Carolina Forest, located just off Highway 501 N, is a family-friendly Grand Strand community. With expansion in both commercial businesses and residential neighborhoods, Carolina Forest is one of the most desirable communities in the area. Before development, Carolina Forest was a 30,000-acre completely undisturbed plot of land. Then in 1937, the International Paper Company purchased the land with the intention of using the natural resources to create paper. For the next 60 years, the use of the land evolved. During World War II, it was used as shooting range for guns and bombs. In the 1990’s, International Paper Company began selling off pieces of the land and the vision of the modern-day Carolina Forest began taking shape.
The area was set to become the Grand Strand’s first master planned community. With the completion of River Oaks Drive and Carolina Forest Boulevard in 1997, Horry County approved the development plans for welcoming 35,000 residents in the coming 20 years. By the early 2000’s, Carolina Forest was growing rapidly through the addition of several large neighborhoods. Multiple schools were built and roads began to increase to accommodate this expansion. Carolina Forest added a community center and library for its residents in 2012. Overall, Carolina Forest is one of the newest and fastest growing communities that the Grand Strand has to offer.
With a rapidly growing population, businesses have been opening and expanding in the Carolina Forest area. Many restaurants have opened to serve the community in recent years. One of the most popular restaurants is the Sneaky Beagle. Opened by the owners of The Grumpy Monk, this restaurant has become a staple for both residents and their four-legged companions. The Sneaky Beagle has a large patio that is completely dog-friendly and even offers a menu of dog treats available for purchase. The restaurant serves everything from sushi to tacos, and has a large selection of beers on tap.
Another local restaurant in the area is Sol y Luna. Sol y Luna offers freshly cooked Latin cuisine. The restaurant serves a wide variety of options such as tacos, empanadas, and enchiladas. In addition to their regular menu, Sol y Luna also offers daily specials, family meals, and happy hour deals. While Carolina Forest residents love their locally-owned restaurants, the community also offers many large chain options. Carolina Forest has recently added well-known restaurants such as Jersey Mikes, Tropical Smoothie Cafe, and Jimmy Johns. Whether it be local or nationwide, Carolina Forest has seemingly endless dining possibilities.
Carolina Forest offers many events and attractions for its residents to enjoy. Located off Carolina Forest Boulevard, the Carolina Forest Recreation Center and Library offer many activities and services to the community. The recreation center houses a full-size gymnasium, fitness center, rock climbing wall, and the Palmetto Adventure Land Playground. For adventurous residents, the Horry County Bike & Run Park is located close by. Nicknamed “The Hulk”, the trail is seven miles of twists and turns that challenge even the most experienced runners and bikers.
The Waccamaw Wildlife National Refuge is also located within the community. Visitors of the Refuge can explore the great outdoors from hunting, fishing, viewing wildlife, hiking, kayaking and so much more. The Refuge is protected to preserve the beauty of our natural habitat for generations of Carolina Forest to come. For people who enjoy shopping, Tanger Outlets is located just off Highway 501. The shopping center features more than 80 stores ranging from home goods to athletic apparel. Some of the stores include Nike, Coach, and Carolina Pottery. From playgrounds for children to bike trails for outdoor enthusiasts, Carolina Forest has activities for all of its residents.
The affordability of Carolina Forest has caused tremendous growth in neighborhoods and overall population in recent years. With nearly 40,000 residents, Carolina Forest has some of the largest and best neighborhoods in the area. One of the landmark neighborhoods in the community is The Farm at Carolina Forest. This mixed development neighborhood consists of nearly 1,000 homes ranging from 3 bedrooms to 5 five bedrooms. The Farm also offers amazing amenities such as an 8,000 square foot pool, playground, and fitness center. Another neighborhood within Carolina Forest is Plantation Lakes. This luxury neighborhood offers homes ranging from $300,000 to over $1,000,000. Residents of this neighborhood can enjoy multiple pools, tennis courts, and fishing and boating on the picturesque lake that runs throughout the neighborhood.
In addition to the growth in individual neighborhoods, the overall real estate market in Carolina Forest has grown tremendously in the past five years. This July of 2021 the median sales price of single family homes was $384,994. In July of 2016, the median sales price of single family homes was just $203,540. With five-year sales growth of nearly $181,545, home values in Carolina Forest have increased nearly 190%. Homes today are selling in 89 days compared to 103 in July of 2016.