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Carolina Forest, South Carolina
Sign at the entrance to Carolina Forest at the intersection of US 501 and Carolina Forest Boulevard
Sign at the entrance to Carolina Forest at the intersection of US 501 and Carolina Forest Boulevard
Carolina Forest, South Carolina is located in South Carolina
Carolina Forest, South Carolina
Carolina Forest, South Carolina
Location in South Carolina
Carolina Forest, South Carolina is located in the United States
Carolina Forest, South Carolina
Carolina Forest, South Carolina
Location in the United States
Country United States
State South Carolina
County Horry
 • Total 17.3 sq mi (44.8 km2)
 • Land 16.8 sq mi (43.6 km2)
 • Water 0.5 sq mi (1.2 km2)
39 ft (12 m)
 • Total 23,342
 • Density 1,388/sq mi (536.0/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (EST)
ZIP Code
29579 (Myrtle Beach)
Area code(s) 843

Carolina Forest is an unincorporated planned community and census-designated place (CDP) in Horry County, South Carolina, United States. It was first listed as a CDP in the 2020 census with a population of 23,342.

It is located west of Myrtle Beach and east of Conway in an area planned by International Paper in the late 1990s. Most of the development follows the Carolina Forest Master Plan, developed cooperatively between International Paper and the Horry County Government.


Carolina Forest was once part of a larger tract of land in eastern Horry County called the Buist Tract. Originally owned by Burroughs & Chapin, International Paper bought the 30,000-acre (121 km2) Buist Tract in 1937. It was used as part of the Conway Bombing and Gunnery Range during World War II. In 1960, the company donated part of the tract for what is now Coastal Carolina University (located several miles away from Carolina Forest). In 1989, approximately 9,000 acres (36 km2) north of Carolina Forest were donated to the state to form the Lewis Ocean Bay Heritage Preserve.

In June 1994, Kylee Mueller sold 125 acres (0.51 km2) of the remaining 21,000 acres (85 km2) of the Buist Tract to Horry County Schools for development of Carolina Forest Elementary School, Carolina Forest Middle School, and Carolina Forest High School. In addition, 350 acres (1.4 km2) were sold to form a golf course and residential property.

By the end of 1994, International Paper began to sell more of its land. Due to the lack of funding from other sources for road infrastructure, the first 1.25 miles (2.01 km) of Carolina Forest Boulevard were completed by November 1995 by International Paper. Further expansions of both Carolina Forest Boulevard and River Oaks Drive (creating an 11-mile (18 km) loop) would open up 11,000 acres (45 km2) to development west of the Intracoastal Waterway. Carolina Forest Boulevard was completed in December 1996, with River Oaks Drive being completed in December 1997.

On December 2, 1997, Horry County council voted to freeze zoning rules in an 11 square miles (28 km2) area of Carolina Forest for 20 years in exchange for land to build parks and roads in an 8-3 vote on the development agreement. An estimated 35,000 people would live in the 7,073 acres (29 km2) acres covered by the agreement. In the agreement, Horry County did not require International Paper to widen Carolina Forest Boulevard or River Oaks Drive to four lanes. Land would be given to the county at no cost for the then-future SC Highway 31 north and south of the Robert Grissom Parkway bridge. Approximately 140 acres (0.57 km2) was set aside for future schools, which would include Ocean Bay Elementary and Middle Schools. Because nearly half of Carolina Forest was open space, the area was exempt from future open space directives set by Horry County.

According to the 2010 census, Carolina Forest's population increased from 3400 in 2000 to 21,000.


  • Avalon
  • Ashley Park
  • Bella Vita
  • BelleGrove
  • Brighton Lakes
  • Canterbury
  • Clear Pond
  • Covington Lake
  • Carolina Waterway Plantation
  • Plantation Lakes
  • Sawgrass East
  • Southgate
  • Spring Lake
  • Summerlyn
  • The Battery
  • Berkshire Forest
  • Black Creek Plantation
  • Myrtle Beach National
  • The Bluffs
  • The Farm
  • Turnberry
  • Walkers Woods
  • Waterbridge
  • Waterford Plantation
  • Waterway Palms Plantation
  • Waterford Planation
  • Windsor Green
  • "International Paper Takes Road-Building into its Own Hands in Myrtle Beach," Myrtle Beach Sun News, December 12, 1994
  • "Developers Begin Buying Land in Buist Tract in South Carolina," Myrtle Beach Sun News, March 26, 1995


Historical population
Census Pop.
2020 23,342
U.S. Decennial Census

2020 census

Carolina Forest CDP, South Carolina – Demographic Profile
(NH = Non-Hispanic)
Race / Ethnicity Pop 2020 % 2020
White alone (NH) 17,867 76.54%
Black or African American alone (NH) 1,805 7.73%
Native American or Alaska Native alone (NH) 52 0.22%
Asian alone (NH) 646 2.77%
Pacific Islander alone (NH) 20 0.09%
Some Other Race alone (NH) 178 0.76%
Mixed Race/Multi-Racial (NH) 1,076 4.61%
Hispanic or Latino (any race) 1,698 7.27%
Total 23,342 100.00%

Note: the US Census treats Hispanic/Latino as an ethnic category. This table excludes Latinos from the racial categories and assigns them to a separate category. Hispanics/Latinos can be of any race.


Carolina Forest has a public library, a branch of the Horry County Memorial Library.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Carolina Forest para niños

Black History Month on Kiddle
Famous African-American Inventors:
Valerie Thomas
Frederick McKinley Jones
George Edward Alcorn Jr.
Thomas Mensah
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