I feel like I say the same thing over and over in regards to my fondness and love for Palmetto Bluff in Bluffton, South Carolina. But when a place holds so much meaning and so many sweet memories for you, it’s hard not to gush about it!
I cannot remember the first time my family and I ever visited Palmetto Bluff, but I know that it was sometime before 2007. We would travel to South Carolina from the midwest, and one day meandered over to Palmetto Bluff to walk around the property.
The little chapel on the May River caught my eye, and when I ended up meeting and getting engaged to my husband, the memory of that little chapel popped back up in my mind. We decided pretty swiftly that a destination wedding was the route we wanted to go, and I inquired about getting married at Palmetto Bluff right away.
We ended up getting married there, and it was the most peaceful and beautiful wedding scene. I’ve never once had a second thought about that being the perfect place for our wedding.
I loved, too, that we had a relatively easy-to-visit place to return to for anniversaries and to show our kids one day. And while these were just loose plans and hopes that we had right after we were married, I’m happy to share that we’ve actually done that. We’ve been back to Palmetto Bluff a handful of times and brought all of our kids with us as well.
It’s become a bit of an annual tradition to rent a home through VRBO and stay in Wilson Village for a long weekend with my parents and my sisters’ family. We’ve missed a few years with babies and graduations and such, but we’ve done the trip about 4-5 times and it’s become one of the things I look forward to the most during the year.
In the middle of June, just a few weeks ago, we spent the weekend at a beautiful VRBO and I documented a lot of it on stories. I mentioned that I would share a bit about why I love it so much, and some of our favorite things to do there, so I hope you find this post helpful if you are considering a visit.
One of the reasons why I love visiting Palmetto Bluff so much is that it’s in the low country of South Carolina, filled with enormous live oaks covered in Spanish Moss. Everywhere you look is incredibly charming and romantic. It emanates a feeling of peace, calm, a slow pace, and a simple lifestyle. It feels more like nature is on display versus buildings, and I love that you can walk nearly everywhere once you are at the center part of the “downtown”.
Palmetto Bluff is a private community in the town of Bluffton. You need to pass through a gate to get in. At this time (6/2021) it is still closed to the public, meaning you cannot just show up one day and grab dinner at Buffalo’s when you feel like it. You must be renting or staying at a property within Palmetto Bluff to get in.
The downtown is called Wilson Village and it’s where you’ll find the most densely packed southern homes spread over a handful of square blocks. It’s near the restaurants, a new ice cream shop, the original chapel on the May River, bike and golf cart rental, and a few other smaller offices. If you’re renting a VRBO in Palmetto Bluff, you want to stay in Wilson Village. It’s a short walk or bike ride over to the Canoe Club pool, the boat launch, and the River House.
The River House is currently under construction but used to be our late afternoon stop for lemonade and cookies. They would host “Porchin'” on weekend afternoons and it was one of our favorite things to do. There are a few fire pits in front of the River House as well, and later into the night, you’d find s’more carts nearby to make your own s’mores over the fire. These things are temporarily closed due to construction, but I hope they bring them back soon!
The entire property is quite vast, but if you’re renting a home there, or even staying at the Montage, the main activities are all within walking distance.
The community is quite remote, and while there is a very small 4 aisle convenience shop on the property, your nearest proper grocery store is going to be a good 30-minute drive. We’ve found that it works best to plan meals and buy groceries before arriving for the weekend so you don’t have to mess with leaving. On this note, there isn’t a wide variety of restaurants to choose from, and there are very few “casual” dining options. The Montage has a restaurant, as well as a bar closer to the pool, and The Canoe Club also has a “to-go” food and drink area, but Buffalo’s is the main restaurant in Palmetto Bluff right now. There was a restaurant in the River House but it’s closed. I do believe there are plans to open more eateries and such as it is developed.
When we visit, we spend our days doing active things like biking, swimming, or walking around the property. And since we prefer to rent a home instead of staying in the hotel, it allows us a lot of freedom for casual meals and plenty of porch time with a glass of wine. The schedule is thrown out the window upon arriving at Palmetto Bluff, and the main objective of the trip is quality family time with lots of laughs.
In reflecting back on what we did on this most recent trip I’ve realized that there isn’t an extensive list to report on. It’s unlike visiting a bustling city in that the objective is to relax and slow the pace down a bit. And I think that is one of the reasons why I love it so much — the focus shifts entirely from “how many things can I accomplish on this day to get a tiny bit ahead on my scroll of a to-do list” to “the only goal for today is to play with my kids and enjoy my family”.
And while these mental shifts can certainly happen in a million other places, or even simply at home on the weekends, Palmetto Bluff certainly is a beautiful location to enjoy a quiet and calm weekend away in.
If you have any questions, I’m happy to answer as much as I can for you in the comments below!