It’s been so long since I’ve done a blog post recapping a trip, but this one was too good not to dedicate a blog post to! We actually had a trip planned to Mexico for this same week but had some issues getting Four a passport so we had to cancel 3 weeks out.
Duncan had always wanted to visit Palmetto Bluff since hearing about it from a few friends, so it has always been on our list. He grew up going to Sea Island during the summers and had heard Palmetto Bluff was similar but different and worth checking out. It seemed like the perfect little getaway for us and once we saw that there was a direct flight from Dallas, we were SOLD. They actually just opened a direct Southwest flight from Dallas to Hilton Head this year, so it was perfect! I’m not quite ready to deal with a connecting flight right now with a baby – sounds like too many variables.
We went in the middle of May and stayed for an entire week. May is technically considered their “high season” and I can totally see why – the weather was perfect! If you’re thinking about planning a visit and you want to stay in Palmetto Bluff specifically, the Montage is your only option (there are tons of hotels on Hilton Head Island but Palmetto Bluff is kind of its own community/area), which is where we stayed – we’re really big on resort-like places where everything is easy and close together, so The Montage Palmetto Bluff was perfect!
Where We Stayed
We stayed in one of the Montage Lagoon View cottages on the property, but there are actually several different ways to enjoy Palmetto Bluff. You can stay in the actual Montage hotel building, or even rent out a Montage residence if you’re needing multiple bedrooms. Our cottage had one bedroom with a living room and a screened-in porch. It had plenty of room for the three of us and was within walking distance to just about everything, which was awesome!
Palmetto Bluff is technically a preserve in South Carolina’s Lowcountry, which is a region in South Carolina with its own history, food and culture. They use the term “Lowcountry” because there are sandhills in the area and anything above those sandhills is called the Highcountry and anything below is called the Lowcountry.
There are a few small villages, Wilson and Moreland, located within Palmetto Bluff, but when the Montage came in in 2014, they took over all of Palmetto Bluff so everything in Wilson and Moreland are part of the Montage resort – including grocery stores and restaurants! So anytime you go to them, you can charge everything you buy to your room! It’s so convenient and feels like one giant, yet small community.
One of our favorite parts of the whole trip was being able to explore the two villages and all of Palmetto Bluff via a golf cart! There’s like golf cart culture there and it’s so fun. We literally took it everywhere the first day to get ourselves acquainted with the area. They also have bike rentals that we took advantage of to get around the resort and take on rides around the preserve, but more on that below!
Planning The Trip
Palmetto Bluff is one of those places where you want to have some sort of plan before getting there. I know some places, like the beach, I just like to show up and then figure it out once I’m there. But there are so many fun activities to do and restaurants to visit, I think it’s worth it to put some time into planning your stay to make the most of your trip. Plus, at least for me, I had to plan things with Four’s schedule in mind to be sure to maximize those awake windows (if you know what I mean!).
A week or so before the trip, an experienced planner reached out to me to get some things scheduled for our stay. I think we went back and forth over 10 times making arrangements (lol), but it was so worth it! We scheduled most of our dinner reservations and all of our activities so we had at least one thing planned each day. I’m sure you could just show up and relax by the pool if that’s what you’re looking for too! I was worried about securing a chair and shade, so I actually reserved a pool cabana for a few days we were there so I wouldn’t have to bring a tent or something to shade Four.
Activities + What We Did
There are so many things you can do on the property – they’ve got a team of people ready to help you plan your stay. I had to plan around Four’s nap and feeding schedule so we were a bit limited, but I did try to plan at least one thing for each day.
Pretty much everything on the property is walkable or there is some sort of shuttle you can take to get there. In other words, everything is pretty close together! All the restaurants we went to were part of the Montage, but if we ever go back, I definitely want to venture into Bluffton or Hilton Head and explore the surrounding areas a little more. We couldn’t this time because of logistics with Four, but I’m hoping we get to go back someday!
For reference, we got there on a Saturday and left on a Saturday. I’ll loosely go through our itinerary below for you!
Our first day there, we rented a golf cart and rode to Moreland Village (about a 15 min ride) to have lunch at the sandwich shop there, Canteen. There’s not much to Moreland Village, but it was fun to try another one of the restaurants on the Montage property. I think some cottages/houses come with a golf cart – ours didn’t. So we just rented one for the day and spent most of the day exploring, driving all around the property to get acquainted with where everything was!
We went to Buffalo’s for dinner that night and sat outside. Most of our dinners were at 5:15 so we could get back in time for bath time. :) We ended up eating at Buffalo’s quite a few times. It’s casual but nicer than the pool cafe and something different than the restaurant at the hotel (Octagon).
The two photos above are from Octagon, which is the restaurant that’s inside the actual hotel building. We probably ate there the most (it’s the closest) and loved sitting on the patio, looking out on the lagoon!
On Monday and Wednesday, I reserved a cabana for us at the pool. I wanted to make sure we had shade for Four, but you really don’t need to rent one. There are plenty of seats and umbrellas if you just want to hang out without a plan. There’s a casual outdoor dining option at the pool (Fore & Aft) that we ended up eating at most days for lunch – loved the quesadillas and spicy margarita! There’s also an adult pool, but we didn’t spend any time there. It looked nice and relaxing though!
On Tuesday we went to lunch at Buffalo’s then went on a midday boat cruise for 2 hours during Four’s nap time – we just brought him in the Doona with us! I scheduled it through the concierge – so fun and relaxing. Tuesday night, we went back to Moreland on the shuttle for dinner at Cole’s Lowcountry (they have one that goes back and forth from the Montage). I think I got the fried chicken? I can’t remember exactly, but I do remember it was yummy! There’s a bowling ally there that would have been fun (especially if you had friends with you!), but we had to get back to do bath time and put Four to bed. :)
Wednesday night, we got a babysitter and went to a long date night dinner at the Canoe Club (their fancy restaurant). For a sitter, we used a local company called Guardian Angels and had a lovely experience! Our sitter’s name was Shelly and she was amazing. I was a little nervous about leaving Four with someone since he is still young, but I was so pleased with my experience that we booked her for Thursday night as well for a baby-free boat ride!
On our way home from dinner Wednesday night, we had some s’mores – they do them every night I believe!
On Thursday, we got a tennis lesson and then went on the sunset cruise. We had so much fun on the cruise because we got to meet and visit with some other guests staying at the resort and the sunset was beautiful!
I was going to look into getting us spa appointments, but it felt like too much with Four and getting a sitter, so we ended up just sitting by the pool all day Friday. We did a lot of sitting around, feeding and catering to his nap schedule, to be honest, but we knew that’s what we were in for when we decided to go on a trip with a 3-month-old. But I do feel like getting a sitter those two nights really allowed us to fit some different experiences in there which was nice!
Overall, I cannot recommend Palmetto Bluff/the Montage enough! It’s such a great family-friendly place that I know any of y’all would have an amazing time. Like I said above, I really hope to go back eventually and enjoy even more of the resort and surrounding areas!
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