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Lake Waccamaw, North Carolina facts for kids

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Lake Waccamaw, North Carolina
Official seal of Lake Waccamaw, North Carolina
Lake Waccamaw, North Carolina is located in North Carolina
Lake Waccamaw, North Carolina
Lake Waccamaw, North Carolina
Location in North Carolina
Country United States
State North Carolina
County Columbus
 • Total 2.78 sq mi (7.20 km2)
 • Land 2.78 sq mi (7.20 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
59 ft (18 m)
 • Total 1,480
 • Estimate 
 • Density 503.60/sq mi (194.42/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 910
FIPS code 37-36640
GNIS feature ID 0988088

Lake Waccamaw is a town in Columbus County, North Carolina, United States. The 2010 census population was 1,480. Originally home to Native Americans, Europeans later colonized Lake Waccamaw in the 18th century. The Europeans built naval stores and the discovery of turpentine oil led to the Wilmington-Manchester railroad track being created. A shingle company was later converted to a lumber company. In 1910, a group of townspeople created the Waccamaw Club.

The town surrounds Lake Waccamaw, which features 9,000 acres of diverse wildlife and is a major source of revenue for the town. The lake is bustling with many endemic species of fish, birds, mollusks, and other animals. In 2018, a forty-year ban on hunting alligators was lifted. The town of Lake Waccamaw provides many recreational activities, such as birdwatching and hiking, due to the large population of wildlife and mild terrain.

The majority of the town's population attend East Columbus High School, making ECHS football games and fundraisers common town traditions.


The Lake Waccamaw Depot was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.


The town of Lake Waccamaw is located in eastern Columbus County at 34°18′54″N 78°30′31″W / 34.31500°N 78.50861°W / 34.31500; -78.50861 (34.314998, -78.508708), on the north shore of Lake Waccamaw.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 3.5 square miles (9.1 km2), of which 0.004 square miles (0.01 km2), or 0.16%, is water.

Lake Waccamaw is a 9,000-acre (3,600 ha) freshwater lake around and on which is held the annual free fitness event, Take the Lake. Participants may either walk the 15 miles (24 km) around the lake, paddle 14 miles (23 km) around, bike 12 miles (19 km) and walk 3 miles (5 km) around, or swim 4 miles (6 km) across the lake, all on Labor Day weekend. No winners are announced, as awards are presented for completion only. Organizers began Take the Lake in reaction to the county being ranked as the least healthy of all 100 North Carolina counties.

In 2012, residents reported, and researchers at N.C. State University confirmed, that the invasive aquatic weed hydrilla had infested 600 acres (240 ha) of Lake Waccamaw.

Lake Waccamaw's water quality contributes to an interesting mix of animal life in the park. Several species are found only in or around the lake and nowhere else on Earth. These species are known as endemics. At Lake Waccamaw, fish endemics include Waccamaw darter, Waccamaw silverside, and Waccamaw killifish. The water also contains a diversity of unusual mollusks. The endemic Waccamaw spike and Waccamaw fatmucket are among the 15 species of mussels and clams found in the lake. And, of the 11 snail species, the Waccamaw amnicola and the Waccamaw siltsnail are also endemics.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1920 237
1930 405 70.9%
1940 429 5.9%
1950 575 34.0%
1960 780 35.7%
1970 924 18.5%
1980 1,133 22.6%
1990 954 −15.8%
2000 1,411 47.9%
2010 1,480 4.9%
2019 (est.) 1,400 −5.4%
U.S. Decennial Census

2020 census

Lake Waccamaw racial composition
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 1,071 82.64%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 119 9.18%
Native American 43 3.32%
Asian 10 0.77%
Other/Mixed 38 2.93%
Hispanic or Latino 15 1.16%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 1,296 people, 654 households, and 443 families residing in the town.


East Columbus High School is located at 32 Gator lane, Lake Waccamaw. Founded in 1992, East Columbus High School receives students from the Lake Waccamaw, Riegelwood, Delco, and Hallsboro residential areas. It incorporates students from the Acme-Delco and Hallsboro Middle Schools. The school has a total of 449 students enrolled with a 14-1 student to teacher ratio. East Columbus high has a graduation rate of 85 percent. The school's mascot is the Gator. Professional basketball player Boubacar Aw attended his senior year of high school at East Columbus.

Lake Waccamaw has a charter school called Flemington Academy. Flemington Academy is partnered with the Boy and Girls Homes of North Carolina. Flemington Academy has a total of 83 students enrolled with a 6:11 student to teacher ratio. It serves grades from 6–12 with a graduation rate of 79 percent. The Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina is the only private boarding school in the county. The Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina is a private boarding school that strives to provide a good education for students age of 6–21 years old who have experienced trauma or been victims of violence. Lake Waccamaw doesn't have any elementary schools, but Columbus County does offer elementary schools in the town Hallsboro which is close. The closest college near Lake Waccamaw is called Southeastern Community College which is only 15 miles away from the town.

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