Easter at Ocean Lakes | What you need to know about holiday activities, water park schedule

Guests celebrating Easter at Ocean Lakes will have a jam-packed lineup of free activities and events to keep them hopping, from the traditional sunrise service by the beach to our twist on the classic Easter egg hunt.

The campground will be full for Easter weekend, and our facilities will be in full swing – including the water park and outdoor pool.

Whether it feels like spring or not, Sandy Harbor Water Park will be open Friday, March 30 through Sunday, April 1. Hours will be 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.

After Easter weekend, the pools, lazy river and Splash Zone will stay open April 2 through April 8, but the slides will NOT be open those days. The water park then will shut down until May 1, when it will open under “hours as posted” on the weekends (check out the water park’s full 2018 schedule here).

The outdoor pool will open for the season the week leading up to Easter. Brush up on our water park rules here.

With Easter falling early this year, the water still might be a bit chilly for some. But don’t worry – we have a jam-packed lineup of free, family-focused activities during Easter weekend. 

Celebrate with traditional holiday events such as the Sunrise Service at 7 a.m. Easter Sunday by the three crosses, Maundy Service at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 29 in the Recreation Center and our twist on the classic Easter Egg Hunt – an Easter Egg Obstacle Course the afternoon of Sunday, April 1.

Kids will go through a course featuring five fun stations – collecting prize-filled eggs along the way to end with a half-dozen eggs at the finish line. Don’t freak out about the “obstacles,” they are fun such as the cone weave, hula-hoop crawl-through, noodle jumps and ladder hop.

The Easter Egg Hunt is one of our most popular activities during Easter weekend, attracting between 300 and 400 kids.

“It’s a traditional thing. You grew up doing an Easter Egg Hunt – dressing up in your Easter outfit and hunting for eggs,” said Salle Horner, our Recreational Activities Coordinator.

To make it fair and control crowds, kids will do the course in groups: ages 1-3 will start at 2 p.m., ages 4-7 will start at 2:30 p.m. and ages 8-11 will start at 3 p.m. The course will be set up behind the Nature Center.

The Easter Egg Obstacle Course debuted last year, and guests had so much fun it’s back this year. It ensures that every kid gets eggs and makes the egg hunt more entertaining than the previous format. The Easter Bunny will be waiting at the finish line to high-five all the finishers and pose for photos.

“People really enjoyed the Easter Egg Obstacle Course last year,” Horner said. “It wasn’t so rushed. Before, it was two minutes and done. Some kids would have loads of eggs and others wouldn’t have any. Now, everybody gets some Easter eggs.”

About 2,400 prize-filled eggs will be given out during the Obstacle Course, including a dozen golden eggs holding a certificate for a bigger prize – an Easter basket overflowing with lots of goodies.

Also back this year: Ocean Lakes version of the popular game “Minute to Win It.” Sign up in advance in the Recreation Center for your group of four to play. It was such a hit last year we’ve added another round this year. Game times are 7 p.m. March 27 and 7 p.m. April 3.

Warning: You must not take yourself too seriously to play this game.

“People with a sense of humor love it,” Horner said.

Here’s your handy guide for the best bets during Easter weekend; check out the FULL list of activities and events here.

Thursday, March 29

7:30 p.m. | Maundy Service
Where | Recreation Center

The Thursday before Easter is the day when Jesus celebrated his final Passover with his disciples. Mark this day with our Maundy Service.
Bring a dessert to share on our dessert buffet after the service; we’ll provide the coffee.

Friday, March 30

3 p.m. | Easter Bonnet Contest
Where | Recreation Building

Every Easter outfit looks better topped with a traditional Easter bonnet. Create your own bonnet for a chance to win a prize (and bragging rights) as the best Easter bonnet in the campground.

Tip: Aim to be different. Bonnets with a unique flair tend to be crowd pleasers.
Need inspiration? Check out our “All Things Easter” board on Pinterest for some festive ideas.

Drop off your finished bonnet in the Recreation Building between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Friday, March 30 for judging. Ocean Lakes guests will vote for their favorite Saturday, March 31 during the Easter Bunny Lunch.

Winners will be announced at the beginning of the Magic Show at 7 p.m. Saturday in the Recreation Center.

Saturday, March 31

11 a.m. | Lunch with the Easter Bunny
Where | Recreation Center

The Easter Bunny is throwing a lunch party complete with corn dogs, face painting, crafts and a photo booth. Kids ages 11 and under will get lunch (corn dog, chips, drink) on us. (Please parents, the meal is for the kids only!)

Ha-Ha the Clown will be on hand for face painting (and this clown can paint all your Easter favorites or any character a child might want). We’ll also have a free craft for the youngsters to make.

Be sure to capture a souvenir photo of the fun! Our holiday-themed photo booth will give you the perfect backdrop.

2 p.m. | Easter Family Field Day
Where | Grass area behind the Nature Center

Bring your family for a fun field day! Get a little exercise tackling a series of obstacles and enjoy games such as the Egg Spoon Balance. Winning families will get prizes!

Tip: Wear sneakers and clothes you can easily move around in.

4 p.m. | Corn toss tournament
Where | Grass area behind the Nature Center

7 p.m. | Magic Show
Where | Recreation Center
Enjoy a night of illusions by the Grand Strand Magic Club

Sunday, April 1 (Happy Easter!):

7 a.m. | Sunrise Service
Where | Three crosses at the beachfront, just south of the Observation Deck
(If it rains, service will move to the Recreation Building)

One of our most popular Easter events. Bring your beach chair or roll up on your golf car for a traditional sunrise worship service led by the Rev. Kirk Lawton.

Tip: Arrive early, especially if you want a prime spot. Aim to be there by 6:45 a.m.

9 a.m. | Regular Sunday Worship Service
Where | Recreation Center

10:15 a.m. | Bible Study
Where | Recreation Center

Easter Egg Hunt Obstacle Course
When | 2 p.m. for ages 1-3; 2:30 p.m. for ages 4-7; 3 p.m. for ages 8-11
Where | Grass area behind the Nature Center

A twist on the traditional Easter Egg Hunt!

Tip: Make sure to be ready at the time slot set aside for your kids. The obstacles get a bit more difficult for the older age groups.

The fun doesn’t stop on Sunday. Check out the full list of activities, including those on Easter Monday, here.

Happy Easter! Thanks for choosing to spend the holiday with us. Enjoy your stay!


Wondering what folks are doing walking up and down every road in Ocean Lakes? It's a different kind of March Madness

Don’t be alarmed if you notice pairs of teammates walking a brisk pace around Ocean Lakes Family Campground, weaving up and down every road, every row of campers along the way.

No, they aren’t lost. And they aren’t just wandering aimlessly.

They are on a mission: Complete our first March Madness 22-Mile Challenge. That’s right, they are going to walk 22 miles.

Greg Bender, manager of Ocean Lakes Golf Cars, logs seven miles after work Monday, March 5.
The challenge’s goal: Walk every paved road in the campground – a total of 22 miles – while off the clock during March. The reward: 2,200 points in the company wellness program, which encourages teammates to earn points to receive discounts on their health insurance premiums.

“It’s such a beautiful place to do it,” said Lance Thompson, Ocean Lakes General Manager and Vice President. “Would you rather walk on a treadmill in a stinky gym or by the ocean with beautiful surroundings?”

Don’t panic – teammates don’t have to walk all 22 miles in one day. A mile here, a few miles there. Teammates have a handy campground map provided by our Human Resources Department to log their miles and mark off the roads after they walk them.

Embracing the challenge

The 22-Mile Challenge kicked off March 1, and teammates have embraced it. About 59 full-time workers signed up to participate, way more than the dozen or so competitive teammates who organizers thought would jump at the challenge.

“I’m shocked that 59 people have signed up, and that they’re talking about it and are into it,” said Bonita Lloyd, Human Resources Director.

The first day of the challenge, some teammates arrived early before work to walk a mile, two or more. Others - campground map in hand - spent their lunch hours racking up the miles. Some overachievers walked multiple times that day: before work, lunch hour and after clocking out for the day.

Lloyd has even gotten a phone call from a teammate at 7:30 a.m. making sure they were logging their miles correctly on a fitness app as they walked before starting their workday.

Then there are the weekend warriors. Lloyd and Thompson joined Dennis Wade, CEO of The Jackson Companies; and teammate Michele Throgmorton from the Main Office to log 14 miles on a brisk Saturday morning. Thompson, who is an expert on the campground’s layout after working at Ocean Lakes for 33 years, led the group.

“It was so cool seeing every nook and cranny [of the campground],” Lloyd said.

After four hours of stepping that windy Saturday morning, the gang celebrated with a big breakfast at Bob Evans.

“Those were the best eggs I think I’ve ever had,” Lloyd said.

A group of teammates treats themselves to a big breakfast at Bob Evans after logging 14 miles on a windy Saturday morning. Pictured are Dennis Wade (top left), CEO of The Jackson Companies; Michele Throgmorton from the Main Office; Lance Thompson, Ocean Lakes General Manager and Vice President; Bonita Lloyd, Human Resources Director; and Bonita's husband, Kevin Engelman.

Racking up the points

Challenge participants not only enjoy the benefits of the fresh air and physical activity, they will earn points in our wellness program for every mile they walk.

A flier promoting the March Madness 22-Mile Challenge hangs on a board in the Ocean Lakes Front Office. The flier includes the campground map teammates use to log their miles.

Teammates who walk all 22 miles earn a whopping 2,200 points. Full-time teammates who earn at least 7,000 points receive the largest discount on their health insurance.

The points were enough to get teammate Danielle Hopper in Accounting lacing up her walking shoes. She admits she’s usually under the gun to accumulate the 7,000 points each year; this challenge will give her a big boost way before the deadline in the fall.

“I love the points,” said Hopper, who is accumulating the miles on her lunch hour. “I cannot believe it is this many points. That is going to help me so much. This is a huge relief off my back.”

Exploring the campground

The challenge of walking every road in the campground – tracking it on the map – makes it much more fun than just logging 22 miles wherever.

“The challenge makes it so much more fun,” Hopper said.

Danielle Hopper, front, from Accounting, walks around the campground during her lunch hour with teammates Sue Bradley from Property Management and Loretta DeHart from Accounting. After they wrap up their walk, they stop by our Meet n' Eat to grab lunch to take back to their office.

It’s also fun checking out every part of the campground, with teammates venturing down roads they’ve never been on previously.

“One of the goals is getting people moving and getting people out seeing the campground,” Lloyd said. “They usually stay in their zones.”

While some teammates jumped right in, others like Mallory Holmes in Marketing plan to wait until it’s a bit warmer and daylight saving time kicks in so she’ll have more time after work to walk before it gets dark.

“It’s a way to get outside and enjoy the fresh air. It’s a nice change of scenery [from sitting behind a desk most of the day],” Holmes said. “Getting those Vitality (wellness program) points doesn’t hurt, either.”

Participants are encouraged to submit photos taken during their walks for a “Walk of Fame Wall” that will be coming soon in the Main Office. And Lloyd already is brainstorming the next challenge; it likely will be on bike instead of foot. All challenges will be done outside the busy summer season.

For this challenge, teammates have until March 31 to walk the 22 miles. Some are trying to knock it out as quickly as possible, while others plan to be slow and steady until the deadline.

“I’ll finish it on the 30th,” Holmes said. “But I will finish it.”


Ocean Lakes hiring service-minded folks to join our summer team in Myrtle Beach

We’re starting to do one of the most important things to get ready for the busy summer season: Hire the right people for our team.

Ocean Lakes will add about 300 teammates for the summer, including lifeguards, snack bar cooks and cashiers, recreation activities counselors, maintenance crews and more.

Recruiting is underway for part-time and full-time positions that come with a variety of benefits, including weekly paychecks, discounts and access to our amenities when you’re off work.

Check out all the jobs and apply at www.OceanLakesJobs.com.

Our team – which swells to nearly 500 during the summer – is a hard-working bunch that helps make Ocean Lakes special. Each teammate focuses on providing friendly and helpful customer service with the goal of putting smiles on all our guests’ faces.

We need teammates who like to have fun and help our guests have fun. Teammates who not only respond to guests’ questions, but are always looking for ways to go above and beyond to help our guests make family memories that last a lifetime.

“We look for candidates who have the ability to fit with our culture of service,” said Shannon Detzler, Human Resources Coordinator/Recruiter for The Jackson Companies, the parent company of Ocean Lakes Family Campground. “Working at Ocean Lakes isn’t just a job. It’s being part of a team that strives to be the best.”

If you have that focus on customer service, we’ll teach you the skills needed to excel on our team.

Looking for lifeguards

One of the biggest needs is for lifeguards at our Sandy Harbor Water Park, which opened in 2016 and features slides, a lazy river, pools and a Splash Zone for kids.

Lifeguards working at the top of our water slides at Sandy Harbor Water Park have one of the best views in town.

Want to be a lifeguard but aren’t certified? No problem. We’ll provide the Red Cross training for certification. If you are already a certified lifeguard, you may be eligible to receive a sign-on bonus.

“Students, firefighters, teachers and others have all found that working as a lifeguard during the summer at Ocean Lakes is a perfect fit,” Detzler said. “They are able to work a flexible schedule and earn income while enjoying one of the best water park environments at the beach.”

All applications are accepted online. Go to www.OceanLakesJobs.com to see all the jobs available and to apply.


Traveling to and from Ocean Lakes on a personal golf car? Check out these new trails for our guests

Guests on their personal golf cars now have a safer, more convenient way to travel in and out of the campground.

Access trails – one headed south, another headed north – are being added near the Main Entrance to Ocean Lakes for guests driving personal golf cars, riding bikes or jogging in or out of the campground.

A new access trail headed south toward Surfside Beach will give Ocean Lakes guests traveling on their personal golf cars a safer, more convenient route entering and leaving the campground. This trail, just off the Main Entrance to Ocean Lakes, connects with the Frontage Road headed toward Surfside Beach.

The southbound access trail, which opened this week, connects our front entrance to the Frontage Road headed toward Surfside Beach to give guests a safer route when the South Gate and RV Center gate are closed. 

No more having to maneuver through the grass near U.S. 17 Business to enter or exit the campground at the Main Entrance when the other gates are closed.

“This trail gives our guests direct access from the Frontage Road to the Main Gate,” Operations Manager Kevin McWhirter said. “It will be much safer for guests on their personal golf cars cruising to Surfside Beach.”

Crews also are working on a north access trail, which will open next week.

Ocean Lakes teammates work on a new access trail headed north from the Main Entrance. The trail is expected to open next week.

Reminder: Golf Cars rented through Ocean Lakes Golf Cars are NOT allowed to leave the campground and are not allowed on these new trails.