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.


Ocean Lakes starts long-range plan to improve fishing in campground ponds

Don’t be alarmed if you see bubbles coming to the surface of Sandlapper Lake.

The bubbles, which you have to look closely to see in the massive lake, represent the first step in a long-term process that Ocean Lakes is taking to help improve the fishing opportunities in the campground.

But how will bubbles help fishing? The bubbles are coming from an air system that has been installed at the bottom of the lake to increase oxygen levels in the water, which should help create a better environment for fish to live and reproduce – and end up on your hook.

“Any increase in dissolved oxygen will help the fish survive better,” said Jeff Wilson, Ocean Lakes Horticulturist/Grounds Manager.

First of several steps

The air system is the first of several steps Ocean Lakes will be taking over the next year to improve the fishing offerings in our lakes.

Look closely at Magnolia Lake and you can see a stream of bubbles coming from a recently installed air-based linear mixing system that adds oxygen to the water to make for a better environment for fish.

Our team plans to remove sediments in the lakes, install spawning areas near the bulkheads to provide places for successful reproduction and add “structure” and “cover” to the bottom of the lakes, which provide hiding places for the fish.

Some enhancements will have an immediate effect, but it will take a year or longer before guests will notice significant improvement in their catches, experts estimate.

“By implementing enhancements to lake water quality and improving habitat, the fishery will improve,” said Miles “Bud” Smart with The Smart Group consultants. “Improvements to the fishery will be noticeable within a year or two and then continue into the future.”

Ocean Lakes turned to the experts after years of disappointing results from our stocking of the lakes with fish such as carp and bass. Guests are still reeling in impressive catches, just not as frequently as in years past.

Instead of just continuing to stock the lakes and have the same disappointing results, Ocean Lakes hired the environmental experts at The Smart Group in nearby Pawleys Island, who last year presented the first in-depth assessment of our eight lakes in the campground’s 46-year history.

Experts with The Smart Group gathered data about the campground's eight ponds, including conducting a fish inventory in April as seen above. The study is the first in-depth assessment of our lakes in the campground's 46 years.

The leadership team at Ocean Lakes knows how important the fishing culture is to our guests and homeowners and is investing in a long-range plan to improve the offerings.

Patience required

In 2016, the consultants dove in and gathered lots of data, including the depths of the ponds, inventory of fish in each one and water quality.  With that baseline data, the experts are working with Ocean Lakes on several steps to improve the fishing culture in our ponds.

Experts from The Smart Group gathered data from the Ocean Lakes pond across from the Meet n' Eat in April.

We started with Sandlapper Lake because it’s the one that guests can most easily access for fishing.

But don’t expect to start immediately reeling in results. It will take time for the fishery to improve and for our stocking with carp, bream, bass and other fish to pay off.

“The fishery-related enhancements would take longer because they are biologically based (i.e., the fish have to grow, reproduce, etc.),” Smart said.

Our team will work with our expert consultants to closely monitor the results and adjust our efforts as needed.  These first steps will help set the stage for long-term results and a thriving fishing culture.


Sprucing up | Observation Deck upgrades, renovated restrooms, more improvements underway at Ocean Lakes Family Campground

The slowest time at the campground is the busiest time for our maintenance team.

From small painting tasks to major overhaul projects, crews are working double-time during the slower winter months to ensure Ocean Lakes will be in tip-top shape by the time the big crowds return this spring.

Some projects – including replacing the wood on our iconic Observation Deck and installing concrete pads on a handful of campsites – already are underway. In January, contractors and teammates will start several more projects, including renovating the restrooms at the Meet n’ Eat.

Ocean Lakes is so busy from spring through fall that our team schedules most non-urgent maintenance projects during the slower winter months.

“It’s our only down time to make these repairs happen before Easter weekend,” Ocean Lakes Operations Manager Kevin McWhirter said.

Here’s a rundown of some of the improvements you’ll notice by spring:


Observation Deck | Our iconic Observation Deck is getting a little TLC. Crews are replacing the weathered wood, deckboards and railings to give it a fresh new look!

The oceanfront deck will be closed during the work, which could wrap up by the end of January.

Restrooms at the Meet n’ Eat | More modern restrooms are on the way! Contractors will be overhauling the restrooms by the Meet n’ Eat with new floors, modern fixtures and updated partitions.

The restrooms will be closed starting Jan. 2 while contractors do the work.

Concrete pads | Ocean Lakes adds concrete pads on a few campsites each winter. We’ve added eight concrete pads during this off season. Concrete pads are in high demand, especially during the summer.

Signs | New directional signs will greet guests at the main entrance and along the main roads inside the campground.

The signs will be updated to include our newest attractions such as Sandy Harbor Water Park, which opened in 2016, and our Nature Center, which moved to a new spot behind Sandy Mart in 2017.

The new signs also will be reflective to make them easier to see at night than our current signs.

“None of our old-school signs are reflective,” McWhirter said. “This will help with night traffic.”

Painting | The Recreation Center will get a fresh coat of paint. The Recreation Center will be closed Jan. 8 through Jan. 11 for the work; Family Ceramics will move to the Cafe in the Arcade that week.

The office at the Recreation Center will be open every day except Jan. 9, so guests will still be able to buy discounted tickets to area attractions, borrow a book from our library or check out a basketball or other recreation equipment.

Our team also is working behind the scenes on utility upgrades, repairs to our fleet of vehicles and other facility improvements.

“All the important stuff that people don’t even see,” McWhirter said.


5 tips for making the most of your Thanksgiving stay at Ocean Lakes

The holidays have arrived at Ocean Lakes in Myrtle Beach!

We're kicking off a festive week with lots of activities to help you work up that appetite for Thanksgiving and work off some calories after the big feast.

Our Recreation team has expanded the usual Thanksgiving week activity lineup to ensure that our guests - we have a packed house for the holiday - will have plenty of fun things to do.

Our most popular games such as bingo will treat the winners to yummy food items to help round out their Thanksgiving meal, and Santa arrives Saturday with a special breakfast for the little ones.

"We have a jam-packed lineup of fun for everyone in the family," said Salle Horner, Sandy Harbor Recreation supervisor. "The holidays are a special time and we want to give our guests plenty of chances to make wonderful holiday memories that last a lifetime."

Activities kicked off Monday and will continue through the week, including a special edition of Family Minute to Win It - think the popular TV game show with an Ocean Lakes twist - at 7 p.m. Tuesday (sign up in advance in the Recreation Center).

Check out the full lineup of activities.

Our elves are here to help you make the most of your Thanksgiving week at Ocean Lakes with these tips:

Must do - don't miss this!

Breakfast with Santa 

When | 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Nov. 25

Where | Recreation Center

The big guy arrives for the holidays Saturday with a fun breakfast party in our Recreation Center from 9 a.m. to noon.

Kids 12 and under are treated with doughnuts and juice; coffee provided for the adults. A face painter will be on hand, and kids can have fun with the craft of the day: making a festive wreath out of paper plates (our Recreation elves will be there to help).

Snap that perfect photo of your little one on Santa's lap, then scoot over to the holiday-themed photo booth and one of our teammates will take a fun picture of your entire family (perfect for your family's Christmas card).

Breakfast with Santa is one of our most popular holiday events, with more than 250 kids giving their wish lists to the big guy last year.

Keep this family tradition

Gingerbread House Making Contest

When | 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 23

Where | Recreation Center

Put your twist on this timeless symbol of the holidays. Build a gingerbread house to be entered into our contest!

Build your house and drop it off in the Recreation Center, or bring all your materials to the Recreation Center and build your masterpiece there. Your house must be done by 8 p.m. to be entered into our contest.

Guests will pick the winner with their votes. Voting takes place from 9 a.m. Friday until 1 p.m. Saturday. Winners will be posted at the Recreation Center by 3 p.m. Saturday.

Bonus Elf Tip | Be creative and unique!

Work up your appetite/work off the Thanksgiving calories

Mini Golf and Ping Pong Tournaments

When | Various times throughout the week; check the schedule

Where | Recreation Center and Mini Golf Course

Did you grab that extra piece of pumpkin pie during the Thanksgiving feast? Don't feel guilty - work it off!

We've added more miniature golf and ping pong tournaments this week to give guests the chance to be active. Not your sports? No problem! Swing by the Recreation Center to grab a basketball to enjoy our oceanfront court, rent bicycles, walk the beach or take advantage of the horseshoe and shuffleboard courts by the oceanfront.

The warm, beautiful weather on Thanksgiving day last year sent guests to the beach to make the most of it.

New this year

Christmas Rock Search

When | 9 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 25 until all rocks are found

Where | Throughout the campground, but not on personal property

Kindness rocks decked out for the holidays! Look for 10 specially painted Ocean Lakes Christmas rocks with "Elf, return to Rec" written on them and cash in for a special prize! Take the rock to the Recreation Center and our elves will give you the prize.

Our team will not give any clues to help you find them!

Please help spread the love around - only one winning rock per family!

Bonus Elf Tip | None of our special holiday rocks are hidden near the Main Office and Front Gate, so don't bother wasting time and effort looking there!

Don't forget the reason for the season

Our custom-made manger scene by our three crosses has become a popular spot to take in what Christmas is all about. Swing by and snap a photo.

Thanks for choosing to spend the holidays with us! Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and have a blast during your stay at Ocean Lakes!


Headed this way for Halloweekends? Here's what you need to know

Holy goblins, Bat Sandy!

Starfish Heroes are swooping into Ocean Lakes Family Campground to take this year’s Halloweekends to new superhero heights!

A Howling Good Time Festival with games and fun stations has joined the usual Halloweekend lineup of trick or treating, costume contests, pumpkin carving competitions and the ever-popular Creepy Site Crawl.

The two-hour festival will kick off each Saturday of Halloweekends, transforming our Recreation Center into a Halloween hub with face painting, photo booth, pumpkin ring toss, tattoo station (don’t be scared – they’ll wash off!) and games of chance – guess how many candy corn candies are in the jar and win a prize! The festival will run from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. during Halloweekend Saturdays (Oct. 14, Oct. 21 and Oct. 28).

“If you’re a Halloweekend veteran and didn’t think it could get any more fun – wait ‘til this year,” said Salle Horner, Sandy Harbor Recreation supervisor who organizes the Halloweekend activities. “We’ve kicked it up a notch with a new Howling Good Time Festival featuring loads of fun for everyone.”

Ocean Lakes’ three Halloweekends  - set for Oct. 13-14, Oct. 20-21 and Oct. 27-28 – consume the campground and feature a nearly non-stop lineup ofactivities. The campground is nearly booked for all three weekends. Please review our policies about masks and face coverings.

Here’s a handy guide to help you make the most of your Halloweekend at Ocean Lakes this year:

 What’s new?

Be on the lookout for special, prize-winning Sandy Starfish Rocks.

Think kindness rocks with a Halloweekend twist.

Every Halloweekend Saturday, 10 Sandy Starfish painted rocks will be hidden throughout the campground. Each special rock will have a note attached and a winner’s sticker. Bring the winning rock to the Recreation Center to collect your prize!

Help spread the fun to others by only collecting one rock per family.

The search starts at 9 a.m. every Halloweekend Saturday (Oct. 14, Oct. 21, Oct. 28).

Happy Hunting! We promise it won’t take superpowers to find these special rocks.

Trick or treating!

When | 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturday (Oct. 14, Oct. 21, Oct. 28)
Where | Throughout the campground

How much candy should I bring?
Simply put, you can never have enough. Halloweekends bring out tons of superheroes, ghosts, goblins and other characters for trick or treating each Saturday.

Bottom line: Spend as much as you feel comfortable with on candy.

Handing out candy? Swing by our Recreation Office before 2 p.m. Saturday to sign up. You’ll get a distinctive Halloween sign to put at your site.

Going trick or treating? The annual tradition starts at 4:30 p.m. Saturday. Swing by the Recreation Office at 4 p.m. that day to pick up the list of treat-friendly sites.

Starfish Heroes

Don’t forget to pack your cape.

This year we’re celebrating the superheroes we look up to and the ones tucked inside each of us with our theme, “Starfish Heroes: Protecting Your Happy Place.”

“Unleash your inner superhero,” Horner said. “Every generation has a superhero they looked up to. It’s a timeless concept that appeals to the kids, adults, grandparents – everyone has that inner superhero craving to come out. What will your superpower be?”

Meet the whole Starfish Heroes gang:

That’s quite the crew! Swing by their hangout near the South Gate and post your photos to our Facebook (@OceanLakesFB) and Twitter (@OceanLakes) pages with the hashtag #halloweekends2017.


Take home a souvenir that will last longer than your Halloween candy. All items are available in the Recreation Center.

Don’t leave without your official Starfish Heroes Halloweekends 2017 T-shirt. This gray shirt features the “Starfish Heroes” symbol on the front and the whole gang busting loose on the back. Adult sizes, $16; $17 for XXL and XXXL; kids’ sizes, $14.

Collect the whole Starfish Heroes gang! Each character has its own cup, each one featuring a custom design and color. Cups are $2 each.

Forget your trick or treat bag? Buy a cool heavy-duty one. Just $3.

Remember family-friendly

Our guests go all out with their Halloween decorations and costumes – we love that – but remember that Halloweekends are focused on families.

Be creative, but keep it clean. Be scary, but not so much that you’d make a little one cry.

South Gate

Our South Gate will be open to help all the Halloween revelers get in as quick as possible to start having fun! The South Gate will be open 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. each Friday and Saturday and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays through October.

No outside superheroes allowed

Our Halloweekend activities are only for guests staying at Ocean Lakes and our annual lease site holders.

And most important – have a blast, Superheroes!