Paddleboarding the May River

Boating and ‘porching’ in Lowcountry

By Corina Quinn

Kids all love a pool, but that can get boring quickly for the adults trying to keep them from drowning. We struck paydirt on a recent trip to Palmetto Bluff, in South Carolina Lowcountry (you can fly into Savannah, Georgia, or Hilton Head, S.C., to reach it). Here, the Montage Palmetto Bluff is a sprawling resort on the May River with a main inn, riverside cottages, two villages, a nature preserve, walking and biking trails, marina, restaurants, and Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course. Translation: You won’t be bored.

Woman lounging by the pool

The kids loved having the freedom to jump on their bikes and ride to a nearby treehouse and playground, or R.T.’s general store (not something they get in their day-to-day life). We took a boat out on the River, which was an unintentional lesson in the area’s extensive conservation efforts—we spotted dolphins, a bald eagle, egrets, and blue and gray herons in one afternoon, but never saw the ‘gators—peppered with dock jumping, tubing, kayaking, and shelling at sunset on a sand bank where we collected an eyebrow-raising number of sand dollars. We had pool time, naturally, along with a family wiffle ball game on the village square, and an afternoon “porching,” a social hour with lemonade and cookies, nightly S’mores, and daily demonstrations of classic dishes like hoppin’ John and shrimp ‘n grits.