Ocean Lakes Wins National Award & Recognition for 3rd Time!
Awarded by: National Association of RV Parks & Campground’s (ARVC)
Association Contact: Director of Marketing & Communications, Traci Pasqualone, (703) 241-8801 Details: Ocean Lakes Family Campground, a subsidiary of The Jackson Companies, is proud to announce it was awarded the title of 2002-2003 National “RV Park of the Year” by the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) at the national convention in Memphis, Tennessee. This is the third time in six years Ocean Lakes has been recognized with this outstanding title. In 1997, Ocean Lakes was the first campground in the state to bring ARVC’s recognition to South Carolina’s tourism and camping industry. In 1999, Ocean Lakes won National “RV Park of the Year” and “Park Operator of the Year.” “We are thrilled to bring this award home to Myrtle Beach for a third time,” said Vice President and General Manager Lance Thompson. “It is truly gratifying to receive national recognition for our resort, as well as for the Grand Strand and for the state of South Carolina, during this time of ever-increasing popularity in the camping industry. We are committed to providing the amenities and service needed to be one of the best family vacation destinations in America.”
Ocean Lakes Family Campground was built by Mary Emily and Nelson Jackson, along with their five daughters, starting in 1970. On July 2, 1971, Ocean Lakes opened with 30 campsites and one bathhouse. Nelson Jackson was 50 years old at the time. “People were lined up outside the gate by the hundreds and we were clearing spots for their campers as fast as they could park â€˜em,” he explains with a smile.
Today, Ocean Lakes features 3,385 sites on 310 oceanfront acres with nearly one mile of beachfront, six bathhouses, and more than 300 employees in the height of the camping season. It is the largest campground on the east coast and one of the largest in the United States. On an average seasonal day Ocean Lakes has 15,000 – 17,000 guests enjoying the countless amenities that have made it a local favorite and a national vacation destination. “We could do a lot of things with 310 oceanfront acres in Myrtle Beach, and we’ve had many lucrative offers, but we believe that everyone – the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker – should have the privilege of enjoying God’s beautiful ocean,” explains Nelson Jackson, now 82.
Why “RV Park of the Year”:
Ocean Lakes has helped to revolutionalize the campground industry. A combination of Jackson’s foresight and ingenuity, along with the comprehensive planning of those managing the park today, position Ocean Lakes as an industry leader. The amenities, guest services and continuous improvements command attention. During 2002, Ocean Lakes opened Sandy Harbor Family Fun Center which features Sandy Harbor Mini-Golf, Sandy Harbor Splash Zone with four existing pools with an enlarged pool deck and a 9,000 square foot building that houses Sandy Harbor Games, Sandy Harbor Café and new bathrooms with changing areas for sunbathers. “Sandy Harbor is the third phase of our master plan for overall facility improvements,” explains Thompson. “We began in 1997 with the main entrance, an all-seasons indoor pool, the oceanfront observation deck and new, air-conditioned bathhouses. All of those improvements were needed, but now we’re creating the fun stuff!” In March of 2002, Ocean Lakes also added cement pads to select sites. Guest feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, so more pads are in the works for 2003. “We believe it is important to invest in and improve our business,” shares Dennis Wade, CEO of The Jackson Companies. “Our guests tell our teammates they look forward to seeing the changes and additions we make every year. They get so excited! But they also tell us it is our friendly teammates and excellent customer service that makes them return.”
By design, Ocean Lakes is very user-friendly. All 893 campsites are large and pull-through, accommodating today’s increasingly larger RVs. Each site includes water, sewer, 20-30-50 amp electric, 70 channel cable TV hookup, a modem friendly phone jack with free local calls, a picnic table and daily curbside trash pickup. New for 2003, Ocean Lakes is planting palmetto trees on designated sites.
In addition to Sandy Harbor Family Fun Center, amenities include nearly one mile of oceanfront, a huge recreation center with indoor and outdoor pools, year round planned activities, three snack bars, bike rentals, a marine life Nature Center, a Camptown Store with groceries, hardware and gifts, golf car rentals, sales and repairs, eight freshwater lakes for fishing, on-site church service and 24-hour security patrol. Ocean Lakes offers RV storage for a quarterly fee and has a full time staff and trucks to pull the stored RVs on and off site upon the owners’ request at no additional charge. Spring through fall, Ocean Lakes has more than 1800 storage RVs, in the winter decreasing to about 1500. Camping Sales and Service, another subsidiary of The Jackson Companies, is the RV dealership adjacent to Ocean Lakes’ entrance. It has several trained technicians that will go to the campsite to service the campers’ RVs.
The Jackson family built a campground that campers liked so much – guests began staying there all year long. So, the Jacksons began building longer term sites referred to as “annual lease sites”. Today, Ocean Lakes has 2,492 annual lease sites with the most diverse structures and accommodations offered in the campground industry. These sites, leased annually, permit the lease holder to have a variety of structures including a trailer, a mobile home, a park model or a two-story stick built house with up to 1600 square feet of living space. Ocean Lakes Properties also handles the rental of more than 250 sites for the annual lease holders – making Ocean Lakes Family Campground very appealing to even the non-camper.
RV Park Judging Criteria:
ARVC’s Awards Committee’s decision was based on several criteria. First, Ocean Lakes’ National Directory Ratings in several of the major campground directories such as Trailer Life (9/9/8 out of 10/10/10), Wheelers (5 Stars), and Woodall’s (5 W’s for Facilities/ 5 W’s for Recreation – only 1.4% of the parks listed in Woodall’s share this rating). Secondly, Operations Excellence, which included such things as Ocean Lakes’ StarFish Values encouraging customer service, customer feedback, diversity in camping facilities, park security, park maintenance and appearance, safety, future planning, guest services, recreation and amenities. Thirdly, Ocean Lakes’ commitment to Community Service, demonstrated in this case both by the company and its teammates’ community involvement. Fourthly, Association Involvement, demonstrated through Ocean Lakes involvement on the local, state and national level. Fifth, Ocean Lakes’ Park Promotions such as printed and advertising materials, special events and partnerships. Sixth, the Management Skills & Education of Ocean Lakes management team, comprised of more than 22 managers and an executive team, and finally, Employee Training Techniques.