My background is in accounting and auditing and I am very much a rule-follower, but my husband is just the opposite. He, on the other hand, is very charming and gets away with a lot. 😏 Camping etiquette, however, is about being a good neighbor, which we both want to be.
The list below is not in the order of importance. I think if you had ten people rank the list, you would get many variations. I have tried to organize the information into just a few categories. Also, remember to observe and obey the rules at your particular campground.
- Respect Your Neighbor’s Space
This was the area where I received the most feedback. Do not run, walk, or bike across an occupied site. Do not allow pets or children to invade the area. Do not block access to the site. These were all mentioned multiple times in the feedback I received. Park in the middle of your campsite or in such a way that you allow neighbors on both sides adequate space.
- Control Noise
Respect quiet hours, generally from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Run generators only in the daytime. Keep music at low levels that extend only to your campsite. Use quiet voices, especially when arriving late. Don’t leave outdoor TV on when not there and don’t leave outdoor speakers on when inside. At night, don’t slam doors and double click remote door locks if horn beeps. Don’t let diesel engines idle unnecessary.
Always thoroughly put out fires before going to bed or leaving. Be sure to have enough water to ensure fire is out. Do not leave fires unattended. Do not burn trash, plastic, or styrofoam as this creates very unpleasant odors. Build fires only in designated areas and not where it will allow smoke to drift to open windows. Do not allow cigarette to smoke go into campsites of others. (In the responses I received, it was acknowledged that controlling where the smoke goes can be difficult.)
Don’t bring firewood from other areas as this may bring non-native insects that can devastate an area. I did not previously know the reasons for this; it is always good to know the why.
- Clean and Tidy
Keep hoses, power lines, and sewer lines as close to your rig as possible for groundskeeping. Keep your campsite neat and tidy and don’t let trash accumulate around your site. Don’t use the fire ring as a garbage can. Clean up after yourself in bathrooms.
Leave your campsite clean for the next camper. Do not leave garbage or cigarette butts behind. Put everything back to original spots if moved.
- Water Issues
Don’t wash dishes in the bathhouse. Don’t take longer than necessary showers if others as waiting. Appropriately dispose of grey water.
These next items are a bit unfamiliar to me as we have a teardrop, but I am including for those who have a black water tank. Don’t dump at campsite that does not have full hook-ups; use dump station. Don’t dump while neighbors are eating. Don’t leave black water tank valve open at full hook-up site as it can result in a “pyramid of poo”. I don’t know exactly how that works, but it sounds really bad.
Turn off lights when going to bed, generally during quiet hours. Do not leave outside lights on overnight. Many people mentioned lights left on at night as an issue, though often they specified bright or LED lights.
When arriving late or departing early, use lowlights. If setting up or tearing down in the dark, use flashlights.
Teach children to be respectful of others and their camping space. Teach them to not leave bikes, toys, etc. in the road. Don’t let them over utilize the bandwidth by excessive use of the Internet.
Don’t use bad language that children can hear. Also, keep in mind that children are there to have fun.
Keep pets on a leash and limit barking. Clean up after your pets and do not allow them into the campsites of others. Don’t leave a barking dog at a campsite. Do not walk your dog during quiet hours, which causes all other dogs in the area to bark. Don’t wash pet bedding in public washers unless you intend to clean them after you have used them.
- Interactions with Neighbors
Greet neighbors and be friendly and polite. With new arrivals, give them time to set up before going to talk to them. However, do offer help if it appears it is needed. Be friendly, but do not overstay when talking as walking by. Leave any leftover firewood you may have for the next camper or give it to a neighbor. Share excess goodies if you have them.
Don’t feed the wildlife. They remember where they have been fed and will come back for more. The results can be a nuisance to others and may also be dangerous.
Many people mentioned the Golden Rule and just being considerate and respectful of others, which is at the heart of the desired behavior. We are all in very close proximity in a campground and our behavior can significantly impact others and their ability to enjoy their vacations. I prefer to know the things that can irritate others so I can be as considerate as possible.
The items in this post originated from comments from camping groups and multiple camping etiquette documents. I hope you will find it useful!
Enjoy Camping and Your Neighbors!