A dock on a pond at Sun City Hilton Head in Bluffton, South Carolina

Bluffton in South Carolina is a hot spot for retirees, and here's why.

For years, the coastal town of Bluffton, South Carolina was somewhat of a hidden gem. It's a small town full of Southern charm where the same families have lived for generations, and the tree-lined streets and historic homes make it look as though it’s straight out of a movie scene. But don’t let Bluffton’s slow-paced lifestyle fool you; there’s plenty to see and do in the area.

It’s no wonder the word finally got out about this Lowcountry haven. It’s become a highly desirable location for active adults, and it's also one of the fastest-growing communities in South Carolina.

Here’s why Bluffton is a hot spot for retirees:

Location

A directional sign in Bluffton, SC with arrows for May River, Charleston, Palmetto Bluff, Daufuskie, TYB, and the Bluffton Oyster Company

Bluffton is near some of the most beautiful beaches on the East Coast.

Situated between Savannah, Georgia and Hilton Head, South Carolina, Bluffton provides a quiet, small-town life with easy access to its larger neighbors and all they have to offer. It also offers proximity to some of the most beautiful beaches on the East Coast as well as the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport. The town is also conveniently located near several health care facilities, including the Bluffton Medical Campus, the Bluffton Okatie Outpatient Center, the MUSC Health Surgical Oncology at Bluffton Medical Campus, the Coastal Carolina Hospital, and the Hilton Head Hospital.

Bluffton has a growing population of 28,230 residents with a cost of living that is 4% higher than the national average, according to Best Places.

Climate

Evening on the May River tidal estuary as it flows by Bluffton, South Carolina

Bluffton has a subtropical climate.

Bluffton has a subtropical climate with mild, comfortable winters full of balmy days that allow residents to get outside and stay active. However, the months of July and August offer lots of heat and humidity with average temperatures in the 90s. Hurricanes and tropical storms can be an issue during the months of August and September.

Attractions

Exterior view of the Church of the Cross in Bluffton, South Carolina

Old Town Bluffton is brimming with things to see and do.

From art galleries and antique shops to historic, stately homes and stylish boutiques, the historic district of Old Town Bluffton is brimming with things to see and do. Every Thursday, residents can meander through the Bluffton Farmers Market for fresh produce, spices, and locally-made goods.

There’s no shortage of local eateries to choose from in Bluffton, with a wide variety of cuisines ranging from traditional Lowcountry fare at the Bluffton Oyster Company’s Family Seafood House to quaint cafes like The Cottage and upscale dining options like The Bluffton Room. After a delicious meal, residents can make their way to one of the many craft breweries, distilleries, or meaderies in town. For those who like to shop, there’s a number of conveniently located shopping centers as well as the Tanger Outlets.

With its location along the May River and subtropical climate, outdoor activities are aplenty throughout the entire year. Residents can spend time on the river kayaking and fishing or exploring the town’s historical sites like The Heyward House and Musem. Golfers can take their pick from a number of top-notch golf courses in the area, including the award-winning Hilton Head National Golf Club

Also, Bluffton has plenty of community events scheduled throughout the year for residents to enjoy, including annual festivals like the Historic Bluffton Arts & Seafood Festival—a local favorite.

Active Adult Communities in Bluffton

A dock by a pond on the grounds of Sun City Hilton Head in Bluffton, South Carolina

There are several active adult communities in the area to consider.

With so much to offer, it’s no surprise that active adults who are retiring and want to relocate gravitate toward Bluffton. Fortunately, there are several active adult communities in the area to consider:

Sun City Hilton Head

Mid $200s - Mid $1Ms

Located in nearby Hilton Head, Sun City Hilton Head is the state’s largest active adult community with over 9,000 homes. The established, 55+ neighborhood has several dozen floor plans to choose from. Sun City Hilton Head is well known for its expansive list of resort-style amenities, which includes everything from an expansive retail shopping center to three 18-hold golf courses and a 20-acre fishing lake.

Request more information about Sun City Hilton Head.

Hampton Lake

Low $500s - High $1Ms

Bluffton’s Hampton Lake is an upscale, gated community that features a mixture of single-family and attached homes. The development offers several floor plans built by multiple builders, giving buyers the opportunity to design the home of their dreams. Hampton Lake has a long list of amenities that includes a 165-acre boating and fishing lake, a state-of-the-art fitness center, an on-site restaurant, a beach, and more.

Request more information about Hampton Lake.

Four Seasons at Carolina Oaks

Low $400s - High $400s

The Four Seasons at Carolina Oaks is a gated and age-restricted community that will feature a total of 559 single-family homes upon final completion. Amenities within the community include a clubhouse with multipurpose rooms, a lounge, a ballroom, a fitness center, an aerobics and dance studio, a community kitchen, and an arts and crafts studio. Outdoor amenities include a pool and patio area, tennis courts, pickleball courts, a garden, and walking and biking trails.

Request more information about Four Seasons at Carolina Oaks.

The Haven

High $200s - High $500s

The Haven is another gated and age-restricted community in Bluffton that will feature 500 single-family homes. Noteworthy amenities include an 8,500 square-foot clubhouse that has a fitness center, a ballroom, an internet cafe, a craft room, a card room, and a catering kitchen. Outdoors, residents have access to a pool, several athletic courts, a dog park, gardening plots, fishing lakes, and walking and biking trails.

Request more information about The Haven.

The Crescent

High $400s - Low $700s

The Crescent is a gated, golf community made up of 421 single-family homes. Floor plans range from 1,534 to 4,918 square feet and have two to six bedrooms, two to five bathrooms, and attached two-car garages. The Crescent’s amenities include a clubhouse, multipurpose rooms, a fitness center, a pub, an outdoor pool and patio, an 18-hole golf course designed by Arnold Palmer, plus pickleball and tennis courts.

Request more information about The Crescent.

Baynard Park

Mid $300s - Mid $500s

Situated along the Okatee River, the gated Baynard Park community consists of 309 single-family homes. There are six distinct floor plans that range from 1,780 to 2,597 square feet and offer two to three bedrooms, two to three bathrooms, and two- or three-car garages. Baynard Park’s amenities include a clubhouse, a fitness room, an outdoor pool, two tennis courts, two half-court basketball courts, a cover pavilion, and walking and biking trails.

Request more information about Baynard Park.

Alston Park at New Riverside

Low $300s - Low $400s

Alston Park at New Riverside features 133 single-family homes. There are several floor plans that range from 1,406 to 2,492 square feet and have two to four bedrooms, two to two-and-a-half bathrooms, and two-car garages. The community’s amenities include a clubhouse, a resort-style pool, a fitness room, a lounge, a hobby and game room, plus walking and biking trails.

Request more information about Alston Park at New Riverside.

The Reserve at Cypress Ridge

Low $300s - High $300s

Made up of only 62 single-family homes, The Reserve at Cypress Ridge is ideal for active adults looking for a small community. Amenities at The Reserve at Cypress Ridge include an expansive clubhouse, a three-story fitness center, an outdoor pool and patio, two tennis courts, two basketball courts, a dog park, and a scenic lake. There’s also a kiddie pool and tot lot for grandchildren to enjoy while visiting.

Request more information about The Reserve at Cypress Ridge.