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Campground Etiquette

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No matter where we are in the camping season we figured we should talk a little about campground etiquette. Many people have been camping for years and will know most if not all of these simple rules.  Some maybe have bought their first tent or RV and are excited to get out there and to try camping and enjoy everything that camping has to offer.

Only A Handful

Nothing ruins a family vacation or weekend getaway faster than an inconsiderate neighbor. While some may not realize others may not care. We have been full-time RV’ing since April 2016.  I myself have been camping since my early 20’s. From tents to RV’s. There has only been a handful of times in all those years that I have encountered rude or obnoxious neighbors.

In the upcoming paragraphs, we will talk about some things to make your and your neighbors stay more pleasant and maybe even prevent you from being in an uncomfortable or embarrassing situation. They are in no particular order. Happy camping everyone. Hope to see you out on the road!!!!

Arrivals

Upon arriving at a campground, try to park out of the way as not to block anyone trying to come in or leave the campground. Remember, you might be 10-15 minutes checking in. Think about how you would feel if you were already a checked-in guest and were trying to get in or out of the campground. Maybe you were trying to head out to a family excursion or get back into your site to relax after a particularly stressful day and your path was being blocked. Maybe you had a reservation for a restaurant or sightseeing tour and someone checking in has blocked the only way in or out of the campground when all they had to do was pull up a little and the pathway would have been cleared.

When pulling up to your site, take a minute to observe the layout. Some sites are clear-cut while others not so much. Set your rig up so that your slides or awnings are not protruding onto your neighbor’s site. If you are unsure of your site boundaries, ask the campground staff.

Late Arrivals/Early Departures

Most people will try and get to a campground during the daylight. Sometimes this is not possible. Maybe you didn’t get out of work on time, got stuck in traffic, or had some type of mechanical failure. Maybe this is just the only time you had to go. Whatever the reason, if you are pulling in after quiet hours, be respectful. Everyone will sooner or later get stuck coming in after hours. Try and just set up the minimum you can to get by for the night. In the morning, you can finish the set-up. Chances are if it’s late you and your spouse/significant other will be tired and cranky. No one wants to hear you arguing over who is supposed to set up what. A good night’s sleep and a cup of coffee in the morning and you guys will be refreshed and you can finish your set up. Check out our article on checking in to a campground after hours and checking into a campground early.

The Same For Early Morning

The same type of courtesy should be extended for early morning departures. We have left campgrounds very early in the morning at times. Especially if we had a long-distance to go. We packed up everything the day before. Sometimes if the sites were level enough, we would even hook everything up the night before. Either way, in the morning we hooked up what had to be done and left. Even though we have a power drill to bring up our manual stabilizers, if we are leaving very early in the morning (which is rare) we will use our manual tool to help keep the noise down. If you have a diesel or even a loud gas truck, please don’t let it idle the whole time your hooking and packing up in the morning. Run it until your hooked and then shut it off until your ready to pull out. If it really needs to warm up for an hour, pull to an area of the campground (like near the exit) and let it idle there.

Stinky Slinky’s

If you are on a site with full hook-ups, please make sure your hoses are in good condition and all your connections are tight. The way most campgrounds are set up, you’re sewer, water, and electrical connections all face your neighbor’s living space. We have a pretty good idea when we are going to have to drain and flush the black tank. We try and do it at off times as to be the least intrusive as possible. Let’s face it, there is going to be a slight smell even if your hoses are in great shape. Nothing screams ruin my family bbq like a little dookie stench. For more tips be sure to visit our RV Tips page.

Cool, You’re all set up

Now would be a good time to pour yourself a cold beverage and have a seat and relax. While you’re doing that, take a look at the campground rules. It is mixed in with all those papers you got while checking in. Once you have read the rules, follow them!!! If the speed limit is 5mph in the campground, go 5mph. There are lots of kids at campgrounds. How are you going to feel if you are speeding through the campground and one runs out in front of you and you hit them? If it states not to put your garbage out until the morning, don’t put yours out at night. If you wake up too late for the garbage pick up, then bring your own garbage to the dumpster if possible. No one wants to see what you ate the night before because the birds and/or animals ripped away at your bag all night and the contents are now spread all over the road. Besides, the walk to the dumpster is good exercise!!!

Howdy Neighbor

Not everyone is a social butterfly. Some people come to campgrounds to relax and enjoy nature. While it’s perfectly fine to wave to your neighbor to say hello, don’t go running over to their site every time you see their door open and they head outside. Everyone needs their quiet time. If you eventually become friendly there will be plenty of time to get together around a fire or for some adult beverages during the day but wait to be invited.

Rock And Roll!!!

Be considerate. You might love rock and roll but you’re neighbors don’t necessarily want to hear it blasting all day. Be respectful. People camp for different reasons. Some like to relax and read. I am sure you will enjoy your music just as much at a lower volume. Quiet hours are just that, quiet hours. For the enjoyment of everyone, adhere to the times of quiet hours!!!

Campfire

All Around The Campfire

Everyone associates campfires with camping. Many areas experience drought-like conditions and go under frequent fire watches. This means no fires!!! Check with the office to make sure a fire is permitted during your stay. If it’s not, you can always toast marshmallows on a BBQ flame.

Singing songs or telling scary stories at night is fun but don’t forget about quiet hours. No one wants to hear you singing karaoke at 1 am. Also, do not throw garbage in your fire pit. I get totally aggravated when I pull into a campground and the fire pit is loaded with beer cans and other garbage from the night before. You will probably pass at least 1 dumpster and a few garbage cans on your way out of the campgrounds. Throw your garbage in there.

Not Everyone Loves Rover

Many campgrounds are pet-friendly. Remember, not everyone loves pets. Keep your pets on a leash and most importantly pick up after him/her. No one wants to drag doggy dookies into their RV after stepping in your pet’s waste. Just about every campground that allows pets has waste receptacles for your pet’s dookies. Another big don’t leave your pet tied to your RV while you head up to the showers or office. No one wants to hear barking or whining the whole time you are gone. If your dog is barking or howling consistently, do something about it. Don’t let him/her bark for hours. You might be used to it but no one else is or wants to be.

Time For a Nice Wash & Wax

Some campgrounds will allow you to wash and wax your RV or car. If the one you’re in allows it, think about your neighbors. If their windows are open or they have something hanging outside too dry, give them a heads up that you are going to wash your rig. Try and keep the spray to a minimum. Don’t let the hose run constantly while you are soaping down your rig. You could be causing a big mud pit. That’s no fun for anyone.

Hark, Who Goes There?

One of the biggest annoyances there are at any campground is people who cut through sites. Sites are small at most campgrounds. When you reserve a space at a campground, you have the right to expect that the space you reserved is yours for that time period. Just because your neighbor’s site is located in between the campground and the ballfields or bathrooms, it does not give you or your kids the right to walk through someone else’s site to save a few steps. How would you like it if you were trying to relax and a whole family of people came parading through your site? Don’t do it. Walk around.

That Guy

Keep your site relatively clean and tidy. Most people are tolerant to a point. No one wants to camp next to the town dump, though. Also, if there are high winds or your in an area that tends to be windy, make sure you secure your outside furniture. No one wants a plastic table to come flying through their windows on a windy day. We were at a campground one time where the workers came around and notified everyone of a potential wind storm and asked that everyone either bring in or secure anything they had outside. While most complied, there was a select few who completely ignored the worker. It turned out we never got the forecasted high winds but if we did that person’s outdoor gear would have become projectiles. Don’t be ‘That Guy”.

Recap

  • Do not block the entry/exit to the campground while checking in/out
  • Set your rig up so that you are not intruding or parking your truck on any of your neighbor’s site
  • Be as quiet as possible setting up or breaking down your rig before/after quiet times
  • Do not idle your diesel truck/rig for the entire time you are setting up or breaking down
  • If trash is collected at the campground, only put yours out at designated times
  • Everyone has waste. Be respectful of the times you are dumping yours
  • Always obey the campground speed limit
  • Don’t be a “pesky” neighbor. There will be plenty of time to socialize
  • Be respectful when playing your music especially if it’s during quiet hours
  • Know the campfire rules of your park. Make sure they are allowed
  • Pick up after your pet!!!
  • If the washing of vehicles is allowed at your park, be respectful of your neighbor. They might not want a shower while they are trying to sit outside and read
  • Do not ever cut through someone else’s site
  • Keep your site clean
  • Put away loose furniture if a storm is approaching

Final Thoughts

In general, Rv’ers are thoughtful and respectful. Treat others the way you would want to be treated. Sometimes people just don’t realize what they did or are doing is disturbing their neighbors. They may be new to camping and possibly have not read this post yet…lol.  If you find yourself in a situation, just politely speak to your neighbor or campground management. Most times, that’s all it takes. On that rare occasion that neither talking to your neighbor or campground management is working, your best option might be to just move to another site or campground. After all, you are on wheels you know!!!

How have your campground experiences been? Have you had any issues or do you find your camping neighbors to be respectful? Did I miss any issues that have happened to you? Let us know in the comment section below.





8 thoughts on “Campground Etiquette

  1. This is good information about an important subject.  I had an awful experience once, and unfortunately, I was the cause.  My husband and I had just gotten married.  We were on our honeymoon and had stopped to camp at Glacier National Park.  I think the camping area was called Two Medicine.  I had a little too much to drink before bedtime, and I couldn’t stop talking.  My husband told me to be quieter – I was being too loud.  I hollered out “I’M NOT BEING LOUD!!!” but in doing so, I realized what he meant.  I was so embarrassed!  I got punished in the middle of the night in the form of a terrible migraine, and I didn’t feel very good the next day, but I learned my lesson.  Thankfully, none of the other campers said anything to us about it, but I would have totally deserved it if they had.  Not cool!

    Courtesy is important. Helps all of us to get along, and in a situation such as camping where we are largely policing ourselves out in the open, it’s our duty to respect others and nature.  Good information here!  Thank you!

    Stay healthy and safe!

    1. Laura “Bunny” Slack- Hahahaha, oh boy. You just might have been a little entertainment for that park. I never realized it when I was younger but even talking at a normal level the sound carries throughout a campground. Ask me how I know…lol. At least you realized you were being a little loud and made an adjustment. Some people just don’t care. We have been in campgrounds where the quiet hour starts at 10 pm yet people were playing cornhole until after midnight!!!! That’s why we have a large fan in the bedroom of our RV for noisemaking to cover the noisemaking!!! Unfortunately, we have become so accustomed to the fan noise if the electricity goes out in the middle of the night and the fan stops we instantly wake up!!!…lol… Dennis

  2. Oh, my word there are rules for camping too? I didnt know that lol! I smiled whilst reading your article on campground etiquette. I have never done it before and maybe I should give it a try when this COVID era is over. It was a very interesting read and I will keep this article to have the do’s and the don’ts whenever the opportunity arises. Great article!!

    1. Jaye- There are rules for everything!!!…lol-JK. Campgrounds have become very busy with so many people RVing these days. Just following these guidelines will make everyone’s trip more enjoyable. After this pandemic is over with I think everyone is going to need a place to get away to and relax. Why not a campground?… Dennis

  3. Camping is a wonderful way to get away from a busy life full of traffic, crowds and endless annoyances. Having fun and being a good neighbor can go hand in hand in a campground, as long as people follow some basic campground etiquette. Thanks a lot for posting this article. I know it will help a lot of people as it has helped me. I didn’t really think about this until after reading your article.

    1. Feji ben- We feel the same way. Camping and RVing is a way to “get away” from the normal hustle and bustle of everyday life. If everyone just took a minute to be a little respectful of their campground neighbors everyone could enjoy the peace and tranquility of camping… Dennis

  4. Camping etiquette becomes even more important as more “newbies” discover camping as the wonderful family activity that it is. Knowing the rules can help you make lifelong friends, instead of enemies on the campground. For me, I would say that following the campground etiquette guidelines you stated can make every camper enjoy camping to the fullest.

    1. David nelson- You are right about new people discovering camping. Sometimes people just don’t know that they shouldn’t be doing certain things. That’s why I came out with this article. We have found most people want to do the right thing but just don’t realize they may just not be the nicest neighbors for lack of another way of putting it…lol… Dennis

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