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Campground Etiquette: Dos And Don’ts (How To Be A Model Camper)

Red car and two tents at campground

When packing up the car for a weekend in the great outdoors, the last thing on your mind is probably manners. But believe it or not, there is such a thing as campground etiquette! By following a few simple rules, you can help ensure that everyone has a pleasant stay. So read on for our top do’s and don’ts of camping etiquette.

Campground Dos: 

At campgrounds, it is important to be respectful of your fellow campers and their environment by practicing good etiquette. Here’s a list of things you should do:

Be mindful of noise levels between 9 pm-7 am and during peak times throughout the day; respect fellow campers by respecting their need for peace and quiet during these times if possible. No one wants to be awakened at the crack of dawn by your generators or blaring music.

Respect other people’s property. This includes not walking on sites that are not your own and not taking anything that doesn’t belong to you.

Keep kids in check. Let them know what area your campsite entails and where they can ride bikes and play. Also, remind them to keep the noise level down.

Always keep pets on a leash and dispose of pet waste responsibly. Not everyone is a fan of animals, so it’s essential always to keep your furry friend under control. Plus, it’s just good manners! Also, make sure you know the campground rules for pets.

Metal bear proof garbage bin

Be mindful of your trash. Don’t leave trash behind on your site or anywhere else in the campground. Instead, dispose of it properly in the designated areas.

Do exercise caution while driving in camping areas; speed limits tend to be much lower than on conventional roads due to the potential risks associated with excess speed in an area of high pedestrian traffic or with children playing like a campground.

Be considerate. When arriving late or leaving early, be as quiet as you can to be thoughtful of those sleeping.

Respect fire safety rules. Only build fires in designated areas and make sure they’re completely extinguished before you leave them unattended or go to bed for the night.

Bathe in designated areas only, away from water sources that other campers may use as drinking water or bathing locations; also ensure that soap is biodegradable if using it there so as not to contaminate nearby bodies of water with harmful chemicals or residue left behind after rinsing off with soap suds (using natural detergents is preferable).

Be patient. Things move at a slower pace when you’re camping. If the shower line is long, take a deep breath and relax. It’s all part of the experience!

Follow posted signs regarding safety advisories, closures, restricted access areas, etc.; failure to comply could result in fines or worse depending on the severity of the offense(s) undertaken, so always take care when exploring new places – even if temporarily camping overnight at them.

Fifth wheel camper at campground under trees

Make sure your RV sewer hoses are correctly connected and tanks are securely closed.

Respect nature. Don’t litter, and be careful with fire. If you bring food, make sure to store it properly so that animals don’t get into it. When you leave, ensure your campsite is clean and there’s no trace of you being there.

Avoid trampling vegetation. When exploring your surroundings, stick to established trails whenever possible to avoid damaging delicate plant life.

Van Camping Life Fun Fact: Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve in Alaska is the largest national park in the US. Encompassing 13.2 million acres, it has glaciers, some of the highest mountains in the US, and breathtaking scenery, not to mention a wide variety of wildlife like moose and caribou.

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Campground Don’ts: 

At campgrounds, it is crucial to be aware of your activities’ impact on other campers and their environment by avoiding bad etiquette. Here’s a list of things that you don’t want to do:

Block access to roads or campsites. When setting up your camp, be mindful of where you place your belongings so as not to block anyone’s way. You don’t want to be that person who makes it difficult for someone else to get to their campsite.

Walk through other people’s sites without permission.

Dispose of grey water on the ground; this is water that has been used for cooking, washing dishes, or bathing. It must be disposed of in proper tanks or dumped at dump stations.

Burning wood in fire ring causing smoke

Make too much smoke. If you’re planning on having a campfire, be sure to use only dry pieces of wood so as not to produce too much smoke—it can be irritating for those downwind from you.

Don’t be selfish – share resources with others, especially during peak periods if essential facilities are limited, like toilets or showers (or anything else).

Bring firewood. Only use firewood from your current site. Don’t bring firewood from other places, as it can introduce invasive species.

Use generators excessively or late at night. Generators can be noisy, so try to use them during daylight hours and only when necessary.

Collect natural resources such as firewood from the campsite unless explicitly allowed by campground authorities; taking what isn’t yours without permission is both disrespectful and illegal!

Don’t forget to pay fees for your camping spot, or don’t underestimate their importance; fees help maintain necessary amenities such as running water and toilets, which can make the difference between a pleasurable experience in nature and an uncomfortable one where basic needs are not met.

Bull elk feeding by RV trailer

Disrupt wildlife. Remember that you are visiting their home, so please be respectful of the local wildlife. Do not try to feed them, as this can disrupt their natural habits and even make them rely on humans for food instead of foraging for themselves.

Please don’t leave garbage around—animals will rummage through it looking for food and then may become tangled in it or ingest harmful materials, which can be detrimental or even fatal.

Litter. This should go without saying, but don’t leave trash behind on your site or anywhere else in the campground. Not only is it unsightly, but it can also attract animals who might rummage through your belongings looking for food scraps.

Cut down trees without permission; some campgrounds will have strict rules about cutting down live trees and branches for firewood, so check beforehand if this is allowed before doing anything that could incur penalties from authorities (which vary depending on jurisdiction and campground).

Leave outdoor lights on all night. Decorative lights may look nice, but they can get really annoying to campers at the next site; the same goes for bright lights. So turn off lights (9 pm is a good rule of thumb), and if you must have one on all night to illuminate your steps, make sure it is low wattage.

Damage plant life or natural features. Don’t pick flowers, carve into trees, or damage rocks or geological formations. Instead, leave nature as you found it so that others can enjoy it too.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you need help with how to operate something or where something is, feel free to ask your fellow campers. Chances are, they’ll be happy to help out. Just remember to return the favor if they need assistance!

Don’t forget to have fun! Camping is supposed to be enjoyable, so take some time to relax and enjoy yourself. Unplug from technology and appreciate being in nature.

Be a Good Neighbor

Camping is a great way to get away from it all and enjoy some time in nature. But even in the wilderness or a campground, being mindful of those around you is crucial.

By following these simple tips, you can help ensure everyone has a pleasant stay at the campground. So pack your bags (but don’t forget your trash bags!), grab some marshmallows and hot dogs, and head on out into the great outdoors!

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The western part of the country draws me with its mountains, deserts, and red rock vistas. Still, there are numerous other wonders I'm ready to explore., from Maine's rugged coast to California's Big Sur cliffs and everywhere between.