Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Camping Courtesies

Ahh, the weather is warming up and the sun is staying out a little longer, which means it is time to hit the beach in a camper for vacation! We remind guests to remember their beach towels and sunscreen, their car passes and golf car registration stickers. However, one thing we tend to leave out at times are camping courtesies (some things are not common knowledge). 

Calling all campers, beginners and pros, let’s talk the do’s and don’ts of camping etiquette | 

Quiet Hours | Most, if not all, campgrounds have set hours that ask their guests to quiet down for the night. Our Quiet Hours are from 11 PM to 7 AM. This does not make us or any campground the “fun police,” but it does allow for the campers around you to get a good night sleep. Everyone is here to relax and have a good time, and to do so, we all need our rest at the end of the day. 

Turn The Volume Down | This is a big one around here, and we all know it is the truth. Yes, we all love our music and yes, music is good for the soul. However, we each like our own music. Certain songs have bad words (words that I cannot type here), and they should not be loud enough for those around to hear. Keep in mind, there are young ears all around – After all, we are a family campground. Listen to whatever song you would like but keep the volume down. Parents, please remind your teens to keep it down, as well. A little respect goes a long way.

We will issue a $100 fine after one warning for loud music in the campground. We will issue a $100 fine without a warning for lewd, vulgar, or offensive music in the campground. 

Respect Your Neighbor’s Space | Let’s not walk or drive across an occupied site. That space is for that guest to utilize. Know your site boundaries and respect your neighbor’s site space. Your site boundary is road to road, and from site post to site post. Be considerate, please try and keep fences, vehicles, and other items 3 feet from the street edge. Do not park behind your camper as that is your neighbor’s site. Try not to park or place your belongings too close to the roads; leave ample clearance for vehicles and camping units to pass. 

Arriving Early OR Arriving Late | It happens, we get it (I am either early or late, and never on time, myself)! If you arrive early, there is NO guarantee that your site is ready. Please do not stand or park and wait for the guests to leave, and do not approach them. Would you want that treatment? Be courteous. If it is their check-out time, then our Security Team will approach the guests and remind them it is time for their departure. 

If you arrive late, and I mean LATE, then try your very best to be as quiet as possible. There are campers around you settling in for the night, so try to be mindful. Remember, you can always set everything up in the morning.

Camping With Pets | Clean up after your pets – We even provide Doogie Doo Stations with bags for all guests to use! We will issue a $100 fine if you do not clean up after your pets. If your pet does not like being left alone, then please do not leave them unattended. This may result in loud barking or unruly behavior, and that is no fun for the pet or other campers. All pets should always be on a leash, and it must not exceed 6 feet in length. 

Think about your fur babies – Make sure they have water and shade, and if you are not around, they need to be in the AC inside your camper. There are apps you can download to alert you if the power goes out in your camper while you are not around. Keep in mind, the sand and pavement get hot, and it may burn their paws; their paws are sensitive. 

Keep It Slow | The speed limit in the campground is 10 mph, and that is everywhere in the campground. We are a family campground (it is literally in our name), which means there are little ones out having fun. Please no speeding. It is not cool; it is not fun. It will only lead to a fine and/or an accident. Everyone is on vacation, so why the hurry? Slow it down and enjoy yourselves – You are on Ocean Lakes time. 

Where Are Your Kiddos? | Parents and guardians, please know where your children are. Whether they are young or teenagers, you need to be aware of where they are and what they are doing. Guest safety is our top priority, and our Security Team patrols the entire campground 24/7. It would help us out if you would do your part. If they are going to an activity or to enjoy an amenity, we would like adult supervision with them. 

If they are riding their bikes, scooters, skateboards, or hover boards (or any other method of transportation), please teach them to stop at Stop Signs and to watch their surroundings. Their eyes should be on the road and not on their phones. 

It is incredibly flattering that you trust our Team and feel safe in our campground; however, anything can happen. We always tend to err on the side of caution, and we ask that our guests do the same. 

Leave The Campsite How You Found It | To put it simply, clean up after yourselves! Our Team works hard to keep our campground looking beautiful, so please do your part. 

Until Next Time | As our co-founder, Nelson Jackson, used to say, “We really only have one rule, conduct yourselves like ladies and gentlemen.” Campers truly are friendly people, and we have a beautiful place we like to call our “Home Away From Home!” Respect and being courteous to other campers and to nature goes a long way. 

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Proud To Be Your Teammate | An Ocean Lakes Announcement

It is a bittersweet day at Ocean Lakes Family Campground. Today, March 31st, will mark Lance Thompson’s, our outgoing General Manager and Vice President, last day. After 36 years of service and dedication to Ocean Lakes and The Jackson Companies, the time has come for him to enjoy his well-deserved retirement. 

Lance and his daughter, Savannah, taking a firetruck ride!

Looking Back With Lance | After earning a Bachelor’s Degree from UNC-Wilmington in Recreation Resource Management, and then a Master’s Degree in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management from Clemson University, Lance began his career at Ocean Lakes. In 1985, Lance was hired as the first full-time Recreation Director. In 1988, he was promoted to the Front Office Manager, in 1991 was named General Manager, and ultimately named Vice President of Ocean Lakes in 1999. His dedication to the company and the Grand Strand community are outstanding.

Lance on one of Mr. Jackson's very stylish rides!

Lance and Teammates celebrating Ocean Lakes' 25th Birthday!

A Letter From Lance | “This was a very difficult decision for me, as I love my job, I love this company and I love the teammates with which I have the honor of working with every day. However, as many of you are aware, our daughter Savannah turned 25 years old recently and has significant special needs. She will never live independently. Therefore, the rest of my life will be dedicated to ensuring that she has a very good quality of life.” 

Diane DeVaughn-Stokes with Lance, wife Marjorie and Savannah at Ocean Lakes' 40th Birthday Cake Gala!

Sandy Starfish and Savannah are best pals!

Ricky Skaggs got to meet Savannah at Bluegrass Weekend in 2019.

Lance with his family moments before he took the plunge at the Polar Bear Plunge in 2020.

Lance and his daughter, Savannah, sharing a hug at his Retirement Ceremony.

The dedication of Lance and his wife, Marjorie, to their family is a priority, and it echoes that of our company’s founding family. As our Co-founder, Mr. Jackson often exclaimed, “We’re in the family business.”

Lance Thompson, Mary Emily Jackson, Nelson Jackson, and David DuRant accept for the first time the National Mega Park of the Year from ARVC on November 20, 1997.

Lance speaking with Dennis Wade and Mr. and Mrs. Jackson on Jackson Day, June 2, 2006.

Mr. and Mrs. Jackson with one of the daughters, Laura, and Lance with his daughter, Savannah during Bluegrass Weekend in 2006. 

Tugging At Our Heart Strings | Lance explained, “I will be forever grateful to the Jackson family for giving me the opportunity to spend my entire career with such a wonderful company. I could not have asked for a better group of owners or a better group of fellow teammates.” 

Lance joined the Landscaping Team to pick up fireworks to assist in taking care of our environment in July of 2003.

Lance speaking about one of 6 RV Park of the Year recognitions at the Teammate Awards Breakfast.

His appreciation and team spirit are evident, “I continue to be, and will always be, proud to be your Teammate!” 

Lance speaking at the 2019 Teammate Awards Breakfast.

Memories In Pictures | Take a stroll down memory lane with us as we look back at some of Lance’s moments with his Ocean Lakes family:

Lance showing support to Marketing Teammate, Lauren, during Bluegrass Weekend in 2019.

Lance congratulating Leonard Raker, Curator, on the renaming of the Nature Center.

David DuRant and Lance at the Ocean Lakes after receiving national RV Park of the Year Award.

Lance accepting South Carolina's 2006 Governor's Cup for Ocean Lakes.

Lance taking the stage with Jennings Chestnut and Barb Krumm at Bluegrass Weekend in 2003!

Lance and Ocean Lakes Managers cooking up breakfast for Teammates.

Pictured Above: Mr. and Mrs. Jackson, Barb Krumm, David DuRant, and Lance and Marjorie Thompson.

Best Wishes From Dennis | “Lance has provided tremendous leadership to our Team at Ocean Lakes and The Jackson Companies,” explains Dennis Wade, CEO of The Jackson Companies. 

Lance and Dennis Wade enjoying a sweet treat at the 40th Birthday Cake Gala!

Greg Bender, Dennis Wade, and Lance at the 2005 Ribbon Cutting of Camptown Center.

"He dedicated his 36 years with the company in helping mold and shape Ocean Lakes into the nationally recognized and award-winning resort destination it is today. We were fortunate that Lance gave us a couple years notice of his retirement plans, which allowed us to prepare for the leadership transition at Ocean Lakes. We wish Lance only the best in his retirement and he will always be part of the Ocean Lakes and Jackson Companies family.”

Dennis Wade sharing a few remarks at Lance's Retirement Ceremony.

Looking To The Future | Ocean Lakes Family Campground, a division of The Jackson Companies, has promoted Greg Bender to Vice President and General Manager. He is responsible for leading the overall operations of Ocean Lakes Family Campground upon Lance Thompson’s retirement on March 31st.

Pictured Above: Greg Bender and Lance in 2018.

Lance commented, “Greg has been an outstanding member of our management team. He models the kind of attitude and leadership abilities that have garnered him respect and admiration among our entire team and throughout the community.”

Lance handing over the keys to Greg Bender!

Until Next Time | We are so very proud to be your Teammate, Lance. We will miss you but are excited for this next chapter in your life. We wish you and your family the very best. Always know that we will forever be your family. 

Lance and his family at the 2020 4th of July Golf Car Parade.

Lance, Marjorie, and Savannah at Lance's Retirement Ceremony in 2021.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Some Bunny Loves You | Happy Easter From Ocean Lakes

Get egg-cited, Ocean Lakes – Easter is quickly approaching! Yes, it is almost April; we carrot believe it, either! We just love Easter so much; it is not even bunny!

We have lots planned for our Ocean Lakes families this season - Follow along for all the family-friendly Easter activities | 

Easter Scavenger Hunt Via The App | Be sure to download our new branded App to join all the fun! When guests complete each step, they will show our Recreation Team their badge, then our Recreation Team will award a sweet prize.

Virtual Egg Hunt Via The App | Be sure to download our new branded App to join all the fun! When guests complete each step, they will show our Recreation Team their badge, then our Recreation Team will award a sweet prize.

Easter Bonnet Contest – April 2nd @ 3 PM | Have your family create their own Easter Bonnet. Bring your finished Easter Bonnet to the Recreation Office between 3 PM and 8 PM on Friday, April 2nd. Ocean Lakes’ guests will vote for their favorite Easter Bonnet during the Easter Bunny Lunch on Saturday morning. Winners will be announced and posted on Saturday night. No fee. 

Easter Bunny Pictures & Lunch To-Go – April 3rd @ 10 AM | Come get your picture taken with the Easter Bunny in the Recreation Center! We will provide a to-go lunch for ages 11 and under ONLY. Do not forget your camera to snap a picture with the Easter Bunny on stage. There will be fun activities, including Candy Guess, voting for your Favorite Easter Bonnet, and Easter Photo Booth for the family. No fee.

Easter Family Field Day – April 3rd @ 2 PM | Nobody is too hip to hop on Easter! Bring the whole family out to the grassy field behind the Nature Center and join us for some field day fun. We will set up multiple games for your family to enjoy. Be sure to wear clothes you can easily move around in! Prizes to the top winning families. No fee.

Sunrise Worship Service – April 4th @ 7 AM | Meet us at the Three Crosses on the beachfront to worship as the sun rises. In the event of bad weather, service will be moved to the Recreation Center. Although the Sunrise Service is outside, we ask guests to take appropriate measures to social distance, and if that is not possible, please wear a face mask. Side Note: Our Maundy Service was cancelled this year. 

Worship Service – April 4th @ 9 AM | Join us for our non-denominational Worship Service in the Recreation Center. No fee. We ask guests to take appropriate measures to social distance, and we strongly encourage guests to wear a face mask. 

Bible Study – April 4th @ 10:15 AM | Join Reverend Lawton for a general non-denominational Bible Study. You are welcome to discuss topics or just observe. Meet in the Recreation Center in Meeting Room A. No fee. We ask guests to take appropriate measures to social distance, and we strongly encourage guests to wear a face mask.

Easter Egg Obstacle Course – April 4th @ 2 PM | Drop by anytime between 2 PM and 3:30 PM to enjoy the Ocean Lakes Easter Egg Obstacle Course. The Easter Egg Obstacle Course will be held in the grassy area behind the Nature Center, next to the lake. Do not forget your Easter Basket and a camera to capture all the fun! The Easter Bunny will be there cheering on all participants. Please Note: Each participant may only go through the course once. No fee.

But Wait, There Is More | Of course we have more fun activities planned! Visit our website to view the Activities Calendar for the full calendar of festivities. 

Have Fun AND Stay Safe | If any guest has concerns about their well-being or that of their family members, we recommend abstaining from using our amenities or participating in our activities. We truly want every guest to have a positive and enjoyable experience at Ocean Lakes. Ultimately, we want everyone to exhibit caution and consideration.

Until Next Time | We wish you all a basket full of egg-citement this season! Have a safe and blessed Easter, Ocean Lakes! We hope to see you all hopping by real soon. 

Friday, March 19, 2021

Hello Summer, Hello Sandy Harbor Water Park

Hello, sweet summertime! Grab the sunblock and your bathing suit - The opening of Sandy Harbor Water Park is quickly approaching! We continue to receive many questions regarding the water park's hours of operation for the 2021 season. 

Let's dive on in and talk about Sandy Harbor | 

Water Park | Sandy Harbor Water Park, which debuted Memorial Day Weekend in 2016, is 3-acres and boasts a 705-foot Adventure (Lazy) River, Drop Zone, The Tube, Splash Zone, as well as other cool features.

Our Game Plan | We intend to have Sandy Harbor Water Park fully operational Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day. During May, September, and October, we will scale back to more of an “hours as posted” operation. That may include shutting off the slides on the Drop Zone, The Tube, and Splash Zone during the week while leaving the other parts of Sandy Harbor open for guests.

Treating Guests | While most water parks along the Grand Strand shut down after Labor Day, we have worked hard to treat our guests by extending the season as long as we can. Sandy Harbor Water Park is a beautiful amenity at Ocean Lakes, and we want our guests to experience the fun and enjoy their stay with us.

Factors | Many factors influence whether the water park can stay open as we head into Fall, and weather is just one of those reasons.

Finding certified lifeguards is another reason why water parks typically close at Labor Day. Most of the lifeguards who work all summer are high school and college students who head back to class as the traditional summer season wraps up.   

That makes finding certified lifeguards a challenge after Labor Day. Because of the caliber of our slides and other water park features, we are required by the state to have a specific number of certified lifeguards working for the water park to open. We simply are not going to operate the water park without the certified lifeguards. With those lifeguards in short supply after Labor Day, that creates a challenge.

Safety First | Safety is our top priority. We love to see our guests so excited about this amenity and want everyone to have the chance to experience it in a safe environment.
Our team has worked hard to recruit, train, and schedule certified lifeguards to keep the water park open beyond Labor Day, and we have been successful in extending that season well into September.

Sandy Harbor Water Park Hours for 2021 | 

In-Season Hours: Memorial Day – Labor Day (Lifeguard on Duty)
Monday – Saturday: 9 AM – 10 PM
Sunday: 10 AM – 10 PM
Adult Swim Only Daily: 5 PM – 6 PM

Off-Season Hours: Labor Day – Spring
Monday – Saturday: 9 AM – 9 PM
Sunday: 10 AM – 9 PM

Side Note | See Sandy Harbor Water Park hours below. Outdoor Pools close for swimming in the fall. The Indoor Pool is open all year!

Easter Weekend | Sandy Harbor Water Park will be open for Easter Weekend, which is Friday, April 2nd through Sunday, April 4th. Then it will shut down until May 1st. 

May* | Starting May 1st, Sandy Harbor Water Park will be open on the weekends only with “hours as posted” until Memorial Day Weekend. Opening the Water Park may include shutting off the slides on the Drop Zone, The Tube, and Splash Zone while leaving the other parts of Sandy Harbor Water Park (the Adventure River and Splash Zone structure) open for guests.

Summer | Our water park will open full time Memorial Day Weekend and continue through Labor Day.

Fall* | Our water park will stay open under “hours as posted” through September 1st – 30th. Opening the Water Park may include shutting off the slides on the Drop Zone, The Tube, and Splash Zone while leaving the other parts of Sandy Harbor Water Park (the Adventure River and Splash Zone structure) open for guests.

Hours As Posted | 

September 5th – 30th (Weekdays): 
Open Monday – Friday, 10 AM – 6 PM – Adventure River, Splash Zone (all slides will be closed including The Tube, Drop Zone Mat Racer, and on Splash Zone for kids).

September 5th – 30th (Weekends):
Open Saturday – Sunday, 10 AM – 6 PM – Adventure River, Splash Zone, Drop Zone Mat Racer, and The Tube.

Open Every day, 10 AM – 9 PM – Indoor/Older Outdoor Pools (Not Adventure River or Splash Zone) 

Hours Note * | Please understand, Sandy Harbor Water Park defines all the water park elements, not just the slides. We appreciate everyone’s patience as our team works hard to provide this amenity for your enjoyment.

Taking Precaution | According to the CDC, the virus that causes COVID-19 cannot be spread to people through the water in pools, hot tubs, spas, or water play areas. However, the opportunity for transmitting the virus does exist in surrounding areas. Our Team will work to sanitize surfaces daily. We are asking guests to leave the floats in the Adventure River as the pool water serves as a sanitizer.

What Is Best For YOU | If any guest has concerns about their well-being or that of their family members, we recommend abstaining from using our amenities. We truly want every guest to have a positive and enjoyable experience at Ocean Lakes, ultimately, we want everyone to exhibit caution and consideration.

Stay In The Know | For all things Sandy Harbor Water Park, head over to our website.
Until Next Time | Be sure to make a splash in Sandy Harbor this year – See you all real soon!