Rules for RV Camping and Campsite Etiquette

Campground Etiquette

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Throughout the years, people have enjoyed camping and spending time in nature. Using an RV (Recreational Vehicle) for camping and traveling became more popular since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020. Unfortunately, many new campers and RVers seem not to know proper campsite etiquette.

These spoken and unspoken rules of camping — either by tent or RV — help ensure that everyone has an enjoyable time. The first major guideline to follow is to obey the campsite’s rules and regulations. Generally, the host (or proprietor) of the campsite will have these printed out for campers to have on hand.

Some places will have signs posted up to help remind people of these guidelines. These rules will outline things like:

  • Speed Limits – many places keep this limit around 5 to 10 miles per hour. This helps ensure everyone’s safety.
  • Expectations while staying at the campsite – Basically, this outlines what is allowed while staying there. These rules could include no fighting or lewd behavior/language, keeping the noise at a certain level, or even no drinking.

For those RV camping, these rules could include:

  • Follow guidelines for parking the rig in the campground. However, if there are no clear guidelines to follow, do what other campers have done.
  • Obey the rules for hooking up utility to the RV. For example, it is never good to overload pedestals or monopolizes access to shared water hydrants.
  • Do not clutter the campsite (a.k.a “campsite sprawl”) with vehicles, sports equipment, or grills. This will gain you nothing and make a lot of people aggravated.
  • Avoid blocking roadways. This one should be a no-brainer since blocking roadways creates a safety hazard. Check with the host before bringing trailers or tow vehicles to ensure there is space for them.
  • Think of each campsite as private property. This means one should avoid cutting through someone else’s campsite to get to their destination. It is advisable to teach children this as well.
  • Never leave a campfire unattended. This is a good rule of thumb for any fire, whether camping or a cozy outdoor fire at home. Anything could happen when one is dealing with a fire. For example, a gust of wind could suddenly happen cause a hot ember to float off and catch nearby brush or grass on fire.

RVNo matter what type of camping one chooses to do, if they bring their pets, they need to be responsible for them. This means if their animal uses the bathroom outside, pick up and dispose of its feces. Keep the pet in the assigned camping area. Not everyone is okay having an animal come running upon them, no matter how “gentle and friendly.”

Most campgrounds and parks require a dog to be on a leash. This will also be beneficial if the dog is sensitive to unexpected noises like fireworks, a car backfiring, or thunder.

Avoid leaving a dog alone in the RV or tied up outside. If the camper has to leave the dog alone in the RV, be sure to leave windows open and a fresh bowl of water. Also, on hot days, a person should leave the air conditioner on in the RV for their pets; like any vehicle, the inside of an RV can become extremely hot inside.

If a camper smokes cigarettes, they should be courteous to others. Many people experience health issues, and this can cause them to have further breathing issues. Moreover, no one wants to breathe in smoke while they rest in their RV or tent.

It is always courteous to spray down the dump station after emptying one’s RV tanks. No one wants to tend to someone else’s smelly mess.

When camping at an RV campsite, it is always good manners to avoid parking directly next to someone if there are many other spaces open. Pulling up right next to someone else’s RV when it is not needed can be annoying. However, this cannot be avoided at times — especially during busy weekends.

It is also good etiquette to turn the RV’s outside lights off at night. This is never a rule that is written in any book, just common courtesy. It is okay to leave the small amber light on as long as it does not bother any neighbors. No one wants bright lights shining in their face as they are trying to sleep or stargaze.

Last but not least one should always leave the campsite cleaner than when they arrived. So, before taking off in the RV, pick up and take care of any garbage properly. This means placing trash in the designated area for removal. Many places do not allow anyone to burn their garbage.

Some people will use a 50/50 solution of bleach and water around the campsite when they arrive and before they leave.

Double-checking the campsite before leaving allows one to ensure they have gathered all their belongings.

Many campground owners and hosts are giving up working or running their sites, according to RV Travel. This is mainly due to people’s lack of common sense and proper etiquette while camping. If campers would follow the aforementioned rules, perhaps they would have a different opinion about shutting down.

With so many people enjoying the outdoors but not picking up after themselves, owners and hosts cannot enjoy the nature they love. Which, if they were honest, is the main reason they decided to open and operate the campground.

People have even been leaving nature paths and mountainsides littered when they leave. This is bad for the environment, but others are less likely to stay and enjoy the area.

If a person remembers to use good sense while they are RVing, then there should be no issues showing proper etiquette while camping, hiking, and enjoying the great outdoors.

Written by Sheena Robertson
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware


RV Travel: Campground Crowding: Even the camp hosts are throwing in the towel! By Nanci Dixon

Top and Featured Image by Virginia State Parks staff Courtesy of Wikimedia – Creative Commons LicenseInline Image Courtesy of Virginia State Parks’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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