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Campground Etiquette

Good Sam has published a great guide on campground etiquette that should be required reading for any new camper or RVer and has rules my parents raised me by since I was a toddler. Check out their guide and print out a copy to study and pass around.

I would like to comment on them myself.

1. Introduce Yourself. As an RVer, you have a vast wealth of knowledge to share and if you are new to RVing, you can easily learn much faster by introducing yourself and asking questions. We are not strangers in boxes on streets with addresses any longer. We are fellow travelers on a common road and lifestyle. It is sooo easy to meet and talk to others while walking about the campground so go take a walk, chat, and make your doctor happy too.

2. No trespassing. This is my biggest bugaboo as well as my parents. Don’t cut through campsites! It is not OK, period, no matter how far the bathroom or whatever is. You may cut through an empty site but not through occupied sites. We rent our space and as a renter, have every right to expect privacy on it just as any landowner. This past summer we had several kids cutting back and forth through our site until we gave the stunned kiddies what for and it stopped. They may have thought that I was just an old fogie but I thought they were rude brats with lousy parents so teach your kids the rule please and then set an example by following it.

3. Pick up after your dog. Hard to believe it has to be said but yes, always bring a baggie with you, bend over, pick it up. We don’t love your precious Fido like you do and we don’t care to step in his poo. It is also a health hazard to other animals and kids. I assume most adults have grown out of playing with poo but I could be wrong.

4. Leash your pet. Unless you really want to be kicked out or sued for biting, barking, chasing, destroying property, etc. etc. keep them on a leash. If you don’t like going out for long walks on a cold morning or late at night, don’t own a dog. It comes with the territory. Even the best of pets will do something wrong in certain circumstances so keep them under control. It is also for their safety. Though I do like dogs, I happen to have a dang cat. She is quite lovable but any time she escapes, she gets into a fight and loses every one… badly… which makes some veterinarian richer. Therefore, I do my best to keep her from escaping.

5. Late arrivals and early departures. Please try to be considerate. I rarely arrive late but the one time I arrived in a campground at midnight, I pulled straight into my site, shut the engine off as quickly as possible, and went inside for a little quiet TV and sleep. Nothing really has to be done immediately other than hooking up to electric possibly. I did not level perfectly or put the slideout out as both of those things can make a lot of noise. Unhitching can wait. Water can often wait. Don’t stand outside talking, take it inside.

If you are going to leave early after having been in camp for awhile, get your act together the day before to minimize the front door slams, cargo door slams, truck door slams, engine running, etc. And, try not to slam!

6. Be quiet. Anyone who has spent significant time in an RV knows the walls are paper thin. It doesn’t matter that the park has set quiet hours or that the local law sets quiet hours. Noise is annoying any time of day and I assure you that non-opera lovers and non-rappers consider your choice in music to be noise. Use headphones outside. Get an MP3 player of your own with headphones. If you are having a gathering, at least keep the music or TV down low. Don’t talk right next to someone else’s RV or tent. Keep in mind that many people, both young and old, sick, overworked, overhiked, overswimmed, overMickeyMoused, etc. nap during the day. It’s just common courtesy folks. BTW, in many states noise is not allowed at any time of day if it can be heard more than 20 feet. You can get a ticket for it.

7. Clean up! Your site should be clean when you leave whether or not it was clean when you arrived. We all like to arrive at clean sites and there is only so much money in campground budgets to hire people to clean up after you. Yo Momma is not going to come along and do it for you. Trash left behind does get carried away sometimes by the wind but usually ends up polluting lakes, forests, and animal homes. We don’t go seeking out nature to see what we can already see in our alleys back home (I was going to make a New Jersey crack here but I don’t want to get smacked). Cleaning up after rude campers is part of what increases the costs to camp for all of us and well, I really don’t want to have to call yo Momma and report you.

To those who find the need to purposely trash restroom toilets, showers, and sinks ( I have seen some truly disgusting and willful stuff), what you are doing is illegal. You will be caught some time and prosecuted fully. You might also want to remember you are driving up the cost of camping for yourself as well and some day for your own kids and their families. Some day, there may not be any campgrounds due to vandalism. Use your brain. It’s that lump above your neck!

8. Campfires. That’s a tough one because campfires are inherently noisy. The best you can do is break it up at a reasonable time so everybody else can get some sleep and try to hold the noise down. I would also suggest inviting your neighbors to the campfire. Everybody has a fish-that-got-away or the-worst-trip-we-ever-took story to tell and most things aren’t that noisy to those who are participating in it. Except for your Aunt Gertrude who cackles and snorts when she laughs. Please leave her at home or camp away from me. Winking smile  Just kidding. She can come.

2 comments to Campground Etiquette

  • Great to see this reminder of what should be common sense — of course, there’s no accounting for folks born without it. After more than three years of full-timing under our wheels, we left a campground this year for the first time ever, all because of others who tromped through our site. When my husband reminded the offenders of this important and basic camping rule (we decided to assume they’d never camped before — and found out otherwise later), the guy got beligerant (a few brewskies at work). We of course reported the incident immediately. Long story short, despite an offer by the campground owners that we stay our planned week for free if we made a report about them, we left the next morning (in the rain). Seems the offenders (whom the owners said had been the cause of more than one complaint during their multi-day stay) should have been the ones leaving, wouldn’t you agree?!?

    And one note about dogs and leashes — you mention excellent points. I’d add that there are people who are allergic, so even the friendliest of animals (cats, dogs, birds…. whatever) can pose a life-threatening danger. My husband and I carry jogger-fogger on the advice of a sheriff — if an animal comes too close, we’ll unfortunately have to spray it. It’s that or haul my hubby immediately to the hospital. So I’d add to your post: “Please don’t be the cause of one person’s medical emergency because you’d prefer your pet to be able to run free!” (Not to mention if we end up in a situation like this, I’m liable to want to sue the pants of the animal owner for violating what’s likely a rule for leashing and controlling animals….)

    Thanks for letting me get that stuff off my chest, Katrina! Am new to your blog and look forward to following it!

  • All wonderful advice, and things people Should already know, but either forget or….maybe had no Mommas.

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