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Roughly two hours or so from Charleston down Hwy 17 gets you to Palmetto Bluff, or “The Bluff ” as it’s affectionately known. Charlestonians have their getaway places. In the summer it’s often to the mountains of North Carolina and in the fall there is simply no better place to be than The Bluff, located in Bluffton SC. This lowcountry getaway, drips old southern charm, offering up hospitality at the highest level and catering to a crowd that appreciates an outdoor-centric, sporting lifestyle. In Palmetto Bluff, this resort getaway designed for relaxation, time has the uncanny ability to actually feel like it is slowing down.

The South Carolina Lowcountry

Palmetto Bluff is 20,000 or so acres of old southern woodland stand, deer hunting tracks and timberland turned in to a resort and a surrounding planned community. The whole place is on a physical bluff some 20 feet above the May River almost guaranteeing a steady pleasant breeze, even in mid-summer. Like many of the exclusive resort communities along the coastal Carolinas it has its mix of permanent residents, returning vacation home owners and travelers in search of a unique (but still upscale) vacation experience, in a similar manner to many of the other Barrier Island communities. Kiawah without the opulence or the traffic, Defuski but with more polish. While it has its own resort within the development providing a superb range of amenities, the true appeal to the majority of vacationers is a stay in one of the luxury vacation rentals dotted throughout the resort and the chance to experience  the lowcountry like a local.

A Love for the Outdoors

So just what does a vacation look like at Palmetto Bluff? A typical day might look something like this. Sleep late, enjoy quiet mornings with coffee on the porch, play with the children, and bicycle everywhere. Eat breakfast late, swim, read, converse and contemplate. Take the kids to explore an adventure-filled treehouse.  Palmetto Bluff has two magical treehouse creations that would make even the Swiss Family Robinson envious.

The first is tucked away in the live oaks in Moreland Village, alongside the May River, With 55 steps, and unlimited views at the top, this 5-story tree house was designed to blend in with the surrounding Palmetto Bluff landscape. The second is 3-stories of climbing fun, featuring a spiral staircase, a slide, a wooden boardwalk, and a rope ladder. Fish from the Moreland Dock, or just about everywhere, or watch enormous Blue Herons fishing for themselves or Egret colonies roosting at dusk.

 

Wilson Village

The idyllic town square, Wilson Village, includes quaint shops, and restaurants, from Melt ice cream shop, dishing up twelve signature southern ice creams, to Octagon or The River House serving up exceptional lowcountry cuisine. There are old ruins to explore, nature trails, guided tours, golf courses, shooting classes, gyms and conservancy lessons. You can cruise the river into Bluffton proper or Savannah a little further off, or even kayak the river and its surrounding tidal creeks joined by the occasional frolicking dolphin.

 

You can roast s’mores at sunset and listen to live music play until bedtime, gaze at the stars and listen to the frogs.  Crisp fall evenings call for cocktails around the fire pit, or a crackling fireplace on the porch.

 

 

All of this with a backdrop of just incredible lowcountry beauty. Shady tree-lined streets with ancient live oaks heavy with Spanish moss. Scenic views of the May River include the Grace, a perfectly restored 1913 motor yacht, tied up to the dock at Wilson Village waiting for afternoon excursions that include drinks at sunset, or the meandering Inland Waterway that makes a journey through many of Palmetto Bluffs neighborhoods. Marshes and tidal creeks teeming with trout, redfish, crabs and shrimp that beckon for exploration and a day spent fishing.

Plan your Palmetto Bluff Getaway this Fall

You’re sure to enjoy your stay in Palmetto Bluff when your trip includes all the comforts offered in our Luxury Simplified Retreats – Palmetto Bluff vacation homes. Our collection of rentals features incredible amenities and superb locations. There are so many things you can do on the property and the scenic, breathtaking backdrop of the Lowcountry surrounds you in Palmetto Bluff, with gorgeous oak trees, vast waterways and a laid-back, serene lifestyle. But why not experience a vintage voyage in a 1930’s Bentley, or travel by private water taxi to explore the Bluffton Farmers Market? With our Guide to Exclusive Experiences, these are just some of the ways you customize your stay for an unforgettable, one-of-a-kind vacation – and we have a team of people ready to help you plan it all.

Nestled amidst the breathtaking Lowcountry landscape of South Carolina, the resort community of Palmetto Bluff offers unparalleled living that seamlessly blends nature, with luxury amenities and a vibrant social scene. From the tranquil waters of the May River to the charming streets of Wilson Village, this picturesque resort provides an array of activities that can be experienced by residents and visitors alike. So just what is it like to spend “a day in the life of Palmetto Bluff,” discovering the endless opportunities for adventure? Here’s how to spend a perfect day … or two.

A Riverfront Walk

Visitors to Palmetto Bluff awaken to the gentle sounds of nature and the promise of a remarkable day ahead. One of the most popular activities in this community is a morning stroll along the riverfront trails that wind through majestic live oaks and towering pines, offering stunning views of the May River. Designed as a nature-inspired retreat, you’ll want to immerse yourself in the rich, abundant landscape of this remarkable lowcountry resort. Bike or take a golf cart along the trails that take you from Wilson Village to Moreland Village, the stables, the shooting club or the Moreland Dock.

Friends walking along the waterfront along the May River in Palmetto Bluff

A Fishing Excursion on the May River

For avid anglers, Palmetto Bluff offers an exceptional opportunity to cast a line and immerse oneself in the sport of inshore fishing. The May River, renowned for its abundant marine life, beckons residents and visitors alike to explore its rich waters. Grab your fishing gear and embark on a boating adventure, seeking the thrill of reeling in redfish, spotted sea trout, and flounder. Let the experienced guides of one of Bluffton’s top fishing charter companies plan a fishing excursion to some of the most abundant spots along this pristine waterway. Whether you’re an experienced angler or a novice seeking an unforgettable experience, the May River provides the perfect backdrop for a day of fishing.

Man fishing along the May River in Palmetto Bluff SC

See. Do. Explore. Wilson Village

After a morning filled with walking or biking, climbing elaborate treehouses or experiencing the thrill of the catch, it’s time to venture into the heart of Palmetto Bluff: Wilson Village. This charming and vibrant hub serves as the community’s social center, where residents and visitors alike gather to connect, unwind, and indulge in various activities. Explore the picturesque streets lined with moss-draped oak trees and classic Southern architecture. Delight in the eclectic blend of restaurants, boutiques, and art galleries that showcase the talents of local artisans.  Order a cone heaped with chocolate ice cream at Melt, Wilson Village’s popular ice cream shop.

Exterior view of Melt Ice Cream shop in Wilson Village Palmetto Bluff

 

Indulge your senses in Wilson Village by savoring a delectable meal at one of the community’s renowned restaurants, offering a fusion of flavors inspired by the region’s culinary heritage.  Head to the newly renovated Buffalo’s, a favorite spot for families to linger over breakfast on the weekends.

Exterior view of Buffalo's in Wilson Village Palmetto Bluff SC

Afterward, take a leisurely bike ride along the trails, bask in the sun at the poolside cabanas, or challenge your friends to a friendly game of bocce ball. Immerse yourself in the vibrant social scene as you attend community events, live music performances, or wine tastings held in the village square. Wilson Village is a testament to the community spirit of Palmetto Bluff, where residents forge lifelong friendships and create cherished memories.

Discover Historic Bluffton SC

Downtown Bluffton, SC offers both small-town southern charm and the sophistication that comes with being close to the desirable resort destinations of Palmetto Bluff and Hilton Head. Bluffton has evolved from a quiet coastal village to a thriving cultural hub, so no matter the season, there’s always plenty to do and see. With its scenic waterfront, walkable historic downtown, a wide variety of shops and restaurants, and a popular Farmer’s Market there’s something for everyone in this endearing small town.

S’mores, Tall Tales and a secret Speakeasy

As the day draws to a close, the serenity of Palmetto Bluff takes on a magical quality. The breathtaking sunsets cast a warm glow over the May River, setting the stage for an evening of relaxation. Gather with family and friends on the porch for happy hour for some spirited conversation, tales of the “one that got away,” or what to plan for tomorrow’s exploration of this incredible lowcountry getaway. Head to Wilson Village for s’mores around the firepit at the River House, or savor a bourbon at Hush, the ultra private speakeasy located in behind a secret entrance in River House’s lower level.

A vacation in Palmetto Bluff is an immersive experience in nature, luxury, and Southern charm. From the tranquil waters of the May River to the vibrant social scene of Wilson Village, this remarkable haven offers a diverse range of activities and sights to captivate and inspire. Whether it’s fishing on the May River, exploring the enchanting streets of Wilson Village, the allure of Moreland Village, or curling up in a porch swing with a book, this is a resort vacation unlike any other.

Stay in Luxury

Plan to stay in luxurious comfort within the Palmetto Bluff resort where your vacation can include a fun-filled day spent exploring historic Bluffton. A stay booked in our portfolio of luxury vacation homes offers the breathtaking lowcountry backdrop of Palmetto Bluff’s centuries-old oak trees, majestic pines and vast waterways. Palmetto Bluff is a lush, lowcountry resort community nestled within 20,000 acres of Bluffton’s stunning wildlife. With its vast nature preserve and resort style amenities, Palmetto Bluff has both a quaint, small-town feel and a sense of understated luxury. Our collection of vacation rentals in Palmetto Bluff features incredible amenities and superb locations. Let our Concierge team plan a fishing charter for you and your friends, or have a private chef waiting to cook your catch-of-the-day while you sit around the fire pit with a cocktail, telling stories of the big one that got away. And, while you’re there, why not plan a southern-style happy hour on the porch, or travel by private water taxi to explore the Bluffton Farmers Market? With our Guide to Exclusive Experiences, these are just some of the ways you customize your stay for an unforgettable, one-of-a-kind vacation – and we have a team of people ready to help you plan it all.

DOWNLOAD OUR GUIDE to DISCOVER PALMETTO BLUFF

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Summer mornings in the South Carolina lowcountry often begin with the quiet sunrise over the May River casting its gentle rays upon the picturesque town of Bluffton, South Carolina, where adventure awaits at the one-of-a-kind Palmetto Bluff resort. Nestled amidst the pristine Lowcountry landscape, this enchanting destination offers the perfect blend of luxury and natural beauty. Whether you choose to immerse yourself in outdoor adventures, explore the local attractions, or indulge in culinary delights, this oasis of tranquility will leave an indelible mark on your soul.  Palmetto Bluff is a vacation destination where time slows down and feels like a family resort getaway reminiscent of the 1950’s in the Catskills.

The Water Beckons

The sultry summer weather of Bluffton is a hallmark of South Carolina at this time of the year  The sun casts a shimmering glow upon the pristine waters of the May River, and beckons you to spend an afternoon motoring around in the resort’s vintage Hinckley 36 Picnic Boat. The marshes and tidal waterways that form as tributaries for the May River, offer up some of the best fishing in the lowcountry. You can book a fishing charter with May River Excursions, and cast a line for largemouth bass, red drum, spotted sea trout, and flounder, or learn how to cast a net for shrimp.

Man Fishing from Fishing Excursion the May River

The resort is nestled amidst sprawling oak trees draped with Spanish moss and adventure beckons around every corner. Take a leisurely stroll or bike ride along the miles of scenic nature trails, where lush greenery surrounds you. Discover the picturesque Wilson Lawn, a vast expanse of manicured grass in the heart of the resort’s Wilson Village, lined in ancient oaks and offering up river views. Engage in a game of tennis or pickle ball at Wilson Lawn and Racquet Club, where you’ll even find two pristine croquet lawns on the property. Challenge yourself with a round of golf on the world-class Jack Nicklaus-designed May River Golf Course.

If water activities entice you, embark on a kayaking or paddleboarding expedition, or leisurely navigate the tranquil waters of Palmetto Bluff’s inland waterway with family and friends in a Duffy Boat.

ride an electric Duffy Boat on Palmetto Bluff inland waterway

The Charm of Historic Bluffton

Beyond the borders of the resort lies a treasure trove of local attractions waiting to be explored. Uncover the rich history and charm of Bluffton’s historic district, where you’ll discover captivating art galleries, restaurants and boutiques that dot the town. Summertime in Bluffton calls for a trip to the popular and locally loved Bluffton Farmers Market held on Thursdays along Calhoun and Lawrence Streets.

 

Remote Lowcountry Islands

For nature enthusiasts, a visit to the nearby Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge promises breathtaking views of diverse ecosystems and abundant wildlife. Here, visitors can enjoy wildlife-dependent activites such as hiking, bicycling, and wildlife watching. Or, head to the beach at Dafuskie Island. Accessible only by boat, Dafuskie offers three miles of secluded beaches, for a day that will undoubtedly offer you a true sense of what it’s like to be on a dreamy, remote, and sparsely populated island.

 

Bites & Sips

Palmetto Bluff tantalizes the taste buds with a delectable assortment of dining options, each offering a unique culinary experience. Start your day with a leisurely breakfast at Buffalo’s, located in Wilson Village, where farm-fresh ingredients combine to create mouthwatering Southern-inspired dishes.

Exterior of the newly renovated Buffalos Restuarant in Palmetto Bluff

 

Grab a sandwich lunch to-go at the Canteen in Moreland Village, and plan a picnic at the top of a sprawling treehouse, then grab an ice cream cone at Melt for a refreshing afternoon treat. In the evening, conclude your day with a sumptuous dinner at the award-winning River House, where culinary artistry meets Southern hospitality. This refined waterfront restaurant offers a menu brimming with innovative dishes crafted from locally sourced ingredients.

 

The Canteen at Palmetto Bluff SC

 

Palmetto Bluff beckons travelers with its idyllic beauty, luxurious details, impeccable service and abundance of activities that make for a perfect summer vacation. Whether you’re seeking a peaceful retreat or an adventure-filled getaway,  the tranquility of nature and the warmth of Southern hospitality converge here to create an unforgettable experience.

With its vast nature preserve and resort style amenities, Palmetto Bluff has both a quaint, small-town feel and a sense of understated luxury. Our collection of vacation rentals in Palmetto Bluff features incredible amenities and superb locations. Let our Concierge team plan a fishing charter for you and your friends, or have a private chef waiting to cook your catch-of-the-day while you sit around the fire pit with a cocktail, telling stories of the big one that got away. And, while you’re there, why not plan a southern-style happy hour on the porch, or travel by private water taxi to explore the Bluffton Farmers Market? With our Guide to Exclusive Experiences, these are just some of the ways you customize your stay for an unforgettable, one-of-a-kind vacation – and we have a team of people ready to help you plan it all.

If you’re looking for a day trip or weekend excursion to experience the best of the South Carolina lowcountry, Downtown Bluffton, SC offers both small-town southern charm and the sophistication that comes with being close to the desirable resort destinations of Palmetto Bluff and Hilton Head. Bluffton has evolved from a quiet coastal village to a thriving cultural hub, so no matter the season, there’s always plenty to do and see. With its scenic waterfront, walkable historic downtown, a wide variety of shops and restaurants, and a popular Farmer’s Market you’ll be sure to find something that makes for a memorable trip. Popular annual events in Bluffton include Mayfest, which originally started in 1978 and unites local artisans and musicians to celebrate local culture, and the Historic Bluffton Arts & Seafood Festival, which features original art, kayak tours, a 5K run and plenty of fresh, local seafood.

Here are some of the top reasons to spend a day exploring Downtown Bluffton:

Charming Boutiques and World Class Dining

From stylish boutiques like Gigi’s, to the art galleries, quaint cafes, and upscale restaurants that line Calhoun Street, Boundary St. and Promenade St., you’ll find something for everyone in downtown Bluffton. Grab a coffee at Corner Perk, before you begin your morning stroll around the historic downtown district. Located on Church Street, the renowned Bluffton General Store offers up housewares, gifts and locally made goods.  Locals and visitors alike vie for reservations at top restaurants including  The Pearl Kitchen & Bar, Farm, Burnt Church Distillery.  Options to experience world class cuisine in Bluffton continue to grow, with the 2023 James Beard nomination for “Emerging Chef” awarded to Chef Bernard Bennett, of Ọkàn, with a much anticipated opening for the restaurant set for March 2023.

Gullah Cultural History

Bluffton’s rich history includes origins steeped in the Gullah Culture and many of the locals have deep roots in Bluffton that go back centuries. In remote rural areas in the Lowcountry, the Gullah people continued to practice their traditional culture with little influence from the outside world well into the 20th Century. The Gullah people now organize cultural festivals every year in towns up and down the Lowcountry including the annual Gullah Celebration held every year in February.

Old Town Bluffton

Downtown Bluffton is home to some of the oldest buildings in the area, including the Old Town Bluffton Historic District. Here you will find the Heyward House, circa 1841, at 70 Boundary St. and Bluffton’s Church of the Cross, located at 110 Calhoun St., along the shores of the May River. This Carpenter Gothic-style church was built in 1857 and was added to the National Register in 1975. Today, the church is open to the public for tours and church services.

The Allure of the May River

A man fishing on the May River in Bluffton SC

Downtown Bluffton is situated along the May River. This incredible waterway winds through the coastal lowcountry, from the Port Royale Sound of Beaufort to the Callibogue Sound of Hilton Head.  The pristine waters of the May River provide some of the best fishing in this region of coastal South Carolina, including largemouth bass, red drum, spotted sea trout, flounder, sheepshead, black drum, tarpon, jacks, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, and more. A day spent on the water is a good day, and the crew at May River Excursions has an ample fleet of available fishing charters, both inshore and river, and some of the top fishing guides in Bluffton and the surrounding waterways.

Stay in Luxury

Plan to stay in luxurious comfort within the Palmetto Bluff resort where your vacation can include a fun-filled day spent exploring historic Bluffton. A stay booked in our portfolio of luxury vacation homes offers the breathtaking lowcountry backdrop of Palmetto Bluff’s centuries-old oak trees, majestic pines and vast waterways. Palmetto Bluff is a lush, lowcountry resort community nestled within 20,000 acres of Bluffton’s stunning wildlife. With its vast nature preserve and resort style amenities, Palmetto Bluff has both a quaint, small-town feel and a sense of understated luxury. Our collection of vacation rentals in Palmetto Bluff features incredible amenities and superb locations.  Let our Concierge team plan a fishing charter for you and your friends, or have a private chef waiting to cook your catch-of-the-day while you sit around the fire pit with a cocktail, telling stories of the big one that got away. And, while you’re there, why not plan a southern-style happy hour on the porch, or travel by private water taxi to explore the Bluffton Farmers Market? With our Guide to Exclusive Experiences, these are just some of the ways you customize your stay for an unforgettable, one-of-a-kind vacation – and we have a team of people ready to help you plan it all.

Explore our Guide filled with Exclusive Guest Experiences