RV Campground Etiquette: 10 Things to Never Do

Springs means camping. And camping also means RV campgrounds.

Unfortunately, not everyone is familiar with how campgrounds work. Or what some of the written and unwritten rules of RV campground etiquette are.

RV Campground Etiquette - What Never to Do at a RV Campground

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links for various products below. You get the same low prices and we earn a small commission to help us buy more RV tailgating gadgets. Or game tickets if you go on a shopping spree.

To help everyone out, here are some of the things to never do at an RV campground:

Never Fail to Read Campground Rules

Every RV campground will have rules about what you can and cannot do in the campground. For most campgrounds, you can read ahead before your arrival on their website. And they are also going to given to you when you check in or they are posted at the office for you to read.

Some common rules include quiet hours (when you need to stop running generators and turn down outside music), whether you can have pets in your RV, and whether you can wash your rig in your campsite.

It’s important that you follow the campground rules. Mostly because if you fail to follow the rules, the campground management can kick you out. And that would surely put a damper on your RV camping trip.

Many of the rest of these rules are probably covered in the campground rules

Never Spread Out Your Traveling Group

As RV tailgaters, we tend to travel in packs, to support our favorite teams or even vacation together.

Always work with the other RVers in your traveling group to reserve sites close together. Many RV campgrounds will even let you reserve a block of sites together and each pay for their own space.

It is important to get your group close together for a lot of reasons:

  1. You have more fun if you are all parked close together.
  2. It’s easier to coordinate cooking and meals when you are parked in a group.
  3. You are less likely to trip over obstacles the less you have to walk in the dark between campsites.
  4. When you are loud and obnoxious, you are less likely to disturb other people not in your group.

Sometimes, it is unavoidable and you can’t get everyone together. And that leads to the next tip.

Never “Cut Through” Occupied Campsites

Hang out in any Facebook group for more than a few days and you’ll see lots of complaints about people cutting through RV sites.

Don’t cut through other people’s campsites. In some places, this could even be considered trespassing.

Some people are just anti-social and there’s nothing you will do to change that. Other people have kids or dogs in the area that won’t react well to you cutting through (especially if you are cutting through with another dog).

In all cases, it’s just rude. That’s their space and they deserve privacy and seclusion as much as you do.

Even at tailgates, be mindful of your neighbors, especially if they are not part of your group. I know that we can all be more relaxed in our rules at the tailgate, but be mindful of each others’ spaces.

It is okay to cut through unoccupied spots though.

RV Campground Review: McKinney Campground at Lake Allatoona, Georgia

Never Overflow Your Space

Who is ready for a weekend of NASCAR tailgating at Atlanta Motor Speedway?Just as you need to be mindful of other people’s spaces by not cutting through their sites, you need to respect their space by not overflowing your own RV camping site and into theirs.

This means chairs, tents, dogs, kids, bikes, games, and any other outdoor gear.

It also means any tow or towed vehicles you may have. Or dollies to tow your vehicle.

Even at the tailgate lot, be mindful of what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. Again, we may be more relaxed when you have RV tailgated with the same people for years and have a community of sorts.

This is especially important on the road, when the home football tailgate rules don’t always apply.

And yes, it can be really hard sticking to your spots, especially in certain circumstances like the infield RV camping at Atlanta Motor Speedway where you barely have enough room for your RV.

Never Block the Roadway Longer Than Necessary

Many RV campgrounds have one way streets and with these large behemoths that we drive, we don’t have a lot of manueverability on those roads.

So never block the roadway…. for longer than necessary.

Yes, we all know that you’ll block the roadway for a bit while you are setting up or hooking up before you leave. But do this as quickly as possible so you don’t block others coming and going.

But never leave the roadway blocked for long periods of time. Don’t park a car in the roadway and leave.

This is totally rude and could be a real danger in the case of a medical emergency or need to evacuate.

See Also: Must Have RV Safety Gear

Never Interfere With Others’ Peace and Quiet

Especially during quiet hours.

Quiet Hours: The period of time, generally at night, when you are required to turn down or off outside music and cease running generators.

Yes, this means that you’ll have to turn down the music at night.

Also, be mindful when you are coming in late at night to keep things as quiet as possible. This might mean keeping your camping setup to a minimum until everyone wakes up in the morning.

Nevers for RV Camping with Dogs

Oak Mountain State Park RV Campgrounds are dog friendly and the dogs will love the hikingWe love to go RV camping with our four-legged family members. But they have their own set of RV Campground Etiquette Rules.

Never Let Your Dog Loose

Way back at the beginning, there was mention of reading the campground rules.

One of the biggest rules is to not let your dog run loose. They must always be on a leash and under your control.

This is for their safety as well as all the other dogs and people around.

Since we are all traveling so much, we are putting our dogs in a lot of new places, with new people, and possibly new triggers. They are animals and we never know what will set them off. So keep them under your control.

Many RV campgrounds require that the leash be no more than six feet long. If this is the rule at your campground, even the nice retractable leashes aren’t permitted.

This may be annoying when you say “not my dog” but it as much for their safety as it is other dogs’ safety. Your dog may not be aggressive but other dogs may be. Keeping your dog close lets you control the situation better.

RV Campground Review: Oak Mountain State Park, Birmingham, Alabama

Never Leave a Loud Barking Dog Behind

Many people are out camping because they want to get away from the city noise and bustle. And they don’t want their peace to be invaded by a barking dog.

The occasional bark is acceptable, particularly if someone is bothering your RV. But what people get angry with is the dog that never stops barking, especially when its owners are gone.

If your dog barks a lot, consider training them to not bark. It may take figuring out their triggers, like say seeing someone walking near the RV. In which case, perhaps it is best to keep the shades drawn so your dog can’t see out.

Or using a device like a barker collar. If you are against using a barker collar, another similar alternative is an ultrasonic anti-bark device. Both devices are intended to train dogs to not bark.

I used a barker collar on Burdell when he was young and now he typically doesn’t bark unnecessarily. In fact, I used to complain that he wouldn’t bark enough when Amazon was delivering packages to my front door.

Never Leave Dog Waste Behind

You know what’s worse than stepping in dog poop? Stepping in someone else’s dog’s poop.

It’s also the quickest way to get your RV neighbors really mad at you.

And also be a danger to area wildlife and other pets.

You’ll want to keep dog poop bags handy – I like to keep a dispenser clipped right next to the door so that it easy to remember to pick up when taking the dog out for a walk.

So just pick up your poop. Dispose of it properly.

See Also: 10 Tips for RV Tailgating With Dogs

Never Leave Waste in a Fire Pit

Do not leave trash in the camp fire ring at your RV campgroundSpeaking of waste, it’s always best to pick up your waste, whether it is the dog’s poop or your own trash.

Please don’t dispose of waste in the fire pit at the campsite.

If you burn plastic in a campfire, you are releasing some dangerous chemicals and fumes that can do immediate damage to you and long-term damage to the environment.

The Family Handyman has 10 things not to burn in camp fires, including plastic.

In addition, you shouldn’t treat a fire pit as a waste container, even if you aren’t burning anything. It’s an eyesore for everyone and if you leave it behind, someone else, either the next camper or a campground employee, will have to clean it up. And who wants to clean up someone else’s trash?

Seriously, just dispose of all your waste properly.

(This picture is from the fire pit at my recent stay at Lake Gunthersville State Park in Alabama. I don’t want to see your trash or have to clean up after you. And neither should the state park staff. Always leave your camp site in a better state than when you arrived.)

RV Campground Review: Oak Plantation RV Campground, Charleston, South Carolina

Any Other RV Campground Etiquette Rules?

10 Things to Never Do at a RV Campground - RV Campground Etiquette RulesDid I miss any RV campground etiquette rules? If so, comment below with your suggestions or comments.

Like these tips? Share on Pinterest!


Kimberly

Kimberly is the owner of a Tiffin 34PA and the former owner of Starter RV, a 1990 Winnebago Chieftan. She can be found cheering for Georgia Tech, traveling the world, or working on the RV (because there's always something to do on the RV). Don't ever underestimate what she can whip up in the kitchen or accomplish on no sleep. Find out the latest from Kimberly by signing up here.

You may also like...

23 Responses

  1. Great post. It seems like these things should be common knowledge but I’ve stayed in enough camp grounds to know its not. LOL. Thanks for sharing! – Katie from Travellers-Autobarn

  2. How about never take your dog in the campground shower. Yep, we’ve camped a lot and seen it all. Even a lady who took her dog into the shower with her. That’s why you always wear your shower shoes! LOL!

    • Kimberly says:

      Oh yuck! That’s definitely something that dog owners should never do. It’s usually within the campground rules – no dogs in buildings, including the bath houses.

      Yes, I know that the dogs can get smelly and dirty, just like us humans. But that’s what you RV outdoor showers are for! And if your RV doesn’t have an outdoor shower, then get a RinseKit which should give you enough water and water pressure to wash the dog off outside.

    • Al says:

      Hi, my wife and i have not had the pleasure if using our Toyota Itasca M.H. yet, but we are planning our first two trips this summer. Thank you for the etuquite update/review. Something not mentioned is some camp sites don’t like your dump hose laying right on the ground, if it fails your $#!+ is all over. Instead get and use a hose leveler. They are like an accordion that the hose lays in. It’s also good practice while setting up your dump hose to wear latex or other non allergenic gloves. I know this is not a subject you want to hear but it’s important. Please make sure the out going end of the said hose is secure over the sewer hole, even if you have to put a rock on it. And also be sure the connection end is twisted on secure as well or you may not be allowed to come back lol lol. Thats my input, thank you. Al

      • Kimberly says:

        Al, you are correct that many campsites require that you use an RV sewer hose support of some sort. I’d argue, however, that if the hose fails, even on a support, that the $#!+ is still all over the place.

        The hose support will make it easier to drain and prevent backups though. And those backups are likely to lead to more “stuff” all over the ground. Also, by being up off the ground, it makes it easier for landscapers and others to see so that they don’t roll over the hoses and damage them.

        In any case, I do recommend that you regularly inspect your hoses to make sure that they won’t spill their contents all over the campground or dump site.

        I agree with wearing disposable gloves any time you are dealing with the waste tanks. Sure, you can wash your hands when you are done but the added protection is nice.

        Man, who else other than RVers, and maybe the parents of newborns, spend so much time talking about poop? Oh and dog owners! (I’m good for two out of the three – RVer and dog owner, but not a parent of a newborn)

        Thanks for reminding us about proper dumping etiquette Al!

        Kimberly

  3. Marsha says:

    Great post. I have been camping for 50 years and have seen manners deteriorate immensely. I would add to your list that parents controll their kids as well as their dogs. I do not want children running through my camp space nor do I want them constantly throwing their balls into my camp. Teach your children to respect others.

    • Kimberly says:

      Marsha,

      Thanks! I appreciate you stopping by. Manners have definitely gone downhill, and I say that as a Southerner raised on good manners. Parents should definitely teach children manners, and campground manners at that! Luckily, I’ve been around some great kids while camping and haven’t had horrible times with them. Hopefully, that continues.

      That being said, I’ve heard lots of complaints about kids. But I don’t blame the kids – I blame the adults if they are misbehaved. Crazy kids usually means the parents are off drinking and not paying attention to the kids. And the adults let the kids get hopped up on sugar and caffeine. Happens a lot at college baseball games too.

      Kimberly

  4. Timothy says:

    Good comments, enjoyed reading all, but one that gets us, is when your neighbor makes a sticky smoky fire. With the wind blowing at us, it basically drives us away, ruins our evening, and there is nothing we can do about it. Any ideas what we could do?

    • Kimberly says:

      Timothy,

      Smokey fires are one of those things that RV campers either love or love to hate. Personally, I don’t like smelling like a campfire forever and a day later. With as thick as my hair is, it may take several washes before I get the smell out.

      That being said, if the RV campground permits fires, there isn’t much you can do about it if your neighbors have a camp fire going. You can ask them, nicely, if they don’t mind not having one, especially if it bothers you medically. I find that if you can bring a propane fire pit to replace the smokey fire pit, that you are more likely to get a positive response. So get your propane fire pit out, and invite them to join you. You might even get some new friends. If you see that perhaps they are starting to build a fire or did the night before, be proactive and start your (propane) fire up first and invite them over. Even more likely that you’ll get a positive response if you already have yours going.

      If the campground doesn’t permit fires, or the area is in a burn ban (usually due to drought), then get the campground host or ranger to ask them to put it out.

      If there just isn’t any way to get them to stop, the best that you can do is to close up your RV windows and turn off the fan so that you minimize the smoke inside your RV or trailer.

      Kimberly

  5. Elaine Koop says:

    Drink responsibly. Rv’ing is a good time to “let your hair down”, but over doing it is embarrassing for everyone. And a bad example for the kids.

    • Kimberly says:

      Oh that’s a good one Elaine! There’s nothing like a loud drunk coming home when you are trying to sleep.

    • Sarah says:

      This reminds me of a time camping when I was younger. We kids slept through it, but my mom, and the mom of our site neighbor, drove to the nearest cell reception area and had to call the police on a group of loud (and dangerous) drunk people. They were pointing/brandishing firearms about and screaming “WHOS YOUR DADDY?!?!” in the middle of the night. The ridiculously sad part about that? Half that group was my parents’ age or older (mid-40s+!).

      • Kimberly says:

        What the what? That’s a crazy story Sarah!

        People definitely need to be responsible when it comes to drinking AND definitely when it comes to firearms! That is not proper gun safety and endangers everyone around, not just those that are participating in the shenanigans. Good for the moms for calling the cops on them. I hope that the police responded accordingly.

        Kimberly

  6. Mary says:

    if you arrive at a campground with multiple empty sites you don’t set up right next to someone else Everyone likes their space and privacy there’s no need to be right next to someone if the campground has other options

  7. Andrea says:

    Well placed solar lights a the camper steps and at pole locations is one thing but one of my camping pet peeves is excessive string/solar lights. Many campers don’t turn them off when they go to bed (yes, most solar string lights have an on/off switch). One of the campgrounds we camp at doesn’t allow them at all.

    • Kimberly says:

      Andrea,

      Yes, excessive light has long been a complaint of campers, especially if they want to do stargazing. Fortunately, most solar string lights put out relatively low amounts of light, definitely not something I can read by. But some of them, wow, I think they were trying to land a plane with all that light.

      I think all the complaints really go back to respecting your fellow camper’s space. Music, pets, kids, trash, and yes, lights all impact your neighbor. No one wants to be the fun police but all of us should remember to not do anything that will infringe on someone else’s fun, even if that is a different idea than you have of fun (some people are early to bed, early to rise, while others like to howl with the moon – to each their own). So a little respect both ways goes so far and makes it fun for everyone. And you can come out of the trip with some great camping friends.

      Thanks for stopping by Andrea! Hope you continue to enjoy the site!

      Kimberly

  8. Jason says:

    Let’s also control our alcohol intake… An obnoxious drunk is a surefire way to ruin a great campout, especially if things get so out of hand that law enforecement has to intervene…
    And WGTW?

  9. Angela Waterford says:

    Thanks for reminding me that I have to check the RV campground rules of the camp that I’m going to for our vacation trip. I think it’s wise to never spread out the traveling group unless it’s completely necessary. Since it’s wise to never overflow our space, I’ll try to find a campground that can suit our needs.

  10. Dee says:

    Here is one for the campground owners. We used to be seasonal campers at a nearby local campground. The owners sold it. The new owners came in, we liked them at first…. We soon found out they did not know how to run a campground. If you had a complaint about another camper breaking rules, too loud, messy site, loud car, whatever they would inform that camper of the complaint, but also tell them who complained. It caused a lot of problems among friends and campers who got a long well for many years. They lost many loyal, seasonal customers. We have since found another campground that we are very happy in. No tattling 🙂

    • Kimberly says:

      Dee, oh, good point! Maybe I need to write a post on what campers wish RV campgrounds owners knew or remembered!

      Kimberly

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.