Unfortunately, most folks don’t have the budget for such luxury: a home in Hilton Head will set you back nearly half a million dollars, on average. But savvy retirees have discovered a sweet secret: just across the causeway from Hilton Head lies the welcoming — and affordable! — community of Bluffton.
With just 12,734 residents, the town feels comfortably small, and best of all, the cost of living here is well below the national average. While median home prices run around $278,302, that’s a solid relief from Hilton Head’s steep costs.
Of course, being just a short drive over the bridge means Bluffton retirees can enjoy the same benefits as Hilton Head residents like the aforementioned tranquil beaches and brilliant golf greens.
Still, Bluffton has plenty to offer on its own, including a number of attractive, self-contained communities with amenities such as gold, including some along the scenic Colleton River.
Con: Extremely high crime rate
Best For: Beach & golf lovers on a budget
Cost of Living: 9% below national average
Median Home Cost: $278,302
Top State Income Tax: 7%
Crime Rate: 118% higher than national average
Retirees can also head into Old Town Bluffton, the town’s charming historic district which is dotted with interesting boutiques, antiques shops, galleries and restaurants. Foodies will want to flock to the Bluffton Oyster Company, where incredibly, oysters are still harvested (and shucked) by hand.
Another bonus for Bluffton is the presence of the University of South Carolina Bluffton campus, which offers a number of continuing education classes, including computer science, languages and photography courses.
Retirees considering a move to Bluffton should be aware that the nearest medical facility is 7 miles away on Hilton Head island, and the crime rate is a staggering 118 percent higher than the national average.