Our Photographers Contact Us
Our Patrons Please Give Today Add Images Add History Our Work South Carolina Picture Project

May River — Bluffton, South Carolina

SC Picture Project  |  Beaufort County  |  May River

Adopt A South Carolina Landmark
May River

Bluffton is situated on the north bluff of the May River, giving the Beaufort County town its name. The river winds through the Old Town area of Bluffton, which locals call “the last true coastal village of the South.”

May River

Andie Dick of Aiken, 2018 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

In the heart of Bluffton’s Old Town, one can experience the mystery of the May River with one of the many outfitters that navigate nature lovers along the waterway to view dolphins, catch shrimp, or just enjoy the rhythm of the tides.

Sailboat on the May River in Bluffton

Reggie Murphy of Columbia, 2013 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The May River Scenic Byway is an eleven mile historic scenic driving tour that starts at the Jasper/Beaufort county line, on South Carolina Highway 46, and traverses through Bluffton, ending at Brighton Beach. Along the route people can expect to see historic sites such as plantations and churches, oak canopies, marshes, wetlands, and protected scenic areas.

Beaufort County May River

Patty Kappmeyer of Hilton Head, 2018 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Reflections on the May River

Bluffton’s Russ Greene, who contributed the stunning panorama below, explains why he loves the May River: “The May River is a Bluffton tradition. This picture is taken overlooking the ‘bluff’ from which the town’s name originated. Whether buying fresh seafood from the Bluffton Oyster Company, spending lazy summer afternoons on the sandbar, or fishing off of one of the many docks on its shores, the May River is a local treasure.”

May River Sunset

Russ Greene of Bluffton, 2012 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The photo below entitled “Night Music” was contributed by friend of the South Carolina Picture Project Lamar Nix, who hails from nearby Seabrook. Lamar took this photo on a swamp off of the May River and writes, “This is a good example of the kind of bold colors and drama one can get from photographing the night sky after sunset. The reflections in the dark waters served to amplify the drama in the sky, and together suggested the title.”

Lamar Nix of Seabrook © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Kim Holstein, also of Bluffton, submitted this shot and says, “This photo was taken off the Calhoun Street dock facing west down the historic May River. The shrimp boats you see in the distance are docked at the Bluffton Oyster Company, a locally owned family company that still fishes the waters of the May River daily.”

May River

Kim Holstein of Bluffton, 2007 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Add your own reflections here.

May River Map

Please Share Your Thoughts!

Did you enjoy this page? Do you have any information we should add? Send us your comments below — we can't wait to hear from you!

6 Comments about May River

Sonny Hamauchi says:
June 18th, 2019 at 5:13 pm

To answer Larry L. Miller, the May River is 14 miles long.

Penn Pendleton says:
May 2nd, 2019 at 6:40 am

Who was the May River named for and when did this occur?

Jane McDonald says:
September 13th, 2018 at 9:27 am

What is the history of flooding in the Palmetto Bluff area?

Bill Bergin says:
August 18th, 2018 at 8:31 am

I believe at the Calhoun Street dock there is a plaque that states the May River is not really a river. What is it called then? Thank you.

Erma Ellis says:
January 12th, 2018 at 9:24 pm

The photo by Andie Dick is just absolutely gorgeous. The perspective is great and hues are beautiful. Make a good photo for the wall.

Larry L. Miller says:
December 13th, 2013 at 12:08 pm

Anyone know the “accepted” length of the May River? I assume the mouth is the Atlantic Ocean. I am compiling a reference book on rivers of the world, currently with ca. 7,500 entries. Thank you.


Join Us on Facebook
Follow Us on Instagram
See Us on Pinterest


Abbeville ACE Basin Adams Run Aiken Alcolu Allendale Anderson Awendaw Bamberg Banks Barns & Farms Barnwell Batesburg-Leesville Beaches Beaufort Beech Island Belton Bennettsville Bishopville Blackville Bluffton Bridges Bygone Landmarks Camden Carnegie Libraries Cayce Cemeteries Charleston Charleston Navy Base Cheraw Chester Chesterfield Churches Clemson Clinton Clio Colleges Columbia Conway Cordesville Courthouses Darlington Daufuskie Island Denmark Dillon Donalds Easley Edgefield Edisto Elloree Erhardt Eutawville Fairfax Florence Folly Beach Forests and Nature Preserves Fort Mill Fountain Inn Gaffney Garden City Beach Georgetown Glenn Springs Graniteville Great Falls Greeleyville Greenville Greenwood Greer Hamburg Hampton Hardeeville Hartsville Hemingway Hilton Head Historical Photos Historic Houses Hodges Holly Hill Honea Path Hopkins Hotels & Inns Huger Hunting Island Isle of Palms Jails James Island Jamestown Johns Island Johnsonville Johnston Kiawah Island Kingstree Lake City Lake Marion Lakes Lancaster Landrum Latta Laurens Lexington Libraries Lighthouses Little River Lowndesville Manning Marion Mars Bluff McClellanville McCormick Military Mills Moncks Corner Mountains Mount Carmel Mount Pleasant Mullins Murrells Inlet Myrtle Beach National Register Newberry Ninety Six North Augusta North Charleston North Myrtle Beach Orangeburg Pacolet Parks Pawleys Island Pendleton Pickens Piers Pinewood Pinopolis Plantations Pomaria Port Royal Post Offices Prosperity Ravenel Restaurants Ridgeland Ridge Spring Ridgeway Rivers Roadside Oddities Robert Mills Rock Hill Rockville Rosenwald Schools Salters Saluda Santee Savannah River Site SC Artists SC Heroes of the Alamo Schools Seneca Shrimp Boats Society Hill Spartanburg Sports Springs St. George St. Helena Island St. Matthews Stateburg Stores Sullivan's Island Summerton Summerville Sumter Sunset Synagogues Town Clocks Trains & Depots Trees Trenton Troy Turbeville Ulmer Union Wadmalaw Island Walhalla Walterboro Ware Shoals Waterfalls Water Towers Wedgefield West Columbia Westminster Winnsboro Woodruff Yemassee York