One of my roles as a Mama has been to plan a yearly family vacation. We get away so we can focus 100% on family time without the distractions of home. The trips have created fond memories that Sal and I and the kids will cherish forever. I am always making lists of new places we could visit and scheming on the next getaway.
This year, Covid threw us through us for a loop as our original beach destination closed 24 hours before our departure. I was determined not to let Covid take our family time away from us, so I quickly called my friend Lauren Pronger of Well Inspired Travels and asked for help. She told me to not hold off on packing and that she would get it sorted! With 3 toddlers in tow there was no option but to keep moving forward with faith that we would be going on a trip the next day! In less than 20 hours Lauren and her team had us re-routed to the Montage Palmetto Bluff in South Carolina.
I am excited to share about our recent family vacation and experience at Montage Palmetto Bluff. It’s absolutely charming and perfect for a family vacation but would make for a beautiful couples getaway as well. From the moment we pulled in to find spanish moss draped trees, the most adorable southern homes with huge wrap-around porches with swings the size of a twin bed, stunningly green landscapes, and abundant waterways – we knew this place was something special.
The Montage Palmetto Bluff is the definition of Southern Charm
I have been to many different vacation destinations all over the US, but I can honestly say there is no place like Lowcountry. Bluffton, South Carolina is located right in between Savannah, Georgia & Hilton Head. At first when we booked this trip I was a little bummed that it wasn’t right on the beach, but once we arrived I quickly realized that did NOT matter. There is plenty of water to be enjoyed between the natural water bodies and the resort pools. There is such a unique landscape of river, marsh, and forest all in one. It feels like a space where the tropics meet the country. Palmetto Bluff is the most charming and beautiful little haven. It is truly one of the best-kept secrets of the South! It’s reputation began as a “a friendly little hotel” on the May River, and although the property is massive and definitely no longer little it still has a humble vibe mixed with luxury.
Home away from Home Feeling
Going on a vacation with friends or as a couple is very different from going on vacation as a family with little kids. The logistics are simply not the same. It takes more work and planning to take your family on a beach vacation, of course, always worth it! The service and accommodations on this resort made us feel right at home. It is the perfect place for a family, kids are welcome and accommodated everywhere. We stayed in the most adorable two bedroom cottage home right near the “town square.” Yes, the resort is basically it’s own town since there are many privately owned properties over the sprawling acres.
Checking in to a ‘home’ vs. a hotel room immediately made us feel comfortable in what would be our home-base for the days to come. Our bags were taken care of and, as recommended, we headed straight to the bike rental place. We each got a bike with a buggy in tow for the littles. The kids aren’t quite independent enough to have their own bikes on a resort yet, but childrens bikes were available!
For the entire trip we would drive our golf cart or bikes everywhere we needed to go. Needless to say, this was definitely part of the fun for the kids (and us!). Every morning we would either ride bikes or go on walks to take in the scenery and stop by the little market on property for our coffee. Every evening after dinner we would cruise around the property listening to tunes in our golf cart – looking for alligators, and taking in all the beautiful homes and landscape.
Montage Palmetto is Incredibly Kid Friendly
The resort has so much to do for kiddos. From the vast selection of kid activities, to the pool, to the treehouses – there was never a dull moment. The Montage has two incredible tree house playgrounds on property. One is a two-story and the other a 5-story, with bird eye’s views of the property. There are tons of activities from bowling, to the kids club, to painting horses (yes, live horses!).
In the evenings there is a complimentary s’more station, cotton candy and side walk chalk, swings, and a place where the kids could run free while mom and dad could enjoy a cocktail and listen to live music. A few nights they even had food trucks there with all different southern cuisine! Did I mention the view overlooks the salt river and looks like a tropical paradise?!
There is no shortage of things to do that is for sure. I think one thing I learned is that this trip was better for little kids than the beach, because there was so much to do with them. You can only sit on the beach and swim so much with 3 toddlers. And trust me, we still did plenty of swimming and water activities between the pool, lagoon, and salt river.
Here are the activities we did:
- Pony Rides and then afterwards we painted the pony and then gave him a bubble bath
- Fresh Water Alligator Boat Ride – The kids loved seeing so many alligators within just a few feet from us! Mom was scared LOL.
- 2 Hour Kid Fishing Trip – Each of the kids caught their first fish! Sal caught a 45lb Red Bull fish on a kids poll!
- Salt Water Dolphin Excursion – we saw a mommy dolphin with her baby – it was the cutest!
- Bowling – It was a rainy afternoon and after an hour or two of snuggling on the big open front porch we decided to head over and take the kids bowling for their first time – they LOVED it! Enzo and Sal got very competitive 😉
Other activities that looked fun:
- Shooting and Archery
- Horse Trail Riding
- Tubing & Skiing
- Private Boat Rentals
- Art Classes
- Golf & Tennis
- Paintbox Kids Club
- The Spa
There are 3 different pools on the property including an adult only pool. You could find us at the main pool every day after our activities. The pool was super mellow with a great kiddie pool. It was easy to keep a close eye on them while feeling relaxed. We enjoyed lunch and a cocktail or two poolside. The poolside service was excellent and allowed us to be present with our kids without the hassle of preparing lunches or packing coolers. It was truly a treat. Sitting there watching my babies laugh and play together was one of the best feelings in the world.
The resort has several amazing restaurants right on the property but nothing rivaled breakfast in our screened-in porch in the mornings. The in-room dining was perfect! We found meal times at night to be super casual and easy for families. From Buffalo’s pizza, Cole’s Southern BBQ, to the Canoe Club’s “fancier” seafood, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Every place had a great kids menu. More nights than not we had a nightcap at Melt Ice-Cream shop.
Would We Go Back?
Palmetto Bluff is truly a special place. Checking out of the resort and back into reality wasn’t easy! The family bonding time is so valuable to me. It isn’t often we get to sit as a family on the porch and snuggle during a rainstorm, truly something I will remember forever. Watching my kids smile and have fun is what it’s all about, but the truth is Sal & I had just as much fun with them. I recommend the Montage Palmetto Bluff for any families who like to be taken care of and enjoy amazing accommodation but also want a balance between casual and luxury. This trip definitely inspired me to be more open minded when traveling and to try new things – because you just might find your new favorite spot. We would absolutely go back, although I do have a long list of places I want to take my little fam 🙂
For me, Covid has brought on many “silver linings.” I would say this trip was definitely one of them. If it were not for the last minute circumstance and limited options we would have never chosen this destination and we would have been totally missing out because we 100% fell in LOVE with this resort.