Bluffton, SC Travel Guide
Bluffton is a state of mind…
This phrase was in the air during our time in Bluffton from people referencing it to the quote being on the side of buildings. Bluffton does seem like a state of mind…a peaceful, happy one. The people are kind, architecture mixes the old with the new, and the Spanish moss that serves as a frame for most of the roads makes you feel as though you’re in the South. It’s location is perfect being half way between Hilton Head and Savannah, GA. It was an easy trip in either direction allowing you to have access to both, and still retire to your own quiet street at night.
WHERE TO STAY
While in town, we stayed at the Old Town Bluffton Inn. It’s located right in the middle of Old Town Bluffton which is the town’s original one square mile area. The inn is the epitome of Southern charm. Welcoming and beautiful, with nods to the history of this region. All rooms are decorated differently allowing each to hold its own character and story. From bedding to independent design elements, they covered each detail with intentional care. It was a nice haven for us after busy days of sightseeing and swimming.
Abigail (who helped us check-in) took us on a mini tour of the property and shared more about the inn’s owner. His background is in building luxury homes in Connecticut and you can tell he used that experience and perspective with this project. From fresh baked cookies every day to the ability to buy the decor from your room, they have ensured that every detail is covered.
TIP: If you stay at the inn, make sure to leave at least one afternoon or evening for exploring the town that it’s nestled in. I share some of the suggestions below, most of which are walkable from here.
WHAT TO EAT | WHAT TO DO
Bluffton is a charming town serving as the middle ground between Hilton Head and Savannah, GA. It’s a little haven in the middle of two bustling places both known for their tourism. From the Spanish moss that serves as a frame for most roads to the kind, hospitable people in the town, Bluffton made you feel that you were in the South. Local culture is king here so Doug and I enjoyed exploring the eateries and shops you can’t find anywhere else in the world. Shops of curated goods from all over South Carolina, endless architecture (specifically old churches), and delicious local cuisine=sign this girl up.
Bluffton is a truly local town. Each spot that we stopped into made sure to let us know another place that we needed to go. Here are just a few highlights (from L to R)…
FARM-You can’t get much more local than Farm. Their menu switches based on the food they’re able to get as they only source within 30 miles of their restaurant. Delicious, interesting dishes with a touch of comfort and Southern charm.
GARDEN GATE NURSERY-Loved this calming place with the most beautiful outdoor area of plants and flowers.
CALHOUN’S-Just good, non-fussy, Southern goodness. When items on the menu are “pickled brined” or” crab stuffed”, sign us up.
CHURCH OF THE CROSS-In 1863, most of Bluffton was burned. One of the buildings that survived was Church of the Cross. The roots of this congregation travel back to the 1700s but the building itself was established in 1857. We quietly wandered the grounds taking in the weight and resilience of its history.
BLUFFTON GENERAL STORE-If you would like to grab a souvenir or a gift this would be my suggestion. Full of charming pieces including some great locally made items, this is a must. I walked away with a little dish made out of oyster shells from a local artists and of course, some Bluffton postcards.
THE COTTAGE-This is one of the most popular suggestions that we got while in town for both breakfast and lunch. We ended up splitting the difference and going around 11. The menu was full of items that sounded good but I landed on a burger with pimento cheese on it and Doug got a turkey, apple, and brie sandwhich…both incredible. We sat outside under their umbrellas soaking in the sunshine and warm weather. It was the perfect lunch for these wintered out Michiganders.
LOCAL PIE-The night we arrived we stopped into Local Pie. We were excited to be in town but beat from a couple days of travel. Wood-fired pizza sounded like the perfect solution. It was easy and delicious. Highly recommend if you’re craving some pizza.
COCOON-One of the adorable clothing boutiques in town. From interesting footwear to beautiful jewelry (hi Julie Vos) to great dresses, this was one of the most fashionable stops in Bluffton.
AGAVE-Bring on the cocktails. That’s all.
BLUFFTON BBQ-When in Rome you get some BBQ. Take note of the hours though if you would like to check it out…they are only open Wednesday through Saturday.
LETTRS GIFTS-Loved this little shop. They had a great kids section which my nephews definitely enjoyed. Had all the personalized, gift items you would want on vacation and beyond.
HISTORICAL SPOTS-While the Church of the Cross stood out to us, there are so many great historical locations in Bluffton. You can do a walking tour or even just drive around and soak in the architecture and endearing nature of these spots.
TIP: Don’t fall into the trap of eating at a chain restaurant just because they’re available and sometimes feel ‘easier’. Make it a priority to eat local when you’re in towns like Bluffton. It’s just too good to pass up…
WHAT TO WEAR
Because there was just too much fun, I did a whole post dedicated to the outfits that I wore while on this trip. You can read that post here.
TIP: When in doubt, dress it out. I lived in flowy maxi dresses while we were visiting. Comfortable, stylish, and breathable for hotter days they are the perfect go-to outfit for this area.
I hope that our travel plans bring me back to Bluffton/South Carolina sometime soon. In the meantime, I hope this serves as a helpful guide if you are headed that way.
*I partnered with Old Town Bluffton Inn on this post, but all content and thoughts are my own.