A Riverfront Escape

At South Carolina’s Palmetto Bluff, Lowcountry splendor is on full display

A quiet moment amid the Palmetto Bluff marshland.

Just beyond Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, Palmetto Bluff is a residential community, resort, and nature preserve unlike any other in the South. Tucked along the May River, the community is a true celebration of the Lowcountry, with care and reverence for the land in every thoughtfully planned detail. For homeowners, life here is fittingly centered on outdoor pursuits, be it shooting, largemouth bass fishing, or simply savoring the breeze from a wraparound porch.

Encompassing more than twenty thousand acres, Palmetto Bluff is the East Coast’s largest remaining continuous waterfront property. Surrounded by three rivers and thirty-two miles of shoreline, the land has been fiercely protected by the Palmetto Bluff Conservancy since its establishment in 2003. As a result, the landscape is one of the most pristine in the country, brimming with natural wonders from century-old live oaks to wild turkeys and soaring birds of prey. Rare as this environment may be, more special still is the opportunity to make a home among it all.

Throughout the grounds, Palmetto Bluff takes cues from the architectural traditions of the Lowcountry, creating a harmonious feel between its several distinct pockets. Wilson Village, for example, was the Bluff’s first development, and still functions as the community’s heart. Extensive research into the South’s small coastal towns culminated in the neighborhood’s charming design, characterized by wide, welcoming porches and ample pedestrian paths, all beneath a canopy of wispy Spanish moss.

An extension of Wilson Village, the River Road neighborhood is especially desirable, lying adjacent to the 120-acre River Road Preserve. In what is known as the Garden District of Palmetto Bluff, this neighborhood is built around numerous shared green spaces—including Cove Park, a community garden, a playground, and a dog park—weaving elements of the natural landscape into everyday life with ease. Here, the architecture is slightly more classic, taking cues from the historic homes of Charleston and Savannah. A wonderful place for both adults and families, River Road also boasts the Lodge, a members-only facility with a fitness center, a private lounge area, and a zero-entry pool along the banks of the inland waterway.

Moreland Village is Palmetto Bluff’s most recent addition. Located at the confluence of the forest, marsh, and waterways, the village is uniquely positioned for Lowcountry adventures. A set of carefully laid trails connects the community to amenities like the Moreland Bike Shop and the grab-and-go Canteen café, as well as picturesque gathering places along the water. With just a short walk or bike ride, residents can cast a fly on the river, meet up with their neighbors at the Village Green, or steer a kayak through the seven-and-a-half-mile freshwater trail that connects Moreland and Wilson Villages. Further emphasizing an appreciation for life outdoors, the neighborhood’s homes blur the line between indoors and out, with bright, airy rooms and plentiful space for living, lounging, and entertaining alfresco.

Beyond these homey options, residents also enjoy access to many of Palmetto Bluff’s members-only amenities, including several unrivaled sporting experiences. The Palmetto Bluff Shooting Club, for one, offers a world-class field experience with thirteen clays stations, an elevated five-stand station, and a wobble deck field positioned throughout an expansive forty-acre hardwood bottom. For resident anglers and wildlife admirers, the community’s seven-and-a-half-mile Inland Waterway provides some of the best fishing opportunities in the Lowcountry—and some of its most beautiful scenery. Meanwhile, Longfield Stables is a haven for equestrians, home to 173 acres of farmland perfect for training and leisurely riding alike, and golfers find bliss at the May River golf course, an eighteen-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature design that stretches more than seven thousand waterfront yards.

Hospitality is a core value around the Bluff, evidenced by a dazzling food and beverage program. The community’s culinary operations are overseen by executive chef Rhy Waddington, a veteran of New York’s storied Winged Foot Golf Club and an early innovator within the farm-to-table movement. Under Waddington’s guidance, fresh ingredients sourced primarily from local growers are inherent to each of the Bluff’s nine dining options, ranging from casual waterfront hangouts and neighborhood coffee spots to lively tapas and cocktail bars. In each locale, dishes draw inspiration from South Carolina’s rich culinary legacy, as well as its bounty of native provisions, from Carolina Gold rice to red snapper and plump local shrimp.

Fueling this culinary ethos, Palmetto Bluff is also home to a working farm. A still-growing operation, the farm is guided by the region’s agricultural history, focused on sustainable practices to cultivate its crops. In turn, homeowners and guests of Palmetto Bluff can reap the benefits, be it access to fresh produce and hands-on experiences or farm-hosted meals with their neighbors.

For those considering making the Bluff their home, a stay at the on-site resort, Montage Palmetto Bluff, is a wonderful way to get a feel for the property. A Forbes five-star hotel, Montage encompasses a charming collection of guest rooms, suites, cottages, and vacation homes, nestled peacefully amid the Bluff’s natural setting. Here, guests can experience the breathtaking grounds in full, whether meandering through the vast nature preserve, chartering a boat at the riverfront marina, or settling in for a sunset supper overlooking the water. It’s no surprise, then, that hotel guests often find themselves falling for this rare coastal enclave; the joy of the Lowcountry lifestyle is contagious, and nowhere is it clearer than at Palmetto Bluff.

Learn more about this Lowcountry oasis: or 843-896-3638