Is Palmetto Bluff Open To The Public In 2023? (The Answer & Why)

Palmetto Bluff is one of the more beautiful and magical places you’ll find in South Carolina, and all of the south for that matter.  

A combination of a residential community and a resort, it consists of 20,000 acres flush with expansive marshland, maritime forest, moss-hung oak trees, beautiful homes, and pathways lined and lit with gas lanterns.

But one of its best features is that it remains a hidden gem, with the majority of the population unaware that it even exists.

As such, one of the first questions that many who have just stumbled upon its existence ask is:

Is Palmetto Bluff open to the public?

A bit confusingly, the answer to this question is both “yes” and “no”.  We’ll clear this up for you below.

Is Palmetto Bluff Open To The Public?

The answer to this question depends upon how you’re asking the question.

Can a member of the public simply drive into Palmetto Bluff to explore the area or stop for lunch at one of Palmetto Bluff’s upscale restaurants?

The answer is no.

There’s a guard gate at the one driveable entrance into Palmetto Bluff, and you’ll need to have a pass to get in.

If you’re renting or staying at a property within Palmetto Bluff, you’ll receive a pass for the length of your stay that will allow you through the guard gate as you come and go.

If you’re coming to visit someone who is renting or staying within Palmetto Bluff, they can call the guard gate to assign you a pass to come and visit them for a certain date.

Aside from that, unless you’re working onsite somewhere within the resort, you won’t be allowed in.

But can any member of the public rent a home or a room from the main Palmetto Bluff hotel?

The answer is yes.

The Montage Palmetto Bluff, the only hotel located within Palmetto Bluff, offers 200 private rooms/cottages that can be rented by members of the public throughout the year.

Guests who rent a room here are obviously granted access to enter the guard gate as they come and go, and will also gain access to using any of the facilities and amenities offered with your stay.

There are a few restaurants within Palmetto Bluff that are private to members only, but plenty of others that you can enjoy as a guest of the resort.

Many of the beautiful homes within Palmetto Bluff are also rentable, with guests who go this route receiving a pass to enter and able to access any of the public facilities, amenities, and restaurants within the resort as well.

Palmetto Bluff Public Dock

Aside from the main driveable entrance, the only other way to enter Palmetto Bluff is via the Palmetto Bluff public dock on the May River.

This dock is located in the main Wilson Landing area of the resort and gives members of the public the ability to dock their boats for a brief period of time.

If you’re not renting or staying within Palmetto Bluff, this is your only other option for exploring the area.

The Palmetto Bluff Public Dock is right next to the Wilson Landing Marina and its dock, and will walk you right into the heart of the little “downtown-like” area of Wilson Landing, which features a few restaurants and shops.

If you’ve scheduled a boat tour of the May River with a company like May River Excursions, they’ll pick you up from this public dock if you’re staying in Palmetto Bluff.

And these boat tours have also been known to stop at this public dock to let riders off to briefly use one of the facilities within Palmetto Bluff as well.


There are a few exceptions to this rule.

Palmetto Bluff hosts a number of weddings and other private events.  

If you’ll be attending one while not staying within the resort, you should be able to have the organizer of your event request a pass to enter on the day of which will get you through the gate.


If you’re a member of the public who is visiting the nearby town of Bluffton or who lives locally nearby Palmetto Bluff and you’re hoping to explore the resort, you’re unfortunately out of luck.

Unless you know someone who lives or is renting/staying within the resort who can call and reserve you a pass, you won’t be able to enter.

But if you’re a non-member who wants to rent a home or a room at the main hotel within the resort, you’ll burn a hole in your wallet doing it, but you are welcome to do so.