Those familiar with Bluffton, South Carolina, know that this charming town is a hotspot for boutique shopping, delicious southern cuisine, and riverside relaxation. What folks might not know, however, is that being in “The Bluffton State of Mind” also involves time spent hiking through picturesque maritime forests! Bluffton may not immediately strike visitors as an outdoorsman’s paradise, but spots like the New River Linear Trail prove that fans of fresh-air adventures can thrive here. Here’s everything you need to know about this railroad-turned-hiking-trail! For more of our favorite local attractions, be sure to:
The New River Linear Trail: Venturing Off the Beaten Path
If you’re searching for a truly off-the-beaten-path treasure in beautiful Bluffton, the New River Linear Trail is your perfect match. Located just a short drive away from Old Town Bluffton between Okatie and Hardeeville, this rail-trail offers a relatively short but enjoyable hike through a gorgeous forest and a historic marsh, where plantation owners used to harvest rice. Read on to learn more about it!
Where Is the Trail?
The entrance to the New River Trail can be found on the left-hand side of Okatie Highway heading toward Savannah. It can be tough to locate, so keep an eye out for a clearing once you pass The Heritage at Riverside. The coordinates are 32.2416° N, 81.0040° W!
What to Keep in Mind Before Your Hike
Most people will find that this trail makes for an easy and quick hike, but there are a few things to keep in mind before embarking. If you’re visiting in the summer, be sure to bring bug spray and lots of water! This trail can get extremely hot and buggy during this time of year. If you’re into birding, this can also be a great spot to use a pair of binoculars. You may even spot a deer, raccoon, possum, or fox on your journey. Otherwise, just adhere to the rules posted at the beginning of the trail and have fun!
Other Fantastic Trails in the Bluffton Area
Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge
If you’re searching for more hiking opportunities in Bluffton, grab your gear and head to Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge! Here, you’ll discover lush knolls, natural butterfly gardens, and sweeping marsh views! If you’re heading eastbound, you’ll find the entrance to this incredible spot on the left side of the road between Bluffton and Hilton Head Island just before you traverse the bridge.
Buckwalter Place Greenway
Another one of Bluffton’s hidden hiking trails is the Buckwalter Place Greenway! This relatively new spot offers a 1.5-mile forested trek that feels miles away from the shopping center it winds around. This is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle for a little while!
Victoria Bluff Heritage Preserve
Finally, we recommend checking out Victoria Bluff Heritage Preserve. Like the New River Trail, this beautiful spot feels off-the-beaten-path (but can be found in the heart of Bluffton). Discover Victoria Bluff Heritage Preserve across from the Tanger Outlets toward the end of Sawmill Creek Road!
Your foray in nature doesn’t have to end once you’re through hiking. Come back for a restful night’s sleep at Old Town Bluffton Inn, the town’s newest and most luxurious lodging option, and enjoy being just steps away from the majestic May River (where you can embark on fun excursions)! Start your day by breathing in the fresh air on your balcony as you overlook the comings and goings of Bluffton’s Historic District. Then, come downstairs and enjoy a scrumptious gourmet breakfast of handmade pastries and designer espresso drinks. Your dream small-town getaway awaits at Old Town Bluffton Inn!