By Alex Biello
Amongst all of the growth that is occurring along the Grand Strand, Carolina Forest may be the fastest growing area. Now nearing 40,000 residents, and with new residential communities in the works, the area is planning for even greater expansion. Subdivisions, such as Waterbridge, Indigo Bay, Plantation Lakes, and Brookberry at the Farm, have new homes and lots available for building. A large subdivision, The Parks by D.R. Horton, has broken ground recently; they are expected to start building models in the next few months.
Carolina Forest is not just only growing in regards to housing and residential properties— there are also a variety of newly opened restaurants. Two are locally owned: The Sneaky Beagle and Sol y Luna. The Sneaky Beagle is brought to us by the owners of an old Myrtle Beach standby— The Grumpy Monk. The Beagle is a dog-friendly restaurant occupying the building that was formerly Longbeard’s. They serve sandwiches, tacos, sushi, and a variety of craft beers on tap. Dogs are allowed on the patio and there’s even a dog menu listing all the treats available so you and your furry friend can dine together.
Sol y Luna is a Latin cantina featuring delicious margaritas, burritos, nachos, tacos, and quesadillas. They have happy hour everyday from 4-7pm. Daily specials, such as all-you-can-eat tacos and $8 burritos, are branding it a new local favorite. Both restaurants are located on the International Drive side of Carolina Forest.
On the Hwy. 501 side, a new Italian bakery, La Dolci Mania, opened this past March, offering baked goods, sandwiches, espresso, and more.
Those are just a few that have already opened for business, but what business are going in the new plaza being built near Lowe’s food? J Peters Bar and Grill, a regional chain restaurant with locations already in Murrells Inlet, Litchfield, Pawleys Island, Columbia, and Anderson, will be opening up later this year, already with its sign in the plaza. Tropical Smoothie and Jersey Mike’s will be joining in as well.
There’s more to do in Carolina Forest than eating at great restaurants. Carolina Forest is home to Horry County’s Bike and Run Trail known as The Hulk. The Hulk is a 7-mile trail with separate directions for running and biking. It’s located on 72 acres of land along the intracoastal waterway— perfect for those who love the outdoors. Carolina Forest also has a Recreation Center offering recreational sports, fitness classes, and more, which is located next to the Carolina Forest Library on Carolina Forest Boulevard.
With all the growth in the area, concern has risen regarding roads and infrastructure, mostly along Carolina Forest Boulevard. A construction project is underway to create better traffic flow. Called the Carolina Forest Boulevard Widening Project, it is set to begin in the near future, with the intention of improving traffic, especially during those busy times of the day.
The future is bright for Carolina Forest, as new businesses move in, home values increase and development continues.