The proprietors of Ocean Lakes Family Campground learned quickly that the best way for guests to get around the property was the golf car, and this carting-friendly vacation and resort destination has embraced the carting lifestyle ever since.
Situated along a mile of beachfront about 3 miles south of the Myrtle Beach city limits, Ocean Lakes is located at the intersection of Highway 17 Business and Highway 544. The 310-acre property offers a total of 859 campsites, 2,572 annual lease sites and 300 rental properties. Many campsites offer 45-foot concrete pads, and the resort can accommodate rigs up to 70-feet long. It is the largest campground on the east coast and one of the largest in the U.S. Ocean Lakes relies on their 500-plus employees, or teammates, as they call them, to provide each guest with the ultimate oceanfront vacation experience.
A big part of the Ocean Breeze experience revolves around golf carts. Barb Krumm, Director of Marketing and Public Relations, has worked at the campground for decades, and said the golf cart is a big part of the culture there. “This year, we expect we’ll have 1,060 golf cars in our rental fleet,” she stated. “For those that live in our 2,573 annual lease units, almost one hundred percent own at least one golf cart, and many have two.” That equates to about 4,000 to 5,000 carts on the grounds when you include visitors who bring their own carts for vacation.
Beginning in 1971, the creators of the property, Nelson and Mary Emily Jackson and their 5 daughters, knew they had a lot of options for utilizing this idyllic oceanfront property, but were determined to ensure that this little slice of heaven on earth be accessible to as many people as possible. “Everyone should have the privilege of enjoying God’s beautiful ocean”, Mr. Jackson said during an interview when he was 88-years old. Ocean Lakes is owned and operated by The Jackson Companies, located in Myrtle Beach, a family-owned enterprise that includes Prestwick Golf & Country Club, Ocean Lakes Properties, Crystal Lake Mobile Home Village, Ocean Lakes RV Center, Ocean Lakes Golf Cars and the master-planned residential development Sayebrook. The Jackson Companies also own several hundred acres of undeveloped land in the Myrtle Beach area. Several divisions of The Jackson Companies have been recognized nationally in both the golf and camping industries.
Ocean Lakes is a truly cart-centric property offering campsites and camping accommodations, along with beachside vacation home rentals, directly along the white sand beaches of the Atlantic. Visitors can register their own privately-owned carts when they check in or rent one of the resort’s carts to get around during their stay. Ocean Lakes even has their own full-service golf cart sales facility. Private cart owners need to show proof of a minimum $50,000 liability insurance coverage.
With such an expansive property encompassing the dozens of outdoor amenities found at Ocean Lakes, the golf cart is clearly the best way to get around while vacationing with family and friends. The resort offers rentals of golf carts by visitors, plus performs service work on privately-owned carts and sells a wide array of new and reconditioned carts through their Ocean Lakes Golf Cars business.
The resort features Club Car vehicles – they are an Authorized Dealer – and sells parts and accessories for every major brand. In 2017, Ocean Lakes Golf Cars earned the coveted Black & Gold Elite status from Club Car for its exemplary achievements in providing sales and service excellence to their Grand Strand customers. Their team can even build a completely custom cart for those who want to personalize their ride to their unique specifications, like the beauty they built for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, the area’s minor league baseball team.
Ocean Lakes offers rental carts that carry 2 or 4 passengers, and a limited number of 6-passenger carts. Their website lists rental prices beginning at $65.00 per day in the resort’s peak summer months and as low as $22.00 per day in the winter off-season, with lower rates for multi-day rentals. Drivers must be at least 16-years old, and the facility has rules in place meant to protect the enjoyment and safety of all guests. The resort also has a 40,000 square foot, secured and paved cart storage facility with designated spaces for each cart for Ocean Lakes guests who own their own carts.
Ocean Lakes is well known in the Myrtle Beach area for the special events and celebrations they organize annually. Parades, parties, concerts, and other special events create the perfect opportunity to hop in your golf cart and join in the fun. Some of the campground’s most notable events include their Annual Golf Cart Parade, Bluegrass Weekend, Beach n’ Boogie Weekend, 4th of July Cart Parade, Christmas at Thanksgiving, Halloween Party and Coastal Clean-Up Day, among others.
Krumm goes on to say that the 4th of July Parade is one of the oldest and most popular of the campground’s events, where several hundred cart owners and guests dress up their carts for the holiday and parade the property to celebrate our country’s freedoms. “Mr. Jackson started that tradition, leading the parade in a fire truck. Even though he is no longer with us, we still use the fire truck and will always honor Mr. Jackson’s favorite Ocean Lakes activity.”
And with so many carts within the sprawling community, just about every night is right for a beachfront cart cruise, with many residents and guests taking to their buggies to cruise Seaside Drive and greet their neighbors. “The guests use their carts like they were cruising main street on a Saturday night in the early days, using the chance to enjoy the night air and say hi to everyone,” said Krumm.
Krumm noted that one of the key benefits of having so many golf carts at the resort is the “fun factor.” “I can look out my office window and suddenly see inflatable figures mounted on top of a cart breeze by on their way to the beach or pool,” she says. “Residents and guests here are very creative when it comes to adding their personal bling to their carts, with inflatable characters and balloons like starfish, dolphins, gators, beach balls and more – it also helps them find their cart when they’re leaving one of our community events or one of our pools or other facilities.”
Ocean Lakes Family Campground is an impressive destination, where depending on the season, the oceanfront setting is enjoyed by 20,000 or more residents and visitors. The important role of golf carts to those living there and by the resort itself is a key reason for their continued success.