Today I’m going to focus on an alternative type of “all-inclusive resort.” This resort doesn’t offer world-class dining and drinking like the kind I normally discuss. No. I call it “all-inclusive” due to the amenities that are included for you when you stay! This is good old-fashioned camping!
One of my favorite places to go camping, and probably where you’ve seen most of my vacations on my Instagram account @thevacationvoyager is in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. My family owns a camper that we keep down there, so it makes for a super convenient way for us to get away for relatively cheap.
We generally stay at Ocean Lakes Family Campground, however we have been known to stay at Pirateland as well. These are two of Myrtle Beach’s most popular vacation destinations. So which campground is better? Pirateland vs. Ocean Lakes. I literally drove home from staying at Pirateland TODAY, and we were at Ocean Lakes three weeks ago. Here’s an honest comparison of the two from someone who enjoys staying at both!
So, comparing the pricing for each is difficult to do, and frankly it’s not really my focus today. Pricing will depend on the time of year, how close you are to the beach, where you want your campsite located in position to certain areas of the campground etc. There are also many types of camp sites offered by both. For example, you can choose a beach side campsite, a campsite near one of their lakes, or a more woodsy feeling campsite (these have a few trees) all of this will affect pricing differently.
I’m going to focus more so on their oceanfront sites. Ocean lakes has a nice sized lot that is paved. Pirateland has a slightly bigger lot, but not all of their oceanfront sites are paved. They have a select few premium ones that are, but most are dirt lots which can be messy if you are there during a rainy week like we were. Flooding can get pretty bad there. This can be seen as a benefit of Ocean Lakes, however not entirely. You can still get paved lots at Pirateland, and it really didn’t bother me too much to have a dirt lot, regardless. Another benefit of Pirateland’s campsites is that they have a covered pavilion on their oceanfront lots. This is a HUGE win for Pirateland. We were able to bring hammocks to hang on the pavilion, and when it did rain our family was still able to eat at the picnic table outside, because it was covered. (unlike the ones at Ocean Lakes.)
Ocean Lakes Campsite
Ocean Lakes- 0
Both campgrounds offer very large swimming pools. They also both offer lazy rivers! Ocean Lakes has a larger lazy river, in fact ocean lakes has a larger pool area in general! (Although Pirateland’s lazy river is a very respectable size, and definitely quite enjoyable!) While both campgrounds offer guests a giant pool, a lazy river, and a children’s water park, Ocean Lakes wins this round because it also has two water slides! “Tropical Snow” or “Snowie’s” are offered at both. Pirateland has an option for hair braiding when you visit the pool, which is something that Ocean Lakes does not have, but Ocean Lakes definitely has the better water park area by far. I must say though that both are still quite impressive!
Ocean Lakes Pool
Pirateland Lazy River
Ocean Lakes Lazy River
Ocean Lakes Kids
Ocean Lakes Slides
Each campground also has an indoor pool, which is a lifesaver on rainy days! Both of them are well maintained, and decently sized. Ocean Lakes’ is a bit larger and deeper, but Pirate Land’s indoor pool has a hot tub! This is something that I greatly miss when I stay at Ocean Lakes. A hot tub is especially nice during the colder months. I would highly recommend Pirateland to someone staying at Myrtle Beach in the winter for this reason alone.
Ocean Lakes- 1
Bathrooms can be an immensely important factor when choosing a campground. Especially if you’re tent camping, or don’t much use your camper’s bathroom. The bathroom situation is no comparison here. Ocean Lakes has nice clean tiled floors, and spacious showers. There is also a bench within your shower, that you can place your clothes on. Pirateland’s bathrooms are outdated and dirty. The showers are small, and there is not a bench in the shower with you, but one outside of your shower. Ocean Lakes most definitely wins this round.
Ocean Lakes Bathrooms
Ocean Lakes- 2
Arcade and Store
Ocean Lakes and Pirateland both offer mini golf to their guests, as well as an arcade! Ocean Lakes has a large arcade, and Pirateland’s is quite a bit smaller. Both arcades have little cafes that are attached to them for snacks, but Ocean Lakes has a lot more games to offer!
Pirateland Mini Golf
Ocean Lakes Mini Golf
Ocean Lakes Arcade
They also both have a campground store! Ocean Lakes has a larger store, and was more clever in the naming process. This goes for the laundromat as well.
Pirateland Store and Laundry
Ocean Lakes Store and Laundry
Ocean Lakes- 3
Ocean Lakes has a larger water park, a larger arcade, a larger store, and really just larger of everything. It also has the nicer bathrooms. While Pirateland does have the larger camping sites, a hot tub, and is generally a little less crowded. I would probably say that Ocean Lakes is the winner. (Although Pirateland is still definitely a fun filled vacation experience. You can’t really go wrong with either!)
A few more perks of Ocean Lakes that are not available at Pirateland include:
-showers available at the beach access points
-a large community seating area for eating and enjoying live music
-a walking distance beach bar located just outside the campground called The Quarter Deck.
As I’ve already stated, you really can’t go wrong with either campground. I’ve had so many fun experiences and memories at both!