Whether you're first-time campers or veteran RVers, everyone should read this outline of campground etiquette for campers. By being a good neighbor, we can inspire our fellow campers to be the same!
Each campground has their own set of rules that they post for all to see. Campground rules like speed limits, quiet hours, and cleaning up after your dog.
However, there are also unspoken rules and expected campground etiquette for campers to follow. It can take some time for new campers to learn these rules… too long in the case of many.
And I'm not excluding myself from that pool. I, too, had to learn proper camping etiquette and wished there was someone who could have outlined it for me when Jennifer and I started RVing a decade ago.
So, I'm going to be that someone for you. Whether you've been camping for a long time or are new to RVing, I encourage you to read this article in full. It will result in a better camping experience for everyone!
(By the way, I also explain how to deal with bad camping neighbors at the end!!)
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Must-Know Campground Etiquette for Campers
In our decade of RVing, we've come across every type of camper there is, and that includes the bad ones. I try to give them the benefit of the doubt and tell myself that they just don't know any better.
After all, there isn't a book on how campers should behave (I checked!). So, hopefully, this article will serve as a much-needed guide from which we can all benefit.
1. Try Not to Arrive Late (& Noisily Setup)
Sometimes arriving late to a campsite is unavoidable. But you should always try to arrive close to check-in time and well before quiet hours.
DON'T BE THE CAMPER that drives up late at night with his travel companion yelling directions as he backs into the campsite. Nor do you want to be the guy that's setting up his camp while your neighbors are trying to sleep.
If you have to arrive late, call the campground ahead of time and give the campground host an ETA (estimated time of arrival).
Then, when you arrive at the RV park, make sure you don't have your high beams on and slowly drive to your spot.
Back in as quietly as you can. If it's so late that it's almost early, you can even consider pulling straight in and just pull out and back in the next morning.
If it's after quiet hours, only do the must-do items on your RV setup checklist until the morning.
2. Don't Encroach on Your Neighbor's Campsite
Another reason to not establish camp at night is you need to make sure you're not encroaching on your neighbor's campsite. This consideration especially includes where you park!
Before you park, be sure to think about where your slide-outs AND YOUR HOSES will end up being.
DON'T BE THE CAMPER whose stinky slinky (that's RV terminology for septic hose) encroaches on your neighbor's outdoor living area. The same goes for your slide-outs hanging over their campsite (even a little!!).
Don't forget about your outside lights either! Make sure bright lights aren't shining down on your neighbors or through their windows.
Make sure to keep your kids toys, dogs, camping chairs, etc. off your neighbor's campsite at all times.
3. Respect Your Neighbor's Privacy
Not encroaching on your neighbor's campsite is only one way you need to respect your neighbor's privacy. You also need to respect their family time, their quiet time, their personal space, and the fact that they may not be the most sociable person.
It's wonderful to make new friends while camping, but your neighbor doesn't necessarily want to be one of them. Campground etiquette requires you to always be friendly, but not demand friendship in return.
DON'T BE THE CAMPER that locks your neighbor in a conversation they can't get out of.
Even extroverts and very sociable people sometimes just want a quiet camping trip or to focus on their family. So, do your best to be aware of the social cues that signify they'd prefer to be mostly left alone.
Speaking of privacy, you should check out these 5 RV Privacy Products to Make Your Campsite More Private.
4. Respect Quiet Hours (No Matter How Much Fun You're Having!)
We all want to have a good time when camping, and a lot of time that includes sitting around the fire pit joking, laughing, and sharing stories. But you should always respect quiet hours.
DON'T BE THE CAMPER that thinks their fun is more important than their neighbor's peace and quiet.
If you don't see the quiet times or park rules posted, assume it's 10 pm to 6am. That's the standard for national parks and state parks, as well as most campgrounds.
Even outside of quiet hours, you should ALWAYS be mindful of your noise level. Screaming kids, barking dogs, and loud music shouldn't be sounding off all day. That's not fair to your neighbors.
Now, I'm not saying your kids can't have fun or your dog must be mute or you can never play music. But make sure excessive noise isn't ruining your neighbor's trip.
5. ALWAYS Pick Up After Your Dog
Contrary to what many dog owners think, the “great outdoors” is not your dog's toilet. Even if you're “out in the wild” on a hike or walk, you should always clean up after your dog.
Yes, you may in the wild, but your dog isn't a wild animal. Neither are you.
DON'T BE THE CAMPER that lets their furry friend do their business and then leave it for nature to clean up. Nature isn't going to clean it up! At least not before the next camper or hiker walks by.
Speaking of camping with dogs, you should check out 10 Best Pet Accessories for Camping with Your Dog.
More Campground Etiquette for Campers
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I could make this list much longer (and I probably will when I get the chance). In the meantime, here are some other unwritten rules and good campground etiquette you should read up on:
- 10 Best Campground Laundry Etiquette Tips & Tricks
- 9 Super Important Boondocking Etiquette Tips for Better Camping
I'd appreciate your input on campground etiquette for campers, too! Please share the unspoken campground rules you think everyone should follow in the comments below.
How to Deal With a Bad Camping Neighbor
You'd think that many of these rules fall under common sense, but unfortunately, the next campers you park next to may be ignorant or dismissive of the rules. What do you do then?
How do you get to be a happy camper when you're neighbor doesn't even know the most basic campground etiquette?
I've written an article on how to help you. I give 3 examples and solutions on How to Deal with Bad Camping Neighbors. Reading that before your next camping trip is a great way to ensure your campsite neighbors don't spoil your next trip.
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