Savannah’s master-planned communities offer a boatload of amenities—which one strikes your fancy?
With its serene views, balmy climate and unhurried pace, the Lowcountry is preternaturally suited to relaxation. Perhaps that’s why so many gated communities in greater Savannah are built around facilitating leisure activities. To be sure, these communities — The Landings, Waterways Township, Montage Palmetto Bluff, Dutch Island, The Ford Plantation and Savannah Quarters — feature lovely homes, secure entry and other dependable hallmarks of community living. But behind the gates, there’s also an unwavering emphasis on amenities, from spas to fine dining to resort-style pools. Today, families are looking past square footage and double vanities in master bathrooms to first consider community living from a new angle: all those extras.
If you’re a foodie The Landings has a 50,000-square-foot gym, five swimming pools, four driving ranges, six championship golf courses — and some seriously delicious dining options. Across its five restaurants, the vibe ranges from casual to coastal to clubby and upscale. Standout options include Deer Creek’s grilled Spanish octopus topped with crispy red potato, smoked paprika creme fraiche, Marcona almonds and lemon-herb oil; the robust sushi menu at Southern Table at Plantation; and sous vide herb-marinated lamb chops at Oakridge Steak & Pub. There’s more to salivate over, too: this year, The Landings premieres the newly revamped Marshwood, a clubhouse and restaurant with sweeping views, sophisticated decor and a delectable, seasonally attentive menu.
If you’re a dog lover Waterways Township has exciting things happening this year: its new marina will open, featuring retail, restaurants and Intracoastal water access, and it is also adding tennis and pickleball courts. The neighborhood’s other key perks include navigable waterways for kayaking and paddleboarding with on-site storage facilities, and the Ridgewood Amenity Center, featuring a Junior Olympic-sized swimming pool, an outdoor amphitheater and a screened-in pavilion with a fireplace and grill. For pet lovers, a fenced-in dog park called Waterways is like a gated community for the four-legged set — complete with expansive, manicured greens, beautiful scenery and completely secure confines.
If you’re a treehugger A lush, 20,000-acre coastal nature preserve defines Montage Palmetto Bluff in South Carolina (although so does the Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course). Members can tour maritime forests with knowledgeable staff from The Palmetto Bluff Conservancy, attend monthly lectures on preservation efforts and engage more directly with the land through outdoor and nautical experiences like hiking, fishing, riding bikes and kayaking or boating along 32 miles of riverfront. The conservancy team also has an on-site archaeologist, Dr. Mary Socci, who excavates the land for artifacts, architecture and cultural landscapes, all to maintain the historical integrity of Palmetto Bluff. Montage is creating the next generation of nature lovers, too: their Montage Merit program awards children merit badges for activities like hiking, catching a fish and spotting Lowcountry wildlife.
If you’re a big fish Dutch Island boasts a deepwater dock and boat ramp, a pool, playground, tennis court, and basketball courts, plus special events like parades, pop-up shops and food truck nights. It’s also a true oasis for fishermen, whether avid or amateur. Dutch Island is strategically located where the Wilmington, Skidaway and Herb rivers meet, with ample tidal creeks in between. It also allows boat owners with vessels under 25 feet to houseboats at their own property. Translation? No marina fees. An annual crabbing tournament puts skills to the test, and while peak harvest season for crabs is between August and October, you can practice all year round amid the Lowcountry’s mild climate.
If you like to horse around No doubt about it: The Ford Plantation offers incredible fishing where anglers can catch inshore species like redfish, flounder and striped bass, or enjoy access to offshore species like grouper, marlin and mahi-mahi. But it’s their onshore animals that really impress. The Plantation’s Equestrian Center is a full-service boarding facility tailored to members’ (and horses’) needs — a 22-stall barn with climate-controlled tack rooms, three wash bays, a jump field, access to daily turnouts in grassy paddocks, premium horse fencing and blanket and storage rooms. Plus, in an already-gated community, The Ford Plantation Equestrian Center adds extra security: 24-hour video surveillance and a night watchman deters horseplay.
If you’re prone to fomo Part of the point of community living is that you never really have to leave. But what if you want to? Enter Savannah Quarters, which besides offering an incredible, Instagrammable pool, verdant golf course and award-winning homes, is also a quick drive from downtown Savannah: Hop on I-16 East and you’ll be in the heart of Historic Downtown in about 15 minutes. But don’t miss out on the Quarters’ offerings, either, particularly when it comes to perfecting your swing. One of their golf pros was just named among the “Best Teachers in America” by Golf Digest.