The palmetto is synonymous with the state of South Carolina and its coastline, adorning the state flag and emblematic of a relaxed life lived close to nature. And that state of mind is no more present than at Palmetto Bluff, which is situated on 20,000 wild and pristine acres in the Lowcountry.
Palmetto Bluff is a conservation community with deep roots that date back thousands of years to the first Paleo-Indians who inhabited the Americas. Conserving the land has been integral to modern-day development, and today Palmetto Bluff, with its 32 miles of riverfront, offers one of the most extraordinarily unique and secluded places to call home. Here are just a few reasons why.
An unparalleled natural landscape
The land is the guiding force behind Palmetto Bluff’s evolution. And from the moment you arrive, it’s obvious why, generation after generation, people have been captivated by it. Defined by three rivers—the May, Cooper, and New—the Bluff, as locals call it, is a dazzling expanse of maritime forests, tidal estuaries, winding waterways, and arching oaks draped with Spanish moss.
The Palmetto Bluff Conservancy stewards the land, surveying wildlife activity—deer, turtles, bald eagles, snowy egrets, and blue birds are just a few of the animals that live here—ensuring that the natural and built environments live in harmony. The Conservancy treats the land as a vast outdoor classroom and offers tours, workshops, and excursions so residents and visitors can learn about the history of the land—the oldest artifact found here dates back 12,000 years—and see firsthand what they’re working to protect.
You can also explore Palmetto Bluff’s natural treasures on your own by biking or walking one of the many maintained trails. The leisure Maritime Trail takes you through the Lowcountry forest while the Long Leaf Pine Trail winds through pine uplands and the guided three-mile Palmetto Bluff Nature Hike incorporates salt marshes and lagoons.
Thoughtful design that sits lightly on the land
A primary responsibility of the Conservancy is to see that every building constructed at Palmetto Bluff puts the landscape first. Homesites are not bulldozed en masse; they are carefully cleared to preserve old trees and maintain sightlines. Neighborhoods are categorized as “Town” or “Country,” with the latter being more private and centered on nature and open space, while the former are closer together and within walking distance to shops and amenities.
All buildings have a classic Lowcountry style—wide porches, wraparound verandas, symmetrical columns, and colonial influences—but the two districts (which they call villages) each have a distinct character.
Wilson Village, the first community at Palmetto Bluff, looks like a historic Southern town. Homes here are relaxed and inviting, built sustainably with local materials. Properties for sale here include a charming 2,205-square-foot, two-bedroom for $1.69 million and a five-bedroom with views of a 120-acre nature preserve for $2.95 million.
Homes in Moreland Village focus on a connection to nature: Buildings here blend inside and out, while numerous trails connect the community directly to the woods and the water.
Homes in both neighborhoods are available to book for stays with Experience Packages, so interested buyers can live like a local before deciding to put down roots.
Ample opportunities to get on the water
Life at Palmetto Bluff is often lived on the water. You can explore numerous ponds, lakes, and 32 miles of riverfront in myriad ways, from kayak tours and fishing excursions to beachcombing cruises and jaunts on the Grace, a restored 107-year-old yacht. Dock your own boat at Wilson Landing or join the Boat Club to rent a vessel by the hour.
Newcomers will get the most out of the water by booking guided tours, all of which are led by interpretive naturalist guides or U.S. Coast Guard-licensed captains. The powerboat-based Dolphin Discovery Tour covers a wide area and highlights the habitat of local bottlenose dolphins while the Full Tide Discovery Tour is a favorite among photographers because it explores some of the more remote islands.
Or join one of the kayak trips: there’s a moonlight excursion on the May River, a nature tour through the salt marshes, and one that takes you through creeks once traversed by Native Americans. More of a water sport type? There are tours for that, too.
Fishing enthusiasts will delight in the diversity of freshwater and saltwater environments at Palmetto Bluff. Charter a boat to explore the inshore and offshore options, go crabbing in the May River, fly-fishing on Lake Bales in Moreland Village, or hunt for bream and bass from a kayak.
Endless activities for every age
One of the best parts about Palmetto Bluff is that you can do something different every single day. In addition to the nature and water activities, there are events, sports, and organized activities for every age and taste. There are mountain bike trails, a Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course and a 173-acre horse farm, and clubs for shooting and racquet sports, from tennis and bocce to croquet.
Art and craft lovers will love the Artist in Residence program, which brings a new artistan to live in Moreland Village every month and host hands-on events for residents and visitors to learn more about their craft, be it cooking, pattern making, or hunting dog training. And there’s a surprisingly robust shopping scene for such a small community. Along Boat House Row in Wilson Village, you’ll find Provisions, with curated wares from Southern makers and artisans, and The Paris Market, an offshoot of the beloved Savannah boutique, selling jewelry, books, and art. And don’t miss RT’s Market, a general store that also offers local souvenirs and wine, while Moreland Village is home to Boundary Bottle Co., where you can find locally made whiskeys.
For little ones, head to the kid’s club Paintbox for crafts, games, and scavenger hunts. And be sure to seek out the two treehouses. They wrap around live oaks and feature handcrafted wooden furniture. The Mount Pelia treehouse in Wilson Village is particularly fun: It has a zip line, a rope swing, and a boardwalk.
To learn more about everything Palmetto Bluff has to offer, head here to view Experience Packages and how to visit.