SC History Trail

Ocean Forest Hotel

Designed in 1929 as the crown jewel of a giant, upscale resort, the Ocean Forest Hotel was an elegant, towering, beachfront hotel located in northern Myrtle Beach. Razed in 1974, it is remembered today only by a 1930s circular driveway at 5900 North Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach and a nearby undeveloped stretch of beachfront.


Ocean Forest Hotel
5900 N. Ocean Blvd., Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
Map: View Map and Directions
Add This Site to Your Itinerary
Site Description
All that remains of the Ocean Forest Hotel today is a circular drive at 5900 North Ocean Boulevard in the Ocean Forest section of Myrtle Beach, and the nearby stretch of Ocean Boulevard that is devoid of structures on the beach side. In the 1930s and '40s, however, the Ocean Forest Hotel was a towering brick hotel that helped make Myrtle Beach a national beach resort.

In 1926, a South Carolina textile visionary named John T. Woodside came to Myrtle Beach with a sweeping plan to build a giant, Riviera-style resort for America's wealthy. Assisted by his brothers and financed with a fortune in textile profits, he paid Myrtle Beach Farms, the local company that owned most of Myrtle Beach, a staggering $950,000 for almost 65,000 acres of land in the resort.

The first phase of Woodside's vision was development of the Ocean Forest Hotel - a classic ten-story, Georgian-style, high-rise, beachfront hotel that towered over the Strand like an elegant palace. Designed by Raymond Hood, a highly-respected New York architect, it was built on the west side of Ocean Boulevard, leaving a long stretch of undeveloped beachfront in its front. Guests lodged in luxury, played shuffleboard on the hotel lawn, splashed in the nearby surf, danced to big-name bands and dined on superb cuisine beneath glowing chandeliers. Nearby, in what would become the Pine Lakes section of Myrtle Beach, Woodside built a 27-hole golf course designed by Robert White, the first president of the PGA.

In 1929, Woodside unveiled plans for the second phase of his grand resort - a modernistic upper-class resort that would transform Myrtle Beach into a national recreational showplace. Instead of glamour, however, 1929 brought the stock market crash that plunged the nation into the Great Depression. It destroyed John T. Woodside's vision for Myrtle Beach. The Ocean Forest Hotel and its nearby golf course were eventually bought by outside investors. The rest of Woodside's giant tract of property fell into foreclosure and eventually reverted to Myrtle Beach Farms which developed the resort slowly and steadily over the decades to come.

The Ocean Forest Hotel, however, set a standard of quality for the Grand Strand's accommodations industry, and helped establish Myrtle Beach as a beach resort destination for vacationers far outside the Carolinas. In 1974, the hotel's latest owners razed the elegant-but-aging structure to make way for condominium development. Instead of a playground for the immensely wealthy as the Woodsides had envisioned, Myrtle Beach developed into one of the most popular, family beach resorts in the nation.