Campground Etiquette - Be a Good Neighbor

Roll out the welcome mat and bring your manners to the campground!
We've had good luck with camping neighbors.  Along the way, we have camped with friends.  We have camped next to complete strangers that were happy to hang out and were very friendly.  And then there is that dreaded neighbor that you are hoping will hitch up and haul out before breakfast.  Which neighbor are you?

Campground etiquette isn't all about being friendly.  Be the camper that you would want to camp alongside.  Applying the golden rule to your camping experience can go a long way.

Before your unhook and crank up that pop-up camper, make sure you are in the right spot.  That motorhome you see in the background is actually in our spot.  They had just kind of settled in to the site of their choosing.  

Check into your assigned spot

While you might see a better spot that is not occupied, that doesn't mean someone won't be coming to check into that spot later in the day.  If the campground has assigned you a spot, check into that spot and follow directions.

If friends have reserved adjacent spots, this can affect more than one camper.  Plus, lots of campers go online and meticulously select spots.  These campers want the spot they requested.  There is nothing worse than getting to the campground and finding out your primo spot was snatched up for a rogue camper.

If you really want a different spot than the one you were selected and it isn't occupied, ask the park staff about swapping to another spot.  But, follow the part protocol and procedures.

Keep Your Music and Personal Volume in Check

While we were recently camping, our neighbors played their music loud enough that I could hear it in my camper all afternoon.  It wasn't the worst music ever, but it wasn't my choice either.  At some campgrounds, sites are close together.  Be conscious of other campers.

This also applies to your personal volume.  If you have seen the sign, "I'm sorry about what I said during set up."   Yeah.  You know those campers.  You may have even been those campers.  But, no one wants to hear family squabbles and shouting.  Camping is a public place.  Remember that so that you aren't exposing everyone to every word coming out of your mouth.

Observe Quiet Hours

Most campgrounds have quiet hours.  Be sure to know what they are and stick to it.  This applies to midnight emergencies to the restroom or to let a dog out.  We have camped next to a family that was up and down all night.  They were slamming doors, talking loudly and making lots of noise at 2 in the morning.   While our son slept through this, I did not.  (insert sad, sleepy face here)

Observe quiet hours for the sake of everyone at the campground.

Don't Bring Your Own Firewood

We always buy our firewood at the campsite or at a local firewood stand.  Bringing in firewood from other locations can promote harmful insect infestations into forests where you are camping.  It may save you money to load up the bed of your truck with firewood you have at home, but it can be costly to the local ecosystem.  Find out more about the harmful effects of moving firewood to foreign locations at Don't Move Firewood.

Don't bring your own firewood.  Buy at the campground or a local stand.

Keep Your Gear in Check

Make sure that you are hanging your hammocks on your site.  Or that your gear or cars are not spilling into someone else's spot.  Each campsite is a personal space for the family, group or individual that is camping there.  Be mindful and don't have your bikes and gear scattered all about.

Stay on Designated Paths

Don't use another campsite as your own personal cut through to the bathhouse or other location.  Just like you should be mindful of your gear, be mindful of yourself.  There are designated paths and places to walk.  Stick to those.

Curb Your Dog

While you may be in nature, it is a natural setting where lots of people travel.  No one wants to step in your dog's poop.  Pick up after your animals to help keep the campground clean for everyone.

Be the Best Camper

Campground etiquette isn't just about all the things you shouldn't do.  One of the biggest things that can change the campground experience for everyone is for people to be the best camper they can be.  Ask yourself, would I want to camp next to me?  If you see someone that needs help, lend a hand.  Be polite.  Be kind.  Leave the campground better than how you found it.  Pick litter as you find it on your walk.  If we all do our part, campgrounds are really pleasant places for all of us to go!

And what do you do if someone isn't being a good neighbor?  First, assess the situation.  On our last trip, a friend came to stay for the night, her car was slightly in the drive of the next site.  The gentleman came over and asked us to move the car.  Problem solved.  For simple things, politely speak up.  It is easy to ask someone to move a vehicle or move some bikes.

For the bigger issues, ask the park staff or camp hosts to address the issue.  It is a non-confrontational way to take care of a problem.  Hopefully, you won't have any of these problems to arise, but there is nothing wrong with asking for help.  Just make sure that when you ask for help with a campground problem that you aren't screaming, loud or acting worse than the one that is bothering you.  You'll always attract more flies with honey.  State what is going on and calmly ask for help addressing the matter.

Finally, I usually always follow up with campgrounds after I leave to give them feedback about things that I liked and concerns that I may have.  This is a good time to bring up little things that the park can be on the lookout for next time.

We love camping.  We've not had really bad experiences, but we know that not every camper is polite and thoughtful.  Even though we can't control what other people do, we can do our part to make the campground a better place.  Be a leader and lead by the example you set!  This is especially true if you have little eyes watching you at the campground.  Little ones do grow into their parents at some point.

Until next time...