12 Tips on Campground Etiquette

By:  Lisa & Dan Brown

3rd May, 17

Some believe that when they go camping or parking, it's a no-holds-barred party atmosphere. Seemingly, manners fly right out the window while others grate in frustration. Some go to get away from it all and for peace and calming. We all have to remember, we aren't the only ones at the campground or park.

Parking in RV parks and campgrounds, we've learned what it is to be in 'close confines'. Unlike living in former S&B's where we could play our music a little louder, swear like sailors, or stink up your yard by cooking bad meat (not that 'we've' done those things...just being hypothetical), we have to behave and mind our manners a bit more. Sometimes, we are like sardines jam-packed in a tiny square can; awning to awning and so close that you can whisper 'please pass the Grey Poupon', hear the neighbor's squabble or um...'other things'.

Since there's no such thing as an Emily Post "RV Etiquette" book, we thought we would blog a good source guide "Campground and RV Park Etiquette 101" so you don't become 'that guy' who gets glares or haughty words whispered each time you walk your dog or to the bathhouse. We hope you don't mind us being candid.

  • BE FRIENDLY – Don't be a grouch! Nine times out of ten, RVers and Campers are there to have fun. Smile, wave and make yourself approachable. You're smile or wave could be the only one your neighbor sees all day. 
  • SCOOP THE POOP & LEASH YOUR BEASTS – we totally get that Fido and Fifi don't 'poop on demand'. Always bring your puppy poop bags and clean up after your pets. No excuses. Not only is it unsanitary, it's just nasty to have to clean up after your dog's land mines or smelling it. Don't walk away from it thinking we (collectively speaking) don't notice. Try to use specified pet areas or dog parks, but if your pup can't wait, scoop it! Speaking of pets, please leash your pets and never leave them unattended outside. Can you imagine if everyone didn't leash their pet(s)? Oy! Appreciate the fact that not everyone likes your dog or cat (or gerbil, bird, ferret, etc.).Be a responsible pet owner.
  • KEEP IT DOWN – Not everyone is going to like your favorite genre of music, yapping dogs, screaming kids or loud drunks, etc. A good solution is to stand near your neighbor's RV site while your travel companion tests your music volume and speaking voices. If you can hear it near their RV, you're too loud. Speaking of barking dogs, this goes for them inside too. When you leave your RV, make certain your pup is happy and not going to bark his poor little fuzzy head off because he misses you. Oh, and another thing…just because they are called 'slam latches' doesn't mean you should let them slam. Close them as quietly as possible. Lastly, please refrain from using your vehicle key fob button that honks the horn.
  • NO REV ZONE - If you have motorized adventure toys like us, we certainly appreciate needing to 'warm up' your motorcycles, razors and ATV's but only run your engines for just a couple minutes and then get the heck out of there. Likewise, don't allow your diesel engines (motorhomes and dually trucks) idle for more than a few minutes. Not only is the sound nauseating but so are those exhaust fumes.
  • STOKE THAT SMOKE – We've noticed recently that more RV parks and resorts are banning wood-burning campfires for several reasons; health, close proximity to other RV's, sparks and smoke blowing over to other's campers or RV's, firewood infestations, etc. We get it. Nothing tastes better than franks-on-a-stick, s'mores or mountain pies cooked over campfires, but to allow the fires to continually smolder releasing tons of gagging smoke is going to make your neighbors grumpy and sick. Even paper plates give off toxic fumes if burned and never plastic. Do not burn trash, period!
  • QUIET ARRIVALS & DEPARTURES – Our own rule is that we check-out no earlier 9:00 am and check-in no later 4:00 pm. Not only is that to satisfy our own travel limitations but also to be respectful of our neighbors. We realize not everyone has the same schedule but that shouldn't negate respecting your fellow RVers. If you arrive or depart during quiet hours (usually 10:00pm-8:00am), try to do it quickly and quietly. Curtail setting up until the morning after or packing up the night before. Again, allowing your diesel engines running for more that a few minutes will surely score no points with your neighbors and handshakes will be nil. Oh, and Campgrounds, RV Parks and Resorts have arrival and departure times for a reason. Don't make incoming RVers or Campers wait for their site because of your poor planning. Likewise, do not arrive unannounced before check-in time unless you've made prior arrangements with the RV Park or Campground staff. The staff and volunteers need time to clean and patrol the site before the next guest arrives.
  • SECURE YOUR GEAR - Some say 'it's my site, I'll do whatever I want' but seriously, this is a safety issue. Stow and secure your gear; especially if you leave for the day or before turning in for the night. Storms can pop up anytime leaving your site a wind storm's dream. Canopies, and camp chairs become projectiles that can damage RV's or hurt fellow RVers. On a different note, no one wants to live next to the site that looks like a Walmart toy aisle at Christmas. Keep your site picked up and tidy...or try to.
  • WASH YOUR OWN RIG – These days there are few Campgrounds and RV parks that allow to wash your rig, but if you're permitted to bust out the hose, bucket and sponge, watch your spray. On windy days, consider not washing because your water spray will no doubt blow over to your neighbor's coach who probably had theirs washed the day prior or don't need it blowing on them if they are sitting out at their own site or eating their meal. Now, if you want to raise eyebrows and impress your friends, use Waterless Wash Wax All that only takes a spray bottle and microfiber towels.
  • TURN OFF THE LIGHTS – Look, this isn't Motel 6. Most of your neighbors won't take lightly to bright lights beaming through their shades after hours. It's okay to leave a small porch light on after hours in case you need to let Fido out or grab a smoke, but, geez, don't think lighting your site like a KISS concert or airplane runway is going to land you invitations for breakfast the next morning.
  • SITE CUTTING & ENCROACHMENT – Remember when our parents told us to stay on the sidewalk and not to cut between people's yards? Well, the same manners apply to campground or park sites. When RVers and campers pay their site fees, they're essentially paying for their own little yard. Site cutting can be interpreted as intrusive, speculative and rude. It's disrupting to pet owners, meal times, etc. Typically, the unspoken rule is a site is from utility box to utility box. Do not park your vehicles in someone else's site boxing them in. Also, you and your guests should not park vehicles that will stick out into the roadway making it difficult for incoming or outgoing RV's to navigate or park their way through the park or prevent emergency vehicles necessary passage.
  • SLOW YOUR ROLL - See those speed limit signs? Campgrounds and RV parks/resorts are busy with Campers walking their dogs, elderly strolling, children running or riding their bikes, and RV's may be pulling in and out to park. Way too many times have we've seen 'almosts' from people driving way too fast for conditions. Please, just slow down.
  • LEAVE IT BETTER THAN YOU FOUND IT - Raise your hand if you've arrived at a site that's been laden with cigarette butts, candy wrappers, bottle caps, beer can pull tabs or nasty trash in the firepit? Just because you may have been assigned a dirty site, doesn't mean you should leave it the same way. Be good stewards. Clean and patrol your site before leaving. If you brought it, take it with you. Always.

In closing, the main rule of thumb of RV park or campground etiquette is to treat others as you'd like to be treated. Sometimes, people don't know or may not be aware that their behavior or infractions affect others. The point is, just be polite. Respect thy neighbor!


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Lisa & Dan Brown

Lisa & Dan Brown


Dan & Lisa Brown are known as "Always On Liberty". They are two Coasties (30 years Retired & Veteran) who fought Mother Nature guarding our coasts and saving souls now travel between them with their two Maine Coon Cats. They have been full-time traveling since 2014 with their 2016 Heartland Landmark 365 Ashland (formerly '16 Heartland Cyclone 4100). They are avid hikers, ADV motorcycle riders, bloggers and travel enthusiasts. They enjoy visiting, hiking and riding our National Parks, Monuments, Historical Sites, Battlefields and strange places. 
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