Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from an article authored by Jeff Crider for Woodall’s Campground Management examining the growing “green” initiative in the camping industry as operators utilize products and strategies that conserve energy. To read the entire story click here.
Ocean Lakes Family Campground has made headlines over the years for its investments in solar energy and recycling and promotion of electric vehicles.
Last summer, the 893-site, Myrtle Beach, S.C., park opened the first electric vehicle charging station on the Carolina coast, while also recruiting its guests to recycle more than 330,000 pounds of solid waste.
But as the nation celebrates Earth Day in April, Ocean Lakes is turning its attention to an admittedly less glamorous but equally important green initiative: the installation of locking, spring-activated sewer caps.
Turns out, Ocean Lakes, like many other low-lying campgrounds, RV parks and resorts along the East Coast, is vulnerable to heavy downpours, including tropical storms and hurricanes. But by installing watertight sewer caps at each campsite, Ocean Lakes not only can prevent floodwaters from entering its sewer system, but also, more importantly, prevent sewage from rising up through the pipelines and contaminating park grounds.
“This new system guards against sewer backups and infrastructure failures from storm surges,” said Kevin McWhiter, Ocean Lakes’ manager of maintenance and facilities, adding that the caps can also help control sewage processing costs.
Locking sewer caps are the latest in a growing variety of environmentally friendly products that campgrounds, RV parks and resorts are purchasing to reduce their water and sewer consumption, while reducing potential sources of contamination.
Chicago-based RV Home & Marine Solutions has made growing sales of an environmentally friendly holding tank product called Nature-Zyme, which not only destroys odors and liquefies waste, but nourishes and rejuvenates the biological processes used in septic systems. In some cases, park operators are finding that ongoing use of Nature-Zyme can actually extend the life of their septic fields.
“What’s really encouraging for us is that our campground customers are recognizing that our holding tank product provides a greater advantage to them in the preventative maintenance of their septic systems,” said Dave Kozy, vice president and director of operations for RV Home & Marine Solutions. “In fact, continued use of Nature-Zyme can actually help remediate septic systems by moving our enzyme products into the field where they are doing their best work.”
Summertime is a busy time for Ocean Lakes Family Campground in Myrtle Beach, S.C., and the facility is encouraging guests to go green with its iCare program. According to a report by SCNow.com, the campground is expanding its program with the latest environmentally-friendly technology.
“We’re basically kind of setting the tone for the camping industry,” says Kevin McWhirter, maintenance and facilities manager at Ocean Lakes.
Ocean Lakes is the first place in the Coastal Carolinas to have an electric vehicle charging station.
“For the folks that come in from the outside that want to charge their car on their way down south or up north and for our camping guests they might have an EV car attached to their motor home. They can come up here and charge their car for four hours,” says McWhirter.
The most popular mode of transportation on the campground is golf carts. Only electric golf carts are allowed on the campground.
“We have about five or six thousand golf cars on property, that’s 5,000 or 6,000 less vehicles driving around,” says Ocean Lakes Marketing Director Barb Krumm.
One of the newer components of the iCare program is solar panels. Ocean Lakes is testing out the energy efficiency at the main bath house.
“It’s instant hot, so there’s no waiting for the water to heat up. The guests are real happy when they’re not waiting for that hot shower,” says Krumm.
The campground is also composting. They’re making compost from things like old landscaping scraps, fruits and vegetables and a making a fertilizer. Soon they’ll use to fertilize flower beds all across the campground and will encourage guests to learn how to compost.
“We keep testing new ways that we can be good stewards to the environment,” says Krumm.
Recycling is a huge part of the iCare program. Since the program started in June 2009, they’ve recycled over 250,000 pounds of recyclables. During the summer, that’s about 2,000 pounds a week. Going green is something Ocean Lakes hopes their guests will take with them, even after their stay.
“Hopefully we’re just planting some seeds. They seem to really be encouraging it,” says Krumm.
In 1970 Mary Emily and Nelson Jackson started Ocean Lakes Family Campground in Myrtle Beach, S.C., with just 30 campsites and one bathhouse.
How times have changed on The Grand Strand, as Ocean Lakes, with 3,449 sites, is now the largest campground on the East Coast and one of the nation’s largest.
But it was for more than size that Ocean Lakes — which begins its year-long 40th anniversary celebration this coming weekend — was awarded the National RV Park of the Year four years in a row by the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC).
It’s because Ocean Lakes, rated “A” by GuestReviews in overall customer satisfaction, is just plain good at what it does. The 310-acre oceanfront park specializes in making fun family memories with resort-style camping and the peace of mind that comes with 24-hour gated security and patrols.
At Ocean Lakes, we’re told, adults relax while kids have plenty to do. The park offers an outdoor Olympic-size pool and three kiddie pools, a heated indoor pool inside the Four Seasons Center, a Sandy Harbor Family Fun Center, an 18-hole miniature golf course, a 17,000-square-foot rec center, playgrounds, bike rentals, a skate park and more.
The Ocean Lakes experience includes pizza delivery to one’s site by golf car, a book exchange library, RV supply store, a Laundromat with drop-off laundry service, and free Wi-Fi at Sandy’s Meet and Eat for up to eight guests at a time. The Great Rally facility can accommodate 1,000 or more guests.
Boasting nearly one mile of beachfront along the Atlantic Ocean, beach lifeguards are on duty to oversee water safety as well as beach equipment rentals.
Ocean Lakes in Social Media
Keeping up with customer demands is at the heart of the campground and in 2010 that meant a high level of customer service through cutting-edge technology, park upgrades and green efforts. “Customer communications is key,” said Barb Krumm, marketing director. “Social media really works for us here. It is exciting because it is always changing.”
Ocean Lakes in April 2010 celebrated its first anniversary on Facebook, and the campground is embracing Twitter, which is great for media, according to Krumm. Ocean Lakes utilizes social media to help answer questions and address issues, holds online ticket sales for special events, and is adding more video tours and photos to its websites.
The park, in turn, has been honored with various awards for its green efforts, which continue to grow. “We want to be good stewards of the environment,” Krumm said. “Awareness comes first by educating guests. We give them opportunities to act, like cleaning up after their pet.”
Ocean Lakes is the first resort in the Myrtle Beach area to dedicate a truck (shown below) and manpower to collect and haul its own recyclables to the Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) in Horry County as part of the campground’s commitment to becoming more “green friendly,” an initiative which kicked off last summer with Ocean Lakes’ iCare Program, encouraging guest responsibility and education. The program focuses on pet pollution, litter impact, recycling and finding new ways to operate more efficiently.
“Our ultimate goal is to reach 30% of our solid waste recycled,” Krumm said. “We want to surpass that. One of the ways we feel we can encourage guests to recycle is to continue to build awareness.”
The park plans to continue to invest in capital improvements including a new seven-foot tall Sandy Starfish, Ocean Lakes’ mascot.
“We also plan to work our campground culture into new events like our Golf Car Rodeo and Golf Car Challenge,” Krumm said.
Dog-friendliness is a large part of why many people choose to camp at Ocean Lakes, where the needs of pets are considered and pet fun is a way of life. The campground hosts pet-related events throughout the year. “We provide pet welcome kits that are free and contain two Mutt Mitts and information about our iCare program that educates guests on the importance of picking up after their pets,” Krumm said. “Included is a map marking the location of all our ‘Doggie Doo’ stations.”
The kits are distributed at Ocean Lakes’ main check-in, rental office, sales office, golf cart building and recreation center. When guests enter one of these buildings, they encounter statues of dogs that hold dog biscuits.
The park contains lakeside walking areas marked on the park’s map as pet areas. This 310-acre facility includes 11 “Doggie Doo” locations that dispense Mutt Mitt bags.
Many Events Scheduled
Independence Day is the biggest occupancy time at Ocean Lakes and this past year the park held a Salute to the Troops. Plans are also in the works for a big 40th birthday celebration July 2. See below for this year’s anniversary celebration events.
Annual events at Ocean Lakes include the Premier Bluegrass Weekend, Beach n’ Boogie Weekend, South Carolina Fossil Fair, Field of Dreams Baseball Camp, Halloween Weekend and New Year’s Eve Polar Bear Plunge.
Ocean Lakes features 893 pull-through campsites along paved roads that include 20-30-50 amp electric, water, sewer, dial-up modem-friendly phone jacks (with free local calls), a picnic table, complimentary 70-channel cable TV hookup and daily curbside trash pickup at each site.
Concrete pads are available, one camping unit per site, pets are included in the rates, and there are no additional fees for additional people. Campsite reservations taken by site number can be made up to 18 months in advance. An outside company provides LP gas service and the park makes every effort to deliver same day service. Ocean Lakes also features a variety of more than 300 rental units with access to all amenities. Oceanfront houses are available for families up to 17 guests.
Anniversary Celebration Begins This Weekend
Meanwhile, Ocean Lakes Family Campground kicks off its year-long 40th birthday celebration with its 11th Annual Beach n’ Boogie Weekend Friday and Saturday (Feb. 18-19).
According to a news release, the weekend will feature beach music by The Fantastic Shakers, known as “South’s Finest Show Band” and the internationally acclaimed group, The Embers. Beach n’ Boogie will also include shag lessons provided by award-winning shagger Judy Duke, prizes and food. NASCAR K&N Pro Series Driver Brandon Haley will make a special appearance on the campground with his dirt track champion car and NASCAR K&N car.
“Beach n’ Boogie is an exciting event that everyone at Ocean Lakes – from guests to teammates – really looks forward to each year,” said Krumm. “It’s a great event for the entire family. We’re thrilled that The Fantastic Shakers, The Embers, Brandon Haley and Judy Duke are joining us, and there is a very special surprise guest. We have activities for kids from ages 4 to 11 so that parents can have even more fun.”
Schedule of Events (All will take place in the Recreation Building)
Friday, Feb. 18
- 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. — The Fantastic Shakers.
- 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. — Kids Activities: Something for the young ones while the concert is occurring, including games, crafts, etc. Children between the ages of 4 and 11 are welcome.
Saturday, Feb. 19
- 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. — Continental Breakfast (advance tickets only).
- 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. — Shag Lessons.
- 11:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. — Lunch with all the fixins’.
- 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. — The Embers (Special activities for kids between the ages of 4 and 11 during the concert).
Other highlights of the yearlong 40th birthday celebration at Ocean Lakes include the Birthday Cake Contest and Gala featuring $3,000 in grand prizes; random prize giveaways; a “Picture This! Calendar Photo Contest;” the unveiling of a new mascot costume to attend events; the 2nd Annual Facebook Fan Appreciation Weekend; and the dedication of a town clock.
Some of the other events at Ocean Lakes Family Campground for the year are the 2nd Annual Salute to the Troops on Independence Day, the 13th Annual Premier Bluegrass Weekend, Gospel Weekend, 7th Annual All Star Golf Car Show, Halloween Weekend and the South Carolina Fossil Fair.
Ocean Lakes Family Campground in Myrtle Beach, S.C., is celebrating its 40th birthday during 2011. The oceanfront campground is planning great events, contests, prizes and activities to commemorate its history, relationships and triumphs, according to a news release.
The yearlong celebration will center around Ocean Lakes’ loyal guests and teammates. Highlights include a cake gala and contest featuring $3,000 in grand prizes; random prize giveaways; a “Picture This! Calendar Photo Contest”; the unveiling of a new mascot costume to attend events; and the dedication of a town clock.
In addition, Ocean Lakes’ goal is to reach 40,000 fans on Facebook by its birthday on July 2, 2011; there are now more than 22,000 fans.
“Our founders have always said that we are in the ‘family business,’” said Barb Krumm, director of marketing and public relations at Ocean Lakes Family Campground. “Our goal has always been customer service and to create a place for family fun. In 2011, we are celebrating 40 years of creating family memories that last a lifetime.”
The East Coast’s largest campground will kick off its birthday celebration by hosting its 11th Annual Beach n’ Boogie Weekend Feb. 18 through Feb. 19. It will feature great beach music by The Fantastic Shakers and The Embers, shag lessons, prizes, food and fun for all ages.
Facebook fans from all over the country will gather at Ocean Lakes for its 2nd Annual Facebook Fan Appreciation Weekend April 1 through April 2. Last year, more than 100 fans participated in the fun-filled weekend. This event is fun for those who attend in person as well as those tuning in remotely on Facebook for photos, prizes, video and games.
On April 15, the campground will host its premier event of the season, the exclusive Cake Gala. To attend the gala, guests must win one of 400 elusive “Golden Tickets” online or in park. At the gala, Ocean Lakes’ guests and teammates will create cake masterpieces that embody the 40 years of great memories and fun at Ocean Lakes Family Campground. There are three categories in this contest and each grand prize winner will receive $1,000.
More than 30,000 guests will be in the park for Ocean Lakes’ official birthday on July 2. Plans include many prizes and birthday activities. The campground wants to recognize guests with the same birth date, and especially those who turn 40 on that day.
Other highlights throughout the year include the 2nd Annual Salute to the Troops on Independence Day, the 13th Annual Premier Bluegrass Weekend, Gospel Weekend, 7th Annual All Star Golf Car Show, Halloween Weekend and the South Carolina Fossil Fair.
“Our campground has a rich history of drawing families from all over the United States for a premier camping experience,” Krumm said. “Millions have vacationed at Ocean Lakes – many families for three and four generations. It’s an honor to be part of their families’ traditions. Plus, we have several teammates who have worked here for 20 to 30 years. Many of our guests and teammates know each other by name.”
Ocean Lakes Family Campground was built by Mary Emily and Nelson Jackson, along with their five daughters, in 1970. Although it is considered a “mega park” in the camping industry, it had humble beginnings; it opened on July 2, 1971, with 30 campsites and one bathhouse. It now features 893 campsites and more than 2,500 annual lease sites on 310 oceanfront acres with nearly one mile of beachfront, four bathhouses, and more than 400 teammates in the height of the camping season.
In 2006, Ocean Lakes received the prestigious South Carolina Governor’s Cup for making a significant economic impact on South Carolina. It has been named the National “RV Park of the Year” four times by the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC).
Mary Emily Platt Jackson, the co-founder of Ocean Lakes Family Campground in Myrtle Beach, S.C., with her husband, Nelson Jackson, died Saturday morning (Dec. 11) at home. She was 89, the Myrtle Beach Sun News reported.
Ocean Lakes Family Campground is the largest RV park on the East Coast and one of the nation’s largest campgrounds.
She married Nelson Jackson in 1942, and the two moved to Myrtle Beach from Conway, S.C., in 1970. Nelson Jackson died in February just shy of his 90th birthday.
The Jacksons started the campground, which was honored by the state with the Governor’s Cup as one of South Carolina’s top tourist attractions, in 1971.
Ocean Lakes Family Campground in Myrtle Beach, S.C., had a successful first Facebook Fan Appreciation Weekend this past weekend (April 16-18), as more than 145 campground Facebook fans gathered at the campground for an interactive weekend to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the campground’s launch on the social networking site, according to a news release.
Participants came from eight states – including New York, Georgia, Virginia, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Ohio – to take part in games and competitions that were viewable online through live streaming video on Livestream, and video posted on YouTube and Facebook.
The Facebook Fan Appreciation Weekend had a ripple effect, with Facebook posts, T-shirt giveaways and voter polls generating more than 450,000 Facebook impressions and the Ocean Lakes Fan page gaining more than 100 new fans during the weekend event. On Saturday, the campground launched a fan page for its recreation department, and in nine hours, it had more than 150 fans.
“Our first Facebook Fan Appreciation Weekend was a big success,” said Barb Krumm, director of marketing and public relations for Ocean Lakes Family Campground. “Our goals were met. We used social media to increase interaction with our fans as the event unfolded, and the fans used it to communicate their fun with family and friends.”
During the weekend, conversations were stimulated both online and offline.
“Our fans had a great time and their comments can be seen on our Facebook fan page,” she said. “The fans were watched by their family and friends back home and we streamed video online during the activities, shot and uploaded nearly 700 photos to our albums and made more than 40 HD videos.”
Families At Event Share Experiences With Those At Home
Ocean Lakes teammates received excellent feedback from appreciative fans during the event.
A couple from Augusta, Ga., said their 10 grandchildren back home began calling their friends and telling them to log onto the Internet to view the festivities. They were impressed with how much fun their grandparents were having at Ocean Lakes.
“We came just for this event,” said James Drew. “My children and grandchildren were communicating back and forth about what was going on and waiting to see us during the activities. We’re going to have to bring them next year.”
On Friday evening, dozens of the Facebook fans took part in social-media themed mixers, called “Social Meetyas.”
More than 60 Facebook fans took part in Saturday’s mini golf tournament, “Golf Car Challenge” and “Golf Car Rodeo.” These activities had special meaning to the campers because a major part of Ocean Lakes’ culture includes traveling through the campground on golf cars. There are more than 5,000 golf cars on the 310-acre oceanfront camping resort property.
On Saturday night, the Facebook fans gathered on the beachfront and had a weenie roast and shared in conversations that they started earlier in the day. The winners of the Golf Car Challenge were announced (using the results of a Facebook poll) and the Golf Car Rodeo champions received special trophies made by Ocean Lakes’ golf car mechanics.
“We actually added some activities ‘on the fly’ to increase interaction,” said Krumm. “Anyone who watched our Livestream channel Friday night witnessed this with the ‘Musical Chair Share.’ That wasn’t on the schedule, but it got participants warmed up. We were amazed at how much fun fans from age 2 to age 70 were having.”
Ocean Lakes did not originally intend on live-streaming the mini golf tournament on Saturday, but the fans started calling family members to tell them to tune in and watch.
“I was standing there with my laptop, just making sure our fans made it to the tournament OK, when a mom and her teenage sons stood in front of me with a cell phone and began trying to direct their family at home to the link to watch,” Krumm said. “I opened my laptop, found the Wi-Fi signal and opened Podcaster to start streaming. The mom asked her son from the tee box, ‘Did they find the link to watch me?’ It was really great to see.”
This was the first time Ocean Lakes used Livestream to stream scheduled activities online. At one point, there were 45 viewers watching the video stream. Friday and Saturday’s Livestream generated more than 120 viewer hours with average streaming clips one to four minutes. Ocean Lakes teammates say this is just the beginning of what a social media-based event can achieve.
Organizing The Event
Fans had to RSVP on Ocean Lakes’ Facebook fan page. Attendees who registered by April 12 received a specially-designed T-shirt to commemorate the campground’s first anniversary on Facebook. Fans who couldn’t attend in person participated on the fan page and were included in special drawings for fan prizes. Ocean Lakes teammates would post on the fan page that the campground would mail a T-shirt to the first fan who sent a comment that said, “I want the shirt.” The first giveaway on Friday resulted in 15 comments in four seconds.
“Fans had so much fun that they were asking us what the date is for next year’s Fan Appreciation Weekend,” Krumm said. “That pretty much establishes this as an annual event.”
Since joining Facebook in April 2009, Ocean Lakes Family Campground has gained more than 13,700 fans. It was verified as an authentic Facebook fan page in February after passing the 10,000-fan mark. On average, more than 3,500 people visit the campground’s Facebook fan page each week with daily posts generating around 20,000 daily impressions.
For more information about Ocean Lakes Family Campground, visit www.oceanlakes.com or become a fan on Facebook.
About Ocean Lakes Family Campground
Ocean Lakes Family Campground is the largest campground on the East Coast and one of the largest in the United States. It has received numerous awards for excellence. It is the 2008-2009 National “RV Park of the Year” and has received that honor from the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) four times. In 2006, Ocean Lakes received the prestigious South Carolina Governor’s Cup for making a significant economic impact on South Carolina. Ocean Lakes covers 310 oceanfront acres with nearly one mile of beachfront. It offers 3,447 sites — 893 of which are large and pull-through to accommodate larger RVs. It was built by Mary Emily and Nelson Jackson and their five daughters, starting in 1970. It opened with 30 campsites and one bathhouse in 1971. On an average seasonal day, Ocean Lakes has 25,000 – 30,000 guests enjoying the countless amenities that have made it a local favorite and a national vacation destination.
Ocean Lakes Family Campground in Myrtle Beach, S.C., is holding a Facebook Fan Appreciation Weekend today through Sunday (April 16-18).
Its Facebook fans will gather for a fun-filled weekend to commemorate its one-year anniversary on the social networking site. This event is the first to take place on a campground in the United States and one of very few events of its kind hosted by any business or group, according to a news release.
Ocean Lakes is the largest RV park on the East Coast and one of the largest in the U.S.
“There is a natural fit between campers and social media. Campers are very social people. They love to interact and form new friendships at campgrounds,” said Barb Krumm, director of marketing and public relations at Ocean Lakes Family Campground. “Facebook has proven to be the perfect platform for Ocean Lakes and our loyal guests.”
Ocean Lakes will stream live video of the event activities, post photos, take polls and encourage attendees to post and share on their Facebook fan page while fans at home will be able to view and vote on favorite videos and photos from the events. Attendees at Ocean Lakes’ Facebook Fan Appreciation Weekend will participate in social-media themed mixers, or “Social Meetyas,” and contests including a mini golf tournament.
A huge factor in Ocean Lakes’ culture is golf cars, with more than 5,000 on the 310-acre oceanfront camping resort property. Event coordinators are debuting some new contests like the “Ocean Lakes Golf Car Challenge” and the “Ocean Lakes Golf Car Rodeo.” Saturday night will wrap up with Facebook fans around a beachfront bonfire and weenie roast.
“The events have to be fun and entertaining,” said Krumm. “We are trying to hold an event for both our ‘in-person’ Facebook fans and our online fans — a kind of 3-D versus 2-D experience.”
Fans had to RSVP on Ocean Lakes’ Facebook fan page. Attendees who registered by April 10 received a specially designed T-shirt to commemorate the campground’s 1st anniversary on Facebook. Fans who can’t attend in person can participate on the fan page and will also be included in special drawings for fan prizes.
Since joining Facebook in April 2009, Ocean Lakes Family Campground has gained nearly 13,000 fans. It was verified as an authentic Facebook fan page in February after passing the 10,000-fan mark. On average, more than 3,500 people visit the campground’s Facebook fan page each week with daily posts generating around 20,000 impressions a day.
“We started asking our fans how they wanted to celebrate our one-year anniversary on Facebook, and many of them suggested that we have this type of event,” said Krumm. “We incorporated many of their ideas into the activities that we have planned for our Facebook Fan Appreciation Weekend, and there will be some special surprises for them along the way. We’re thrilled to host this event to show our appreciation to our Facebook fans and hope that this will be the first of many future Facebook weekend events to come.”
The event is a prime example of how a business is nusing Facebook to build loyalty for its brand, generate additional broad-based awareness of its business only and increase bookings through an annual targeted event connected to the web.
For more information about Ocean Lakes Family Campground, visit www.oceanlakes.com or become a fan on Facebook.
Dozens of owners and operators of private campgrounds in North Carolina and South Carolina are meeting at Lakewood Camping Resort in Myrtle Beach, S.C., to talk about the status of their industry and the latest trends, according to South Carolina Now.
They’re attending the annual Carolinas Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds Convention and Expo. The event started Sunday and concludes today.
“This industry is somewhat recession proof,“ said Barb Krumm campground marketing director at Ocean Lakes Family Campground, also in Myrtle Beach, “The campgrounds have not suffered as hoteliers may have suffered; we have only seen a slight reduction and in some cases an increase in business.“
Campers can expect to see changes like more concrete pathways, a lot of landscaping and even access to the latest technology like Wi-Fi connections.
“We manufacture park model cabins and cottages and we are here to meet the park owners and show them what are product is and how it an help them in their park,“ said Andy Davis with Pinnacle Park Homes. “This allows the campgrounds to reach out to families that may not have an RV and not sure of they want to get into the camping lifestyle or not but it allows them to go camping. We are always wanting to stay on the cutting edge and make sure we are where we need to be to satisfy the needs of the families and the young people”
Krumm said that Ocean Lakes will be going “green” this year, meaning campers can expect to use amenities such as solar-heated water bathhouses.
The campground is the first in the area to use this technology as a way to save electricity and minimize water waste.
Nelson Jackson, the owner and founder of the Ocean Lakes Family Campground in Myrtle Beach, S.C., and a local philanthropist, died Monday morning (Feb. 1), according to Myrtle Beach Sun News.
He would have been 90 years old this month.
Jackson and his family started the campground, which was honored by the state with the Governor’s Cup as one of South Carolina’s top tourist attractions, in 1971.
It quickly grew to more than 300 acres of campsites and amenities hosting various local celebrations, events and conventions. The campground is considered one of the largest campgrounds on the East Coast and has won multiple awards from the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC). It is one of the largest properties in The Jackson Companies portfolio, which includes the Prestwick Country Club and Sayebrook.
“Mr. Jackson was the consummate Southern gentleman, who always had a kind word and healthy dose of optimism for anyone he met,” said Brad Dean, president and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce. “He built a successful business empire by simply listening to his customers and treating his employees well. Mr. Jackson helped build Myrtle Beach into what we know it as today, and his contributions will continue to benefit our community for many, many years to come.”
Gary Loftus, director of Coastal Carolina University’s Center for Economic and Community Development, said this was the “passing of a giant.”
“He built the first campgrounds … and started a trend that continues to this day, and he had the vision to do that, which is remarkable in and of itself,” he said.
Loftus said Jackson was a determined man.
“He was convinced that he could do anything and he pretty much backed it up,” Loftus said. “He’d come up with ideas and the force of his will got it done.”
The Jackson family is also known locally for their philanthropy. Jackson’s five daughters gave money to Coastal Carolina University in 2004 to help establish the Jackson Family Center for Ethics and Values in honor of their parents, Nelson and Mary Emily Jackson. The center hosts public forums for discussions on ethical issues and offers an after-school ethics program for middle school children.
The employees of the Jackson Companies were feeling a tremendous loss Monday, said CEO Dennis Wade.
“We appreciate the outpouring of kindness and concern of so many that knew him,” he said. “We ask everyone for their understanding and respect for the Jackson family during their time of loss.”
Barb Krumm, who worked with Jackson for 12 years, described Jackson as a pioneer in the campgrounds industry.
“He thought big, he was very generous,” she said. “I was honored to really spend a lot of time with him.”
She described him as a hands-on man who was an excellent people person and was always on the move until the last few years when he slowed down as he approached 90.
“He’s a really generous person. Mr. and Mrs. Jackson really set an example about caring for other people and caring for your community. They were very generous people. They did a lot for charity, they do a lot.”
Jackson first opened the campground with 30 campsites and one bath house. It has grown to 3,447 sites and has about 450 employees in the peak season, 150 in the off-season.
Krumm described his marriage to Mary Emily Jackson as “unbelievably close,” with the two rarely going somewhere without the other.
“The charitable mindedness of Mr. and Mrs. Jackson was amazing,” she said. “They encouraged others do the same. They led by example.”
The couple was also awarded the Order of the Palmetto, the state’s highest civilian honor, for their contribution to the community in 2004. Rep. Alan Clemmons also asked in 2007, that the legislature honor the Jacksons for their community involvement and generosity by declaring June 2 “Mary Emily and Nelson Jackson Day.”
The public is invited to attend visitation between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Wednesday and a memorial service at 2 p.m. Thursday, both of which will be held at the Ocean Lakes’ Recreation Building at 6001 South Kings Highway in Myrtle Beach.
Ocean Lakes Family Campground, located along the Grand Strand of Myrtle Beach, S.C., has been voted the “Best RV/Camping Facility” by those who visit Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Myrtle Beach’s “Grand Strand” attracts more than 14 million visitors annually and those surveyed in this poll voiced a clear preference for Ocean Lakes over other campground options in the area, according to a news release. The “Best of the Beach” survey results were reported in the Oct. 25 edition of The Sun News in the “Visitor’s Voice” section.
The “Best of the Beach” honor is the latest for Ocean Lakes Family Campground, which was named the 2008-2009 National “RV Park of the Year” by the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC). It is the largest campground on the East Coast and one of the largest in the United States with over 310 acres of campsites and beach house rentals.
“We’re honored that Myrtle Beach visitors voted Ocean Lakes the ‘Best RV/Camping Facility’ on the Grand Strand,” said Barb Krumm, marketing director for Ocean Lakes Family Campground. “There are a lot of great choices out there when it comes to camping. We focus on customer service and upgrading our park’s amenities annually. Our year-round recreation activities feature something for every age from mini-golf, games center, skate park to crafts and shows. This honor speaks volumes to the way we run our business and our dedication to making sure our visitors have fun when they are with us.”
At Ocean Lakes, the fun doesn’t end when the summer season does. Ocean Lakes Family Campground offers affordable family fun all year long, including events like The 26th Annual South Carolina Fossil Fair held on Halloween. Presented by the South Carolina Fossil Association, the Fossil Fair featured experts from the Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of Natural History who identified fossils brought by participants.
On Dec. 31, a New Year’s Eve party is offered along with the 10th Annual Polar Bear Plunge for those brave folks, young and old, who want to take a winter dip in the ocean. Families can also enjoy the 10th Annual Beach n’ Boogie weekend Feb. 12-13. Beach n’ Boogie kicks off Friday evening with Fantastic Shakers and begins again Saturday morning for a full day of fun activities for the whole family. Saturday’s concert features the Band of Oz. Campsites for this event fill up quickly.
In 2006, Ocean Lakes received the prestigious South Carolina Governor’s Cup for making a significant economic impact on South Carolina. Ocean Lakes covers 310 oceanfront acres with nearly one mile of beachfront. It offers 3,447 sites — 893 of which are large and pull-through to accommodate larger RVs.
It was built by Mary Emily and Nelson Jackson and their five daughters, starting in 1970. It opened with 30 campsites and one bathhouse in 1971. On an average seasonal day, Ocean Lakes has 25,000 – 30,000 guests enjoying the countless amenities that have made it a local favorite and a national vacation destination.
Ocean Lakes Family Campground is a division of the Jackson Cos., a family-owned enterprise that includes Prestwick Golf & Country Club, Ocean Lakes Properties, Crystal Lake Mobile Home Village, Ocean Lakes RV Center and the master-planned development SayeBrook.