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 ‘em,” he explains with a smile.
Today, Ocean Lakes features 893 campsites and 2,554 annual lease sites on 310 oceanfront acres with nearly one mile of beachfront, four bathhouses, and more than 360 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 25,000 - 35,000 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, during an interview when he was 88.
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