The best way to understand the growth and appreciate the challenges of something is to know where it started. So here’s a little bit about our history.
Camping was fairly new to the area in the 1960’s. Our founders say it was the traffic line going in to Myrtle Beach State Park that gave them the idea to open a campground.
On the south end of Myrtle Beach, the amusement park called PirateLand Adventure Park was looking for some money to build a supper and dance hall. It had 41 acres of adjoining land for lease.
The property was practically baron and possessed merely a small building, “The Seascape Building”, a little house built pre WWII for use by Air Force Officers. Our founders saw an opportunity to build a campground. The lease agreement required the campground be opened using the name “PirateLand” and the two would market together. So the adventure began!
PirateLand opened in July of 1966 with 75 water and electric sites and rates as low as $3 per night. That year, it made only $15,000; not even enough to cover the advanced payment for the lease, let alone any other operating expenses.
In the early 1970’s, PirateLand leased another 80 acres, the northern side of the park. The area is still very low lying, but back then, a lot of it was swampland and muck. The crew dug some areas out, created the lakes, and used debris and sand to build up the sites.
By the end of 1984, all the campsites had sewers installed, all the roads were paved, and we were offering top of the line amenities including an Olympic size pool, mini-golf course, tennis and basketball courts, general store, playgrounds, and a recreation program that spawned traditions still in place today, like the July 4th Pageant and our Annual Easter Egg Hunt.
The campground felt the wrath of Hurricane Hugo in 1989. It’s rumored that the day after the storm the crew came out with five bulldozers and started cleaning up. Sand covered the park road. The crew pushed the sand back and planted beach grass to create a stable, protective dune line.
PirateLand the Amusement Park was temporarily closed in 1972. It changed hands several times over the years, and the tales of tragic accidents that may have happened there, created bad PR. It operated under the name Magic Harbor until the 90’s but still did not prosper and was eventually deserted. By 2003, the campground leased some of that property as well, bringing the total park acreage to 180.
In 2001 PirateLand built one of our greatest additions, the 510 ft. Lazy River, and reconstructed the pool area. The new office building was constructed in 2004 with an authentic helm and mast giving guests a pirate ship atmosphere. To incorporate the charm of the old building, some windows were transferred over and the building front was designed to look similar. In 2014 we added a Pirate Ship splash pool with 5,000 square feet of water fun for the young and the young at heart.
Long time crew, guests and residents are amazed by what the campground has become today. It’s been a long journey; complete with detours and obstacles, but also exploration, adventure, and thousands of happy campers that make it the wonderful place it is!