that have been converted into chic boutiques, antique shops filled with interesting knick-knacks, stores that serve caffeinated beverages, and art galleries that showcase the time-honored traditions of Lowcountry artists.

In 70 Boundary St. lies Bluffton’s Heyward House, the only spot in town with official information about how to get around Bluffton, which you can get for free.

From free maps to helpful advice and interesting historical facts, you can find anything but bland boredom when hanging out in this historic old house.

Begin your visit at 10 a.m. Monday through Saturday when Heyward House is open.

Serene lake at Old Town Bluffton

Sarah Slawson /

In the heart of Bluffton, there’s also the Church of the Cross that has become a staple in the area.

After its construction in 1857, this unexpected sight has played an essential part for river-goers over the years.

Bluffton’s events are prominent, especially Mayfest.

The first celebration of Mayfest happened in 1978 and since then has become the cultural event of the year for Blufftonians.

Last but not least is the Historic Bluffton Arts & Seafood Festival, which provides plenty of fun, family-friendly activities like a 5K run, kayak tours, original art, and fresh seafood (including fish to fry at home).

Birds resting on a Loquat tree at Old Town Bluffton

Phill Doherty /

Take a Trip on the Lowcountry With Spartina Marine Education Charters

Have you ever dreamed of diving into the depths of the water?

If so, Captain Amber is here to make your dreams come true!

Spartina Marine Education Charters is a marine education exploration of local waterways fully guided by Captain Amber.

She offers Lowcountry tours, complete with a special viewing tank filled with creatures found in South Carolina waters.

This is not your average sightseeing trip – Captain Amber has the expertise to help you discover different marine species in an up-close and personal way.

You can spend one or two hours on this expedition that will surely be unlike anything you’ve seen before.

Tour begins at $45 for adults and $30 for kids 12 and under.

Own a Piece of Art from Four Corners Gallery

Four Corners Gallery is a nice little spot located in the historic district in Bluffton.

They know how to put together a great collection of artists and offer unique framing options.

The art collector’s heaven has been around since 1998.

At first, they focused on custom framing for fellow residents who are collectors or just heavily involved in local arts.

Soon enough, though, it became the best spot for galleries and design firms to come by.

With relationships lasting longer than a decade with several other local artists at that point, Four Corners started to broaden their horizons.

Four Corners Gallery is an excellent place to find pieces of art and crafts made from clay, wood, and paper.

The pieces on display here are inspired by the traditional American art forms and fuse them with contemporary twists to offer an original, striking art gallery experience.

Get Your Beer Out of the Barrel at Southern Barrel Brewery

Beautiful surroundings accompanied by good conversation and a good meal go a long way in making a person feel great.

Southern Barrel Brewing Company goes the extra mile to provide these perfect components in combinations that the whole family can enjoy, from their signature brews right down to their freshly prepared meals.

Like most restaurants, this one will let you kick back and relax with family or friends.

What’s unique about this place is they serve beers from its brewery.

This beautifully crafted, small brewery offers a welcoming, sun-lit beer garden complete with an open fire pit and benches.

This creates the perfect setting to choose from among their ever-increasing variety of seasonal offerings made from locally sourced ingredients.

They have been working hard to create award-winning beers that anyone can enjoy.

This Bluffton treasure has a great menu; everything from the duck bacon wontons to the desserts is absolutely out of this world.

The staff is amiable, the service is fast, and it’s perfect for dining!

Experience the Ethereal Beauty of the Church of the Cross

Outside the Church of the Cross

Travel Bug /

The Church of the Cross’ construction started in 1854, and it was E. B. White who designed it.

White was an architect who’s best known for having designed many houses in Savannah at that time.

Architects refer to this type of architecture as a “handsome cruciform Gothic structure.”

But the building commonly goes by the name “The Church of the Cross,” thanks to its distinctive steeple, which stands tall above all the other buildings in town, making it rather recognizable.

Facade of the Church of the Cross

P.Pine Photography /

The Church has interesting features inside, including several arched naves that resemble palmettos and were originally done up with a soft pink-colored plaster on top of them.

There are decorative window panes with old-fashioned frames, basic structural components made of exposed pine beams, and numerous other details, like small pewsed.

Here, you’ll also find old scripture texts written on large marble tablets for all to see up close.

Interior view of the Church of the Cross

Bill Fitzpatrick, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Experience Breathtaking Artwork at Palmetto Oaks Sculpture Garden

Southern hospitality reigns supreme in the small town of Bluffton.

Nestled within a stately forest bordered by the May River is an incomparable sculpture garden.

Palmetto Oaks Sculpture Garden is the perfect destination for art enthusiasts and nature lovers, especially during spring when vibrant colors fill the garden.

All of the sculptures you’ll see here are masterpieces of one talented individual who single-handedly makes all of his creations come to life.

Stephen Kishel is a man with a good heart, and he genuinely loves working on his projects every day.

Not only is his artwork stunning, but it makes for a delightful tourist attraction where you can take your family or friends to have a shady, relaxing day away from the sun.

Each exhibit represents its own personal journey which you can take to heart as your own.

You definitely need to visit this awesome spot if you’re ever in the Bluffton area because it’s well worth visiting on Thursdays during the downtown Farmers’ Market!

Buy Fresh Produce at Bluffton Farmers Market

Bluffton brims with delicious produce all year long!

The bustling Farmers Market of Bluffton is the perfect place to do your shopping for fresh fruits and vegetables.

The grand ole time you can enjoy here includes an abundance of fresh organic produce.

There are prepared foodstuffs, tasty beverages, delicious desserts, artful handicrafts, and piece-of-art clothing items made by local fashion designers.

Not only that, but you’ll also find delightful soaps and lotions made by nature-loving skincare specialists well versed in ancient remedies here.

And there are also shapely handmade decorative items crafted by interior designers selected by homeowners who want their homes decorated with antique or modern furniture.

Whether you shop for groceries or gifts at this community affair, it’s family fun at its best.

Bluffton Farmers Market conveniently sits near spacious downtown Bluffton, along the charming Carson Cottages.

Come to SOBA Gallery for Fun and Cool Art

Bluffton’s local hub for art lovers is a one-of-a-kind cooperative gallery with over 100 of the area’s best artists.

Immerse yourself in works from each creative genius, all gathered under one roof.

The Society of Bluffton Artists Gallery (SOBA) features an all-new exhibit every month – the only place around to see all of this month’s beautiful pieces at once.

From paintings to photography to pottery, SOBA takes pride in showcasing various high-quality works from the Lowcountry’s very own budding talents.

Located at 6 Church Street, Bluffton, SOBA kicks open its doors from 10 am to 5 pm on Mondays through Saturdays and 11 am to 3 pm on Sundays.

Travis Newman’s talented “In My View” exhibit features his charming artwork, depicting wildlife scenes through Lowcountry vegetation, coastal scenes, and other animals in a very impactful way.

Kayak With Marsh Grass Adventures in Bluffton

Situated in 63 Wharf St, Bluffton, Marsh Grass Adventures offers an unforgettable blend of entertainment and tranquility that is sure to transport its visitors into a state of pure bliss.

It is one of the best canoe and kayak rental services in Bluffton that offers some top-notch kayaks in Bluffton.

Kayaking with friends and family always makes for an awesome time, and it can even make for a great activity to check out as a group.

While this is certainly something everyone should experience at least once, returning to this place might even be more enjoyable!

Wander Around the Rose Hill Mansion

Rose Hill Mansion in Bluffton

Asumners, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Rose Hill Mansion is perfect for those keen on learning more about history.

It is filled with enormous walls made of brick, with intricate details showcasing authentic southern architectural design.

This architectural masterpiece first served as a loving home for its original owners, Dr. John Kirk, and his family.

Inside Rose Hill Mansion

Asumners, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Initially built in the 1850s, the mansion was stalled due to technicalities during construction in the Civil War era.

Gorgeous sprawling gardens surround the Gothic-style mansion.

Even more stunning is its impressive collection of original furniture, portraits, and sculptures.

Tee Off at Hilton Head National Golf Club

Hilton Head National Golf Club might be just five minutes from the bridges to Hilton Head Island and just forty-five minutes from the historic downtown in Savannah, Georgia, but that doesn’t mean it’s in a remote location.

The course itself is a gem because of its excellent maintenance by award-winning professionals who care about their craft.

It has also been one of the best-conditioned layouts in this area for more than three decades.

In fact, many feel Hilton Head National Golf Club is only rivaled by Augusta National Golf Club whenever they happen to play twice a year during The Masters.

Golfers who have played this course have said, “It’s a joy to play!”.

And this great track is made even better by the expertise of two premier golf course architects, Bobby Weed and Gary Player.

Discover South Carolina’s Natural Wonder With May River Excursion

If you’re looking for more great adventures in Bluffton, be sure to visit May River Excursion, particularly their unique waterfront tour options, such as fishing trips and river adventures.

With their wide selection of waterways to explore, you’ll get a glimpse of some local wildlife and a stellar view of riverside properties.

Their water excursions will allow you to circle area lakes and waterways.

And when you feel like getting out of the boat and exploring the shell and maritime forests at Daufuskie Island, they have golf carts and taxis for rent.

If dolphin watching or learning about the Bluffton area’s history is your thing, then land excursion tours are perfect for you.

Explore the New River Linear Trail

The New River Linear Trail is 3.4 miles of heaven for walkers and joggers of all levels.

Beginning in the northern part of Sun City within Bluffton, South Carolina, at its beginning of a linear path by an abandoned railroad line, the New River Linear Trail continues to its end at the edge of the New River.

Covered with rich green foliage and lined with clapboard houses, this route will take you only a few minutes to travel from start to finish.

Scenic by design, the New River Linear Trail is perfect for hiking, biking, and running.

The trail enjoys an underpass that prevents dangerous road crossings from its midpoint to the Riverside community development crossings.

Savor the Look of Art at the Maye River Gallery

As you travel to beautiful Bluffton, South Carolina, make sure to put Maye River Gallery on your list of places to visit.

Located in the heart of Bluffton, Maye River Gallery is a haven for art lovers.

With a rotating schedule of exhibits that showcase the very best local artists, this gallery provides individuals with the opportunity to view the highest quality contemporary artistry.

Staff members are happy to meet you and talk about their work or current exhibit!

This incredible gallery showcases many fine arts.

Here, you’ll marvel at paintings in oil, watercolor, acrylic, and pastel; jewelry, photography, pottery, ceramics, glassware, fiber art; and pine needle sculpture and woodturning.

It’s also worth noting that these paintings make great gifts for anyone you know!

Know Everything about Bluffton at The Heyward House Museum & Welcome Center

If you want to know more about the town’s colorful history and culture, head off to The Heyward House Museum & Welcome Center.

This attraction is located on Boundary Street and set on a historic house built by West African slaves in 1841; it’s owned and operated by the Historic Bluffton Foundation which aims to promote and preserve the town’s heritage.

Get maps and brochures about Bluffton to help you find your way around town.

Likewise, tour the interior rooms and the two outbuildings on the property.

You’ll discover various artifacts that represent Bluffton’s history, facts about the Heyward House, and the people who once made the house their home.

You can also join walking tours which include a tour of antebellum homes and two of the town’s churches listed on the National Historic Registry.

Visit The Heyward House Museum & Welcome Center.

Catch Riveting Performances at May River Theatre

If you love stage plays, you’ll love the amazing productions featured at May River Theatre.

This community theater is located on Bridge Street and has been entertaining locals and visitors since 2002 through excellent performances.

Get immersed in the theatrical experience and watch local talents showcase their stage acting skills.

Your family will surely enjoy a time of wholesome entertainment.

Check the May River Theatre website to see upcoming shows, details, and schedules.

Enjoy the Bluffton Arts and Seafood Festival Celebrations

Join the festivities at the famous Bluffton Arts and Seafood Festival held in the downtown historic district.

This annual event is held in October and hosts weeklong activities that your family will enjoy.

The Street Fest is the highlight of the celebrations which feature fine art shows by more than a hundred artists displaying and selling their unique masterpieces.

You’ll get to catch works on watercolor, acrylic, pastel, and artistic pieces on various media like photography, metals, and wood; likewise, drop by the local shops and galleries in The Original One Square Mile and see artists doing their crafts.

Enjoy rows of delicious specialty dishes served by top culinary spots and food vendors in town, along with great music and entertainment to set the mood.

Sign up for the 5K or 10K marathon race and join the after-party with flowing cold beer, May River Mimosas, Oyster Shooters, and endless music.

You can also sign up for the Supper Soiree and support a local cause while enjoying a sumptuous dinner and the company of locals and guests.

You’ll surely have a great time at the Bluffton Arts and Seafood Festival.

Have an Excellent Dinner at Farm Bluffton

For more a unique dining experience, Farm Bluffton on May River Road offers you delectable diner and Sunday brunch fare,

All their ingredients are locally sourced so you’ll get fresh kitchen-to-table meals served in a warm and cozy ambiance.

What’s great about this restaurant is how it established its own non-profit Rootstock Community Foundation which aims to address mental health for those in the food industry.

The dinner menu begins with starters like Burrata & Ham, SC Shrimp, or Amberjack Crudo.

Get small-dish servings of Smoked Chicken Tamale, Pierogies, and Farrotto; then enjoy mouth-watering main courses like Whole Snapper, Hanger Steak, and Pork Chop.

More so, you can complement your dinner with cocktails and wines by the glass; you can also get Bubbles, Whites, and Reds by the bottle.

You can also add some vegetables and sides and finish your meal with Pumpkin Hand Pie or Gingerbread Cake.

Farm Bluffton also offers a Vegetarian Menu and Sunday Brunch where you can take your pick of the main dish and two assorted additions or sides.

Get Exclusive Local Products at Bluffton General Store

You’ll find a variety of Bluffton-made and LowCountry products at Bluffton General Store.

This charming store is found on Church Street and is open from Monday to Saturday.

Get exclusively designed apparel like sweatshirts, shop hats, and shirts.

Find Bath and Body essentials like bath bombs and hand lotions, and get cooking books and other good reads to gift or add to your collections.

You’ll also find assorted candle scents to help you relax and make your rooms cozy.

Shop for home and kitchen items from mugs to dish towels, along with country decors to add life to your designs.

And don’t forget to grab Bear Foods’ Poppy popcorn varieties and nuts.

Visit the Bluffton General Store for quality local items.

Final Thoughts

Bluffton is an astonishing destination for you to discover.

With incredible opportunities waiting in every corner, it would be impossible not to fall in love with what the city has to offer.

No matter how amazing your last trip was, Bluffton is guaranteed to win over your heart again when you return.

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