Monday, December 12, 2022

Grab Your Hard Hat and Follow Along | An Ocean Lakes Maintenance Update

It is the most wonderful time of the year for many reasons! Christmas, family-time, holiday cheer, and of course… our Maintenance Projects. 

Each winter, the Ocean Lakes Team kicks into high gear to complete necessary upgrades in the campground, as well as new and exciting projects. This year has been no different – Our team has been excitedly working to make upgrades and prepare for another year of making wonderful memories.

Follow Along for the Latest Maintenance Projects | 

H Bathhouse Addition | The 2-unit ADA family restroom addition is complete, and we are now working on the interior and the tile, as well as remodeling the existing bathhouse. Next, we will complete the exterior painting and hardy board siding. 

We are on track for the goal opening date of Easter Weekend. 

OL Dredging | We are currently in prep mode for this project; it is scheduled to start after the holidays. The purpose of this project is to remove the sediment and increase the capacity of the lake across from Camptown Center, Ocean Lakes. 

Paving the Way | Last week, our Maintenance Team prepped 15 campsites for a concrete pad to be poured on each one! 13 were new sites and 2 were sites that already had concrete pads but needed repairs.

These Campsites Include:

New Storage Transport Truck | We are starting to phase out some of our older transport trucks to increase reliability and maneuverability. The first of these trucks was delivered last week, and “it’s a beaut, Clark” (where are all my Christmas Vacation fans?!)! 

Let There Be Light ‘Underground’ | Santee Cooper is working on an electrical service upgrade in the campground. They are placing the lines underground along Periwinkle Drive. This will decrease the loss of power during heavy storms, as well as enhance the aesthetic. 

Fresh Coat of Paint | If you notice the exterior of the Ocean Lakes RV Center sparkling and looking fresher than ever, that is because they received a fresh coat of paint last week. 

Side Note: Be sure to stop by for all your holiday shopping needs. They have Maui Jim Sunglasses, Yeti products, and more!

 Line Painting | We are repainting all of the yellow lines along the campsites. As a reminder, these yellow lines are where campers should place their trash to expedite the daily trash pick-up. 

Let’s Talk Golf Car Parking | Our team has been brainstorming how to address the golf car parking issues during the summer season, and we have a plan:

Beachfront Golf Car Parking | We have added 80 golf car parking spots along the beachfront (Beach Accesses L, M, N, and P), located between the Sailboat Access and the Corn Toss Boards. Yes, you read that right… 80!  

While making repairs after Hurricane Ian, we took advantage of the situation and reconfigured the parking area. This allowed us to expand the golf car parking area.

Jackson House Golf Car Parking | We are implementing the space by Sandy Harbor Water Park, between the Adventure River’s fence and our founders’ homestead, as additional golf car parking during the peak summer season. 

Fun Fact: Some of our longtime guests would know this area as the old “Chapel Area.” Before the Recreation Center, guests would sit in their golf cars at the Chapel Area every Sunday to worship and hear the word of God. 
This parking area will be seasonal. A new entry gate will be added to the south fence adjacent to the Adventure River so that guests can easily access Sandy Harbor Water Park. Guests will access the seasonal parking with the route they use to go to the Nature Center and Lakeside Paws N’ Play. Measures will be implemented to help protect the Jackson home from guest traffic. 

Currently, the gravel lot part is complete. Next, we will be striping the golf car parking to designate traffic flow. 

Periwinkle Drive Golf Car Parking | Periwinkle Drive is challenging when the golf cars are parked 2 and 3 deep around Sandy Harbor. This parking overload causes traffic issues, safety concerns, and stress. 

We understand it is not convenient for some guests to ditch their golf car and utilize their bike or simply walk to Sandy Harbor, but we encourage those who can. We are adding concrete pads at select campsites along Periwinkle Drive to accommodate some additional parking. 

Those Campsites Include:

Until Next Time | We hope you love the new upgrades in the campground as much as we do. As always with us, there is more to come, so stay tuned – We cannot wait to fill you in! 

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Spreading Holiday Cheer | Holiday Themed Activities

This time of year is always such a magical and cheerful time of year, and we LOVE it! We have added even more activities to the Activities Calendar (and even more decorations throughout the campground) for the week of Thanksgiving to enhance the overall guest experience. 

The holiday-themed activities (Thanksgiving and Christmas) begin on Monday and run through the weekend. We filled you in on all the tasty food and sweets this week, now we are bringing you all the family fun!

Below are each of the activities along with all of the necessary details. Please take note of the section labels, “Thanksgiving Activities” and “Christmas Activities.”  

Thanksgiving Activities

Holiday Wreath Workshop – November 21st @ 4 PM | 
We have added an exciting new workshop hosted by Rock N Roots Plant Co. This class is open to all guests and will provide necessary materials to teach and walk you through making your very own holiday wreath. 

Cost is $54, and you will pay the instructor upon arrival at class. Class runs from 4 PM – 5 PM. Please sign up by emailing or by using the QR codes provided on the flyers at the Recreation Office. 

Turkey Bingo – November 21st @ 7 PM |
We will play 10 games of bingo, and the Grand Prize will be a turkey! 1 card per person. Held in the Recreation Center. No Fee.

Thanksgiving Mason Jar Make & Take – November 22nd 2 PM – 4 PM | 
Join us in the Recreation Center, Room C, to make your very own Thanksgiving Mason Jar. We will provide all the materials necessary to paint and decorate your very own unique jar. You can use your imagination to create something or follow the examples we provide. 

Please be sure to arrive to class on time. No new painters will be accepted into class after 3 PM. All painters will have until 4 PM to finish their jars. 
Pay the instructor $5 per jar upon arrival to class. Recommended for ages 8 and up.

Thanksgiving Bingo – November 23rd @ 7 PM |
We will play 10 games of bingo, and all prizes will be items that will help with your Thanksgiving Feast! 1 card per person. Held in the Recreation Center. No Fee.

Gingerbread House Contest – November 24th 9 AM – 8 PM (All houses need to be submitted by 8 PM) |  
Starting Thursday morning at 9 AM, drop off your hand-crafted, one-of-a-kind Gingerbread Houses. All houses must arrive no later than 8 PM on Thursday night. You have 2 options. You can make your house at home and bring it in or if you have little space, you can use Recreation Side Room A to create your house. 

The Recreation Team does not provide any materials. You must bring all the materials to make your house with you! Winners will be announced on Saturday at 6 PM. 

Voting: Technology is needed for voting. Voting will be done using the Ocean Lakes App – Click “Vote” to enter your favorites.

We encourage all to come join us in the Recreation Center to vote for your favorite Gingerbread Houses. Voting will be held Friday at 9 AM until Saturday at 5 PM. 

Starfish Strut Walk/Run 5K – November 25th @ 9 AM | 
Bring your family out for this new Ocean Lakes tradition! We welcome you to come and sign up in the Recreation Office anytime starting on Wednesday, November 23rd. We will provide you with a packet that includes instructions. You can walk/run the path anytime on Thanksgiving Day before 8 PM to win a prize. 

Please Note: You will need a way to track your walk/run via a smart watch or a walking app. You will then need to show the Recreation Office your results to receive your prize. No Fee. 

Pie Bingo – November 25th @ 3 PM |
We will play 10 games of bingo, and 10 lucky winners will receive a pie as a prize. 1 card per person. Held in the Recreation Center. No Fee.

Christmas Activities

Ugly Sweater Contest – November 25th @ 9 AM until November 26th @ 4 PM | 
Who thinks they have the ugliest sweater just laying around? Well then, this is the competition for you! New this year is our Ugly Sweater Competition. To enter, go to our photo area in the Recreation Center to take a picture of your sweater. You will then upload that picture via the Ocean Lakes App. 

You can enter the competition and win in the following categories: Best Crafted Sweater, Craziest Sweater, Most Creative Sweater, Most Embellished Sweater, Funniest Sweater, and Best Overall Ugliest Sweater. Winners will be announced Saturday evening. No Fee.

Christmas Mason Jar Make & Take – November 25th 2 PM – 4 PM | 
Join us in the Recreation Center, Room C, to make your very own Christmas Mason Jar. We will provide all the materials necessary to paint and decorate your very own unique jar. You can use your imagination to create something or follow the examples we provide for you. 

Please be sure to arrive to class on time. No new painters will be accepted into class after 3 PM. All painters will have until 4 PM to finish their jars. You will pay the instructor $5 per jar upon arrival to class. Recommended for Ages 8 and up.

Christmas Music Bingo & Stupid Trivia – November 25th @ 6 PM | 
Join us in the Recreation Center for this fun, musical twist on the original bingo game we typically play! Snippets of songs in different categories will be played, and you will have to match up the song played with the song’s title on your bingo card. We will give a few hints along the way. In between rounds of music bingo, we will play 3 rounds of stupid trivia. 10 wacky, crazy questions in each round. NO cheating! No fee. 

Christmas Lights and Sites – November 25th until November 26th @ 8 PM | We could all use a little more holiday cheer!

Site Contestants: We encourage all to decorate your beautiful houses/campsites and spread that extra holiday cheer! We are creating a list of participating sites that will “Deck the Halls” this holiday season. Please stop by the Recreation Center to sign up before 8 PM on Thanksgiving Day to get your site on the list. The top 3 favorite sites will win a prize! Winners will be announced Saturday Evening. No fee. 

Site Judging: A list of participating sites will be available Friday, November 25th at noon in the Recreation Office. When it gets dark, you can take the “Lights & Sites” tour and choose your 3 favorite Christmas Sites. 

Vote virtually using the Ocean Lakes App – Click “Vote” to enter your top 3 choices. All votes need to be in by 7 PM on November 26th to be counted. 

Tree Trimming Event – November 26th 10 AM – 12 PM | 
Bring your holiday spirit to the Recreation Center on Saturday morning to help decorate the big Ocean Lakes Christmas Tree for Santa’s arrival later in the afternoon. All decorations used to trim the tree have been provided by our wonderful guests throughout the years. We encourage you to bring your own special ornament to add to our collection. 

We will be adding a new tree to our collection this year. This will be called the “Memory Tree” and will be pictures of yourself and your kids from past years sitting on Santa’s lap. During the event, beverages and small snacks will be provided. No fee. 

Santa Clause is Visiting Ocean Lakes – November 26th 2 PM – 5 PM |
Ocean Lakes welcomes Santa Clause & Mrs. Clause on Saturday, November 26th from 2 PM to 5 PM. Stop by the Recreation Center to take your pictures with the big man himself! We have so much fun planned for you and your family – There will be a Christmas Photo booth, Gingerbread House Voting, Candy Guess Jars, Festival Games, Gift Goodie bags, Face Painting (sign up begins at 2 PM, first come first serve) and an Ornament Making Class ($5 per ornament). 

Please arrive before 4 PM to see Santa as the line can get quite long. We do not want you to miss out on your chance to talk to Santa before he heads back to the North Pole. We encourage each child to write their own personal letter to Santa that he can read later. Letters will be provided for each child to fill out. We encourage parents to print off and have their little one’s finish letters ahead of time. 

There will be a special Mailbox located in the Recreation Center to drop off your child’s letter to Santa. Make sure to do this, as we will deliver each note directly to Santa himself. Who knows, he may just write back! No fee.

Just For Fun | There are two Christmas-themed virtual activities through the Ocean Lakes App:

Reindeer Run - Can you find all 9 Reindeer?

Santa Search Scavenger Hunt - Can you find and decode all 10 clues?

Until Next Time | So much FUN packed into just one week – How exciting! And remember to keep your eyes open for our Elf, Flip Flop, we hear he will be making his grand arrival this week!

From all of us at Ocean Lakes, we hope you all have a blessed and joyous holiday season!

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Pack Your Stretchy Pants | An Ocean Lakes Foodies Blog

Believe it or not, Thanksgiving is next week! This year is flying by! However, during this time of year, we like to slow down a little to reflect, appreciate what we have, and eat lots of tasty food with family and friends. 

Last month, we introduced a new dining experience for our guests with the Dinner Specials at Sandy Harbor Café. You all LOVED them, so we are bringing them back for the week of Thanksgiving!

Somethin’ Sweet by the Sea | Start your mornings off right with a coffee and pastry from Sandy’s Coffee & Creamery! Caffeine, sugar, and a beautiful view – What more could you ask for to kickstart your days during the holiday season?!

Below is a List of our New and Seasonal Offerings | 

S'mores Frappe or Coffee (hot or iced) 

Cost: $5.50 (frappe)
Cost: $3.30 (large, hot)
Cost: $2.65 (small, hot)
Cost: $3.95 (iced)

Peppermint Bark (flavor)
Pumpkin Spice (flavor)

Espresso Shot - NEW
Cost: $0.70 

Latte - NEW
$4.65 (large)
Cost: $3.65 (small)

Macchiato – NEW 
$5.25 (large)
Cost: $4.25 (small)

Cappuccino – NEW
$4.65 (large)
Cost: $3.65 (small)

Americano – NEW 
$4 (large)
Cost: $3 (small)

Chocolate Croissant – NEW

Sandy Harbor Café Menu | Each night during the week of Thanksgiving (Monday – Friday), Sandy Harbor Café will be serving up dinner specials, including a special Thanksgiving meal! 

Come hungry because you do not want to miss these tasty meals. 

Please Note: Sandy Harbor Cafe is located between Sandy Harbor Water Park and Sandy Harbor Game Center. Walk inside the front entrance of Sandy Harbor Game Center and Sandy Harbor Cafe will be on your right. 

Dinners and Pricing Below | 

November 21:
Shrimp & Grits with Corn Succotash 
$14 (includes tax)
Time: 4 PM – 8 PM 

November 22: Pulled Pork with Mac & Cheese, Slaw, and Slider Buns
Cost: $14 (includes tax)
Time: 4 PM – 8 PM 

November 23: Street Tacos (Chicken or Steak) with Refried Beans and White Rice
Cost: $14 (includes tax)
Time: 4 PM – 8 PM 

November 24 (Thanksgiving Day Meal): Turkey, Stuffing, Sweet Potato Casserole, Cranberry Sauce, Dinner Roll, and 24 OZ Drink
Cost: $17 (includes tax)
Time: 12 PM – 8 PM 

Thanksgiving Family Meal (feeds 5): $80
Thanksgiving Sides – Single / Side for 5:

Turkey: $4 / $19
Green Bean Casserole: $3 / $14
Cranberry Sauce: $1.50 / $6.50
Mashed Potatoes: $2 / $9
Corn Pudding: $4 / $19
Sweet Potato Casserole: $4 / $19
Mac N Cheese: $4 / $19
Stuffing: $4 / $19
Dinner Roll: $5 / $9

Pie – Slice / Whole: 
Pecan: $3 / $14
Pumpkin: $3 / $10

November 25: Crispy Fried Chicken with Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans 
Cost: $14 (includes tax)
Time: 4 PM – 8 PM 

Thanksgiving Meal RSVP | We want to be prepared and have your hot and tasty Thanksgiving meal ready for you, which means we are asking you to RSVP by November 21st.  

It is very simple (I promise)! Here is what you need to do:

Step 2: Click on each item (the words) that you want to purchase. As you click on the item, it will be added to the cart and the cart will appear in the lower right. 

Step 3: Once you complete ordering, click on the cart, review your items, then click Checkout. 

Step 4: In the first box, type in whether you will be dining-in or picking-up. Then in the last box, type in what time you will be arriving to dine-in or pick-up. Click Continue. 

Step 5: Type in your First Name, Last Name, Phone Number, and Email. Click Continue.

Step 6: Enter in your payment information. Click Submit.

Step 7: You will receive an email confirmation. 

Step 8: On Thanksgiving Day, arrive at Sandy Harbor Café at the time you requested when placing your order. 

Please Note | You ONLY need to RSVP for the Thanksgiving meal. And while it will be extremely helpful and beneficial for everyone involved if you all RSVP, walk-ins will be accepted while meals last.  

Until Next Time | With so many tasty food options, no need to stress what food you are packing or shopping for upon arrival. We have your breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even dessert covered (as always)!

We look forward to spending another holiday season with each of you. From our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Coastal Dunes | The Rebuild and Safety Concerns

On September 30th, Hurricane Ian made landfall in South Carolina as a Category 1 storm. While making its way through our area, Hurricane Ian destroyed several sections of our precious dunes. 

Some may think we are exaggerating when we say “precious sand dunes;” however, they are extremely valuable to coastal regions. Let’s take a moment to learn about the sand dunes and discuss the safety risks, as well as the laws surrounding the dunes.

October 27th - The current state of the dunes.

Dunes’ Purpose | The sand dunes are the first line of defense when a storm impacts our area, protecting property from damage caused by high winds, storm surges, waves, and tides. 

September 30th - During IAN.

Not only are they essential during storms, but sand dunes are very helpful during erosional times. When this sand reserve is unavailable, ocean waves often rush upland, taking high ground instead.

Vegetation | One of the most effective and aesthetically pleasing ways to build and stabilize a sand dune is to cover it with vegetation. The foliage helps increase the size of the dune by trapping windblown sand. Plant roots contribute as they bind sand particles to the dune.

Three types of grasses are best suited to flourish on the beaches of South Carolina: American Beachgrass, Sea Oats, and Bitter Panicum. Walking or climbing on the dunes damages the growing vegetation that is critical to preserving the sand dunes.

Fencing | The fencing surrounding the sand dunes serves more than as a signal to stay off. The function of sand fencing is to speed the accumulation of sand in the location chosen for dune reconstruction. Proper fencing will slow the wind allowing windblown sand grains to drop and collect around the fence.

Protecting The Dunes | According to the National Wildlife Federation, the top five tactics in protecting the sand dunes include: 

1. Limiting Human Disturbance
2. Employ Sand Fencing
3. Increase Education
4. Plant New Vegetation
5. Practice Renourishment

Building From The Ground Up | Various key members of our management team have been in communication with county officials on the damage and the rebuild process, including our Operations Manager, Kevin McWhirter:
“We are closely working with the Horry County officials and the associated contractors to reestablish a healthy dune along Seaside Drive.”
October 1st - We began rebuilding the dunes the morning after IAN.

October 27th - The current state of the dunes.

Unfortunately, we have witnessed many guests climbing, playing, and even sunbathing on the sand dunes. Horry County is working to replace all "Please, Keep Off Dunes" signage that was destroyed by IAN. 

Safety Concerns | Everyone should avoid walking, sitting, or climbing on the dunes. The sand dunes are very fragile, especially right now, because they are made of fresh sand. Vegetation has not grown on them, which creates a root system to strengthen them and help the sand stay in place.

The sand dunes are not stable. Not only do we want individuals to stay off of the dunes so we can rebuild, but because it is not safe for individuals to be on them. Climbing on dunes causes the sand to slide and move creating or exposing soft spots, which can be dangerous. There may be sharp debris under the surface. This is not to cause worry or panic, but to make you all aware and cautious. 

Against The Law | Walking on the dunes or storing items on them is against the law in Horry County. There are federal laws, as well. Those who break this law could be fined up to $500 or even be arrested. It is also illegal to cut, break, or otherwise destroy sea oat plants, beach grass, or sand fencing.

Until Next Time | The purpose of this blog is to help educate our Guests and Annual Leaseholders on the purpose of the sand dunes, the safety concerns, the laws, and to help spread the word to everyone to STAY OFF of the sand dunes. 

They serve a significant purpose in coastal areas and with your help, we can protect them and allow them to grow and flourish.