Campground Etiquette

Campground Etiquette

RVing is supposed to be fun. And some simple campground etiquette helps
to keep it that way for everyone. If you are starting out or need a
refresher, here are 10 tips on minding your camping manners to make your
stay enjoyable

  1. Follow the rules:    
    Individual parks usually hand you a copy of their rules when you
    register. Adhering to these rules is one of the basics of campground
    etiquette. It makes things easier for everyone involved – you, your
    neighbors and the park operators. Typical guidelines include reduced
    speed limits on campground roads for the safety of all involved. You
    are typically expected to unhook a dinghy before driving to your site.
    There are usually defined quiet hours when you should keep the noise
    down, turn off outdoor lights, generators – basically, the party is

  2. Eliminate pet peeves:    
    Literally. Pick up after your pets. Stop excessive or extended
    barking. Don’t leave a howling dog unattended to bother the neighbors.
    Use a leash. Even if Spot is friendly, not everyone is an animal lover.
    Good pet-etiquette on your part helps ensure that the many RVers with
    pets are welcome at campgrounds.

  3. Parking the rig:    
    Sometimes it is very clear how to orient the rig on a site – you may
    even have a cement pad. But in many cases, the only guidepost will be
    the hookup for electric and sewer. General campground etiquette is to
    stay on your side of that hook-up, and not have awnings or slide-outs
    encroaching on the site next door. Look at the campground map for a
    clue about preferred orientation. Or, look around you to see how other
    rigs are angled, if they are centered on sites or close to the utility
    hook up. You will get the most out of the space you have (and so will
    your neighbors) if you are all situated the same way. There are bound
    to be exceptions – we have been in many campgrounds with no uniformity
    in the size, shape or orientation of sites. The main objective in these
    cases is to just “guess the site” and fit the RV into it. But even
    then, the idea is to park in a way that gets everyone their fair share
    of privacy and room under their respective awnings. Common sense and
    campground etiquette go hand in hand.

  4. Late arrivals:    
    If you are arriving at a park after normal quiet hours, attempt some
    degree of stealth behavior. Not that it is easy to be unobtrusive
    pulling in an RV. But keep the set-up to the minimum required for the
    night. Your neighbors will understand that you need to pull in and hook
    up. They have probably been in the same situation. But they will lose
    patience if they spend an hour listening to loud conversation, slamming
    doors and arguments over how to level the rig. Do what is essential
    and remember that tomorrow is another day. The same sort of courtesy
    should be used if you are making an early morning departure. Don’t keep
    the engine idling for an hour before you leave. Tidy up your campsite
    the night before.

  5. Sewer connections:    
    Do them right. Make them secure. No torn hoses. In most places, your
    sewer connection faces the side where you neighbor has their “patio”
    area. Another time where being discreet and careful is part of good
    campground etiquette.

  6. Washing the RV:    
    Most campgrounds will not allow washing to avoid wasting water, high
    water bills, muddy sites, etc. Read the rules. You usually have to get
    by with a small bucket and rag and/or waterless cleaner to just do
    minimal spot cleaning. If you are lucky enough to find a place where
    you can really wash the RV, use common sense. Don’t have the water
    flowing when you aren’t actually using it. Watch the spray – your
    neighbor may not be interested in having their rig washed. In fact, it
    makes for friendly campground etiquette if you let you neighbor know
    ahead of time that you plan to wash your rig. That way, they can close
    any windows or put away articles that might inadvertently get wet.

  7. No trespassing:    
    When we first started out, a fellow RVer came over and asked if he
    could look around on “our property” for something he had lost, a paper
    that had blown out of his car the night before. We appreciated his
    asking first, and were somewhat amused by the term “our property”. But
    in fact, one of the unspoken rules of campground etiquette is that you
    stay off occupied sites. For the time a camper is on a site, it is
    their space and their privacy should be respected. If you are taking a
    stroll around the campground, the operative word is “around”. Stay on
    roads and pathways – don’t cut through your neighbors’ turf.

  8. Around the campfire:    
    Before you light it, make sure it is permitted, and follow any rules the
    campground may have. Do not use your firepot as a garbage can. There
    is sure to be a trash can available in your rig or on the park premises.
    No one likes to pull into a site with a firepot full of beer cans or
    the remains from someone else’s dinner the night before.

  9. Keeping up the neighborhood:    
    In general, be tidy. RVing is an outdoor pastime and RVers are generally
    an easy going lot. But there is a point where too much stuff laying
    around outside the RV starts to look sloppy. Trash or anything loose
    that can blow around is a definite no-no.

  10. Do unto others:    
    When in doubt, follow the golden rule. If you aren’t sure of the proper
    campground etiquette for something, think about how you would like to
    be treated. If you are concerned that something might bother your
    neighbor, your best bet is just to ask them. If you find yourself in a
    situation where your neighbors or park operators are doing something
    that you find intolerable, politely address the subject with them. If
    that doesn’t work, consider moving to another site or another
    campground. You are in an RV after all.

    Practice your campground etiquette at your next campground!