Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!
Bluffton, South Carolina
Charming Bluffton Sits on a Bluff Overlooking the May River and Has a Cute Downtown, Canopy Streets and Boat Docks
On a bluff above the May River on South Carolina's southern coast, charming Bluffton was built by wealthy plantation owners seeking a place to escape the summer heat. It became a booming steamboat port but then struggled to survive after the Civil War.
Things finally began to turn around in the 1990s when preservation efforts and proximity to Hilton Head Island, just seven miles down the road, helped make Bluffton one of the fastest growing towns in the state. Leafy established neighborhoods are populated with ranch ramblers and antebellum homes, while new subdivisions have sleek Craftsmans, Cape Cods and newly planted vegetation. Sun City Hilton Head is an amenity-rich 55+ community. Old Town Bluffton is cute with galleries, award-winning eateries, historic churches, festivals and tree-canopied streets. The Society of Bluffton Artists has exhibitions and classes, and the May River Theatre presents the best in local talent.
Bluffton is bicycle friendly and has paths or bike lanes along major arteries. Tanger Outlets boasts a wide range of national retailers. Four boat docks are within city limits, and important parks near the city include the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge, Pinckney Island, and Turtle Island. The Victoria Bluff Heritage Preserve is open for hiking, horseback riding, and bird watching.
Population: 33,000 (city proper)
Age 45 or Better: 30%
Cost of Living: 16% above the national average
Median Home Price: $495,000
Climate: Summer temperatures are in the 80s and 90s, and winter temperatures are in the 30s, 40s and 50s. On average, the area receives 52 inches of rain per year.
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients? No, but Hilton Head Hospital, eight miles away, accepts Medicare patients.
At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission? No, but Hilton Head Hospital, eight miles away, is accredited.
Public Transit: Palmetto Breeze provides bus transportation to neighboring towns.
Crime Rate: Below the national average
Public Library: Yes
Political Leanings: Conservative
College Educated: 42%
Cons: Hurricanes can happen, and 2016's Hurricane Matthew left neighborhoods flooded and trees uprooted. Hurricane Florence in 2018 caused damage, but Hurricane Dorian in 2019 left Bluffton mostly unscathed. Traffic between Bluffton and Hilton Head is a headache during the summer tourist season.
Is South Carolina Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Yes
Notes: The 1840s secessionist movement began in Bluffton, and the 350+ year old oak tree under which local leaders gathered and called for leaving the Union still stands. People who would like to live in Hilton Head but find it too expensive often choose Bluffton instead. Hence, the population has nearly tripled during the last decade. Home prices have increased 10% since last year.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes
South Carolina is nicknamed the Palmetto State and its motto is "Dum spiro spero," which is Latin for "While I Breath, I Hope." It is 40th in size in the United States and was the eighth state to be admitted to the Union, on May 23, 1788. The largest city and state capital is Columbia.
Formerly known as the Province of South Carolina, the area was also one of the Thirteen Colonies that declared its independence during the American Revolution. The state was the first to secede from the Union and was the first and founding state of the Confederate States of America.
South Carolina is in what is considered the Deep South and is bordered by the states Georgia on the south and North Carolina on the north.
The state does not host any major professional sport franchises. However, the Carolina Panthers and the Carolina Hurricanes actually represent both North Carolina and South Carolina.
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