With its antebellum mansions, storied streets lined with moss-draped oaks, ecologically rich wetlands, and friendly vibe, Bluffton, South Carolina, bills itself as "'the last true coastal village of the South." Find flights to Savannah, Georgia, and embark on a short trip north for a taste of the Old South.
History buffs will want to head straight from their Bluffton hotels to Old Town, a square mile of streets and houses established along the May River in the early 1800s. Bluffton thrived in its early days as a summer retreat for wealthy merchants and plantation owners, resulting in some fine antebellum mansions still standing today. Take a tour of Old Town to see such historic landmarks as the immaculately preserved circa-1840 Heyward House, which today houses one of South Carolina's largest collections of period artifacts, and the Church of the Cross, consecrated in 1854 and one of the oldest buildings in Bluffton. Its weather-beaten wood exterior and rose-gold windows make it especially striking. Bluffton vacation packages also appeal to outdoor enthusiasts, as the town is a hub for fishing charters, eco-tours, and kayaking adventures along the May River. Golfers have the chance to play an 18-hole public course in Bluffton, one of many fine golf courses in the region.
Bluffton's dining scene includes options from casual cafes to elegant bistros, fine dining to rustic barbecue joints. Restaurants along the May River boast beautiful views, while several of those in Old Town occupy significant historic properties. For a taste of the low country, look for local seafood, in particular oysters and blue crab in myriad preparations. Bluffton is also a town that takes its barbecue seriously, cooking it low and slow for many hours. Visitors staying at hotels in Bluffton during the week might catch the Thursday afternoon farmers' market in Old Town. Feast on locally grown produce, pastries, and artisanal food offerings, or grab a bite from one of the hot food vendors.
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