Centered between Hilton Head Island and Interstate 95, Bluffton is small South Carolina city towards the coastline. The original city was a square mile in area, but expansion helped the city build up with more territories and South Carolina natives. However, the Old Town still exists, but more for historic entertainment, as many of the old-fashioned structures are seated at the bluffs of the May River.
Home to just over 12,000 locals, Bluffton is the epitome of a little city, where travelers come for the leisure of nature-made beauty and a calm, peaceful atmosphere. Of course, towards downtown you will find shops, restaurants, and a few museums, but the outskirts of Bluffton are dedicated to natural wonders, like rivers and the skylines towards Hilton Head Island.
Looking for fun things to do in Bluffton, SC?
There are a dozen or more things to do and see in Bluffton, but one of the most popular attractions is the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge. Sprawled across nearly 30,000 acres of marshlands, wetlands, and plains, the refuge is perfection for nature lovers. You can go on a four-mile wildlife drive to see how many native animals you can spot, such as gators, deer, and hundreds of exotic birds.
Or, pick a nature path and go on an arduous hike uphill and downhill to test your fitness and stamina. Several of the paths lead you right next to the swamps of the salt marshlands, which are beautiful butchock-full of alligators. The area is peaceful and serene, but you should keep aware, be attentive, and stay safe by following the designated trails. For information about the refuge, venture to the Welcome Center near the parking grounds at the entrance to the park.
For this next adventure, catch a ride to Hilton Head Island to explore the historic Harbour Town Lighthouse. Constructed in 1969, the lighthouse [conveniently located on Lighthouse Road] is a beautiful must-see. Climb from bottom to top with over 126 steps. Or, settle for a ground tour of the lighthouse interior.
There are a few shops and a café around the lighthouse base, while a set of bluffs offer ideal views over the ocean. The spiral staircase on the lighthouse’s interior is sturdy and reliable, with old photographs and memorabilia dotting the walls on the climb skywards.
Take a few moments and head over to the Church of the Cross at 110Calhoun Street. This historic church, built in 1767 as part of St. Luke's Parish, was added the to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. The church has been spared from the burning of Bluffton by Federalists in 1863 and has survived high coastal winds and a hurricane.
Another beautiful and historic site is the Rose Hill Mansion located at 199 Rose Hill Way. The plantation, originally built in the late 1850's as a wedding gift, is a private residence but offers tours to the public (reservations required.)
"A building out of medieval Europe, lofty, imposing, timeless and indestructible, sitting in Gothic splendor beside a low country coastal river – surely someone must have rubbed Aladdin's magic lamp by mistake. But when you blink your eyes and look again, it's still there. (Savannah Morning News, April 21, 1946)
Food—glorious southern food!
Food-wise, there are numerous restaurants in Bluffton—many of which serve up classic American cuisine with Southern spins. For instance, Truffles Café is a slightly upscale establish-ment, where you can order a classic cheeseburger and have it elevated with bacon, your choice of sauces, and a side of fresh-cut sweet potato fries.
Or, order something a little less traditional with truffle salads, mango salmon, chicken pot pie, or crab cake. For dessert, sample a few bites of homemade key lime pie.
If you’d prefer some culture with a new dining experience, take a chance on Claude and Uli’s —a French restaurant that serves up authentic French cuisine with upscale plate presentations. Their fare is presented with flare, comparable to what you would see on upscale cooking shows on Food Network. According to online reviewers, the best menu items are the French onion soup, seafood crepe, soft-shell crab, and rack of lamb with homemade mint sauce. Dessert-wise, the bread pudding is a big hit.
Looking for lodging in Bluffton?
When you come to Bluffton, expect a degree of peace and calm. This waterside town is scenic and a soothing experience for all types of travelers. With that in mind, here are a few top-rated hotel suggestions if you choose to book a stay in Bluffton—Candlewood Suites, Hampton Inn & Suites, Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites, and Montage Palmetto Bluff.
Many guests to the Candlewood Suites have top-ranked it a pleasant and pleasurable experience, with home-like accommodations that make it worth the stay.
Notable features include comfortable beds with plump pillows and plush mattresses, overall perfect cleanliness, a business center with meeting rooms, free high-speed internet, a golf course and tennis courts, and an outdoor swimming pool with a lounge area.
If you prefer dining in to ordering out, the Candlewood Cupboard is always open, offering a plethora of readily available snacks, breakfasts, lunches, and dinners—plus, a free movie library for guests making a night of it.
Hampton Inn & Suites
Hampton Inn & Suites on William Pope Drive, a homey and pleasant hotel, features a bunch of great accommodations for all kinds of guests—from families, to singles, to couples, weekend vacationers, and extended stayers.
Amenities-wise, the hotel offers free daily breakfasts within a cozy dining nook, free parking for guests, free high-speed internet, a well-equipped fitness center, an outdoor swimming pool, free basic cable, and self-serve laundry facilities.
In the mood for sweet treats? Walk across the parking lot to a local ice cream shop that serves up homemade ice creams with your choice of scrumptious toppings.
Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites
Located on Bluffton Road, the Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites is ranked among the best hotels in Bluffton. The accommodations are homey and simple, but comfortable, clean, and fair-priced throughout the year. A typical suite includes gorgeous views of the city, two double-size beds, a separate, well-furnished sitting area, a pleasant bathroom with well-stocked free toiletries, and a compact kitchenette. Indulge with a short walk to and a sweet treat at Katie O’Donalds—a diner-style restaurant that serves up warm, fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies with homemade vanilla ice cream and chocolate drizzles.
Montage Palmetto Bluff
Situated on Mount Pelia Road, the Montage Palmetto Bluff hotel is a bit off the beaten path, which proves for a peaceful and quiet stay for a multitude of travelers. Exclusive and beautiful, the hotel is one of the more expensive places to stay in Bluffton, but the luxurious amenities make it worth every penny.
The lodgings are more like waterside cottages, complete with a spacious kitchen, well-furnished living room, super-comfy king-sized beds, and a gorgeous bathroom with a stand-in shower and clean, fluffy towels.
You never have to leave the hotel because they offer a slew of entertainment options, such as spa services, a heated indoor swimming pool, tennis courts, a golf course, and a premier canoe club. As for celebrations, newlyweds have top-ranked this hotel the number one most romantic stay in Bluffton.
Ready to explore this serene and near-to-the-coast town of Bluffton? Book now. Save now. TravNow!