A key kayaking outfitter in Bluffton  is Native Guide Kayak Tours (8 2nd St., 843/757-5411), which features tours of the May and New Rivers led by native Ben Turner. Another good outfit is Swamp Girls Kayak Tours (843/784-2249, www.swampgirls.com ), the labor of love of Sue Chapman and Linda Etchells.
To put in your own kayak or canoe on the scenic, well-preserved May River, go to the Alljoy Landing at the eastern terminus of Alljoy Road along the river. Or try the dock at the end of Calhoun Street near the Church of the Holy Cross. There’s also a rough put-in area at the Bluffton Oyster Company (63 Wharf St.), which has a public park adjacent to it.
For fishing, public landings include the dock on Calhoun Street, Alljoy Landing, and Bluffton Oyster Company.
You can find a great 12-mile tour of Old Town Bluffton  at www.greaterblufftonpathways.org . It starts at the Piggly Wiggly grocery store in town, goes south on Thomas Heyward Street, east on Bridge Street, north on Calhoun Street, south on Bluffton Road, and east on Alljoy Road. The route includes spurs to the Church of the Cross, Myrtle Island, the marsh on the May River, and Pine Island.
For a much more wild hiking and bird-watching experience, go north of Bluffton to Victoria Bluff Heritage Preserve (803/734-3886, daily dawn–dusk, free), an 1100-acre flatwoods habitat notable for featuring all four native species of palmetto tree. There are no facilities, and a lot of hunting goes on in November and December. Get here from Bluffton by taking Burnt Church Road to U.S. 278. Take a right onto U.S. 278 and then a left onto Sawmill Creek Road heading north. The parking area is shortly ahead on your right.
The closest public golf courses to Bluffton  are the Arnold Palmer–designed Crescent Pointe Golf Club (1 Crescent Pointe Dr., 888/292-7778, www.crescentpointegolf.com , $90) and the nine-hole Old Carolina Golf Club (89 Old Carolina Rd., 888/785-7274, www.oldcarolinagolf.com , $26), certainly one of the best golf deals in the region.