If you ask us, nature is one of the most appealing and special parts of the Lowcountry. Here, we’re surrounded by gorgeous coastal views, sweeping marshlands, and thriving maritime forests. Due to its many unique ecosystems, it’s not surprising that our region is rich with wildlife! One of the best places to get to know our diverse array of local wildlife is Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge. Below, we’ve compiled everything you need to know about it! For even more local insight, be sure to reference our complimentary Bluffton Vacation Guide. It’s packed with hand-picked dining, shopping, and activity recommendations!
Your Ultimate Guide to Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge
What Is Pinckney Island Wildlife Refuge?
A Collection of Islands
Contrary to what its name may indicate, 4,053-acre Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge actually encompasses several small islands. Those include Pinckney Island (the largest), Corn Island, Big Harry Island, Little Harry Island, and Buzzard Island. Only Pinckney, however, is publically accessible. When you visit, this is the island you will experience!
A Historic Destination
Did you know that the refuge has been around since 1975? Between 1801 and 1937, the land was part of Major General Charles Cotesworth Pinckney’s plantation. From 1937 to 1975, it was privately owned and managed as a game preserve. Since becoming a national wildlife refuge, the Fish and Wildlife Service has carefully maintained the land’s precious ecological features.
The Perfect Place for Birding and Wildlife-Spotting
Since the refuge consists of salt marsh, tidal creek, maritime forest, brushland, fallow field, and freshwater pond features, there are numerous plant and animal species to spot. Stroll the many walking trails on Pinckney Island and look out for waterfowl, shorebirds, raptors, wading birds, white-tailed deer, alligators, raccoons, and snakes—just to name a few. The refuge is especially known for its dense populations of neotropical migratory birds ibis, herons, and egrets. Be sure to bring your binoculars!
Stay Just Minutes Away from the Refuge
Want to stay close to Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge but avoid the tourist crowds of Hilton Head? Don’t stress! Old Town Bluffton Inn—the Lowcountry’s newest boutique hotel—is a quick 25-minute drive from the refuge. After exploring the great outdoors, return to your luxurious room at the inn! You’ll love Old Town Bluffton’s array of excellent restaurants (all within walking distance)! There are also plenty of charming shops and galleries to explore. Simply select one of our uniquely decorated rooms, book it online, and get ready to experience some of the finest amenities in the Lowcountry.