Bluffton ’s eccentric little art studios, most clustered in a two-block stretch on Calhoun Street, are by far its main shopping draw. Named for the Lowcountry phenomenon you find in the marsh at low tide amongst the fiddler crabs, Bluffton’s Pluff Mudd Art (27 Calhoun St., 843/757-5551, Mon.–Sat. 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m.) is a cooperative of 16 great young painters and photographers from throughout the area.
The Guild of Bluffton Artists (20 Calhoun St., 843/757-5590, Mon.–Sat., 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m.) features works from many local artists, as does the outstanding Society of Bluffton Artists (48 Boundary St., 843/757-6586).
For cool, custom handcrafted pottery, try Preston Pottery and Gallery (10 Church St., 843/757-3084). Another great Bluffton place is the hard-to-define eggs’n’tricities (71 Calhoun St., 843/757-3446). The name pretty much says it all for this fun and eclectic vintage/junk/jewelry/folk art store.
While the most unique gift items in Bluffton  are in its many local art galleries and studios, there are a couple of charming, non-art related shops that are very much worth checking out—and conveniently, they’re right next to each other!
The aptly named The Store (56 Calhoun St., 843/757-3855, Mon.–Sat. 10 a.m.–5 p.m.) is located, sure enough, in the historic 1904 Peeples Store building. Babby Guscio’s place not only offers a lot of neat knick-knacks and gifts in addition to tasty comestibles, it’s also a great place to meet locals and strike up a conversation. But no high heels, please!
Literally right next door in an adjoining space is the tiny but thoroughly delightful Scuppernongs (56-A Calhoun St., 843/757-8463, Mon.–Sat. 11 a.m.–7 p.m.) wine shop.
If you want to score some fresh local seafood for your own culinary adventure, the no-brainer choice is the Bluffton Oyster Company (63 Wharf St., 843/757-4010), the state’s only active oyster facility. They also have shrimp, crab, clams, and fish, nearly all of it from the nearly pristine May River on whose banks it sits.
For a much more commercially intense experience, head just outside of Bluffton  on U.S. 278 on the way to Hilton Head  to find the dual Tanger Outlet Centers (1414 Fording Island Rd., 843/837-4339, Mon.–Sat. 10 a.m.–9 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.–6 p.m.), an outlet-shopper’s paradise with virtually every major brand represented, from Nine West to Ralph Lauren to Abercrombie & Fitch and dozens more, including new additions Skechers and the Limited Too. A serious shopper can easily spend most of a day here between its two sprawling malls, Tanger I and Tanger II, so be forewarned!