Basic Camping and Campground Etiquette

Dustin and Sarah Bauer's Tiffin Wayfarer parked at a campsite under blue skies by a lake

There are so many benefits to camping, and people do it for a lot of different reasons—to get away from city life, to explore nature, to spend quality time with friends and family, or to simply enjoy a more nomadic lifestyle. Regardless of when, where and why you camp, there are some basic rules that every camper and RVer should follow.

Dustin and Sarah Bauer's RV parked at a campsite next to a lake

  1. Respect Your Neighbor

    Always be respectful and mindful of other people’s space and privacy. Never enter someone else’s campsite or even walk through a portion of it. If you’re boondocking or camping in a more remote place, try not to set up your RV or tent in a place that will block someone’s view, infringe on their space or inhibit them from moving. When you pass a fellow camper, you can offer a friendly hello but never join their campfire, cookout or enter their RV without an invitation. Make sure that your children and pets are also mindful of these same boundaries. Simply put, follow the golden rule: always treat others and their camping space how you would like to be treated.

  2. Watch Your Speed and Parking

    If you’re at a campground, always try to stay in designated parking and camping spots. Avoid driving on any grasses, landscaping or places that aren’t clearly marked for cars or RVs. Many campgrounds have specific speed limits that should always be followed, and these also apply to things like motor bikes and ATVs. If you plan to have guests at your campsite, make sure their vehicles aren’t blocking a road, entrance or exit. You can always check and see if your campground has any visitor or overflow parking. 

  3. Keep the Noise Down

    Be mindful of noise levels and always observe camp quiet hours. Typical campground quiet hours are from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. This doesn’t mean you have to go to bed at 10 p.m., but it does mean that you should turn your music off, move any group activities inside and keep your lights to a minimum. Try to let the other people around you get a good night’s rest. Some other ways to help keep noise levels down: avoid slamming doors, use hand signals to communicate and try not to run your generator late into the night. In fact, some campgrounds have dedicated generator hours to help combat the noise so be sure and check these once you arrive.

    Dustin and Sarah Bauer's generator

  4. Mind Your Campfire

    Never leave your campfire unattended, and make sure it is completely out when you are finished. Never put trash into your campfire—things like cans, plastic and glass can explode and release harmful toxins into the air. Not everyone likes campfires or enjoys the smoke smell, so try to avoid burning your fire too close to other people’s campsites. And be aware of what is above and around your campfire as well. Low tree branches, dry brush, even your RV’s awning can all be potential fire hazards if your campfire is too close.

  5. Use Local Firewood

    Speaking of campfires, be very careful about what firewood you use. Never move firewood from one campsite to another or bring it from out of town, as this can spread diseases between plants and introduce invasive species. Many states and parks have quarantines in place to help prevent the spread of such things. You can often find good deals on firewood at local grocery stores or within the campground itself. 

  6. Plan Your Parties

    Thinking about having a celebration at your campsite? Gathering with friends and families while camping can be a lot of fun but you should always let your neighbors know. Make your neighbors aware that other people will be joining you and reassure them that the party won’t infringe on their personal space.

  7. Look Out For Your Pets

    Keep your pets leashed, and be sure to follow specific campground rules regarding designated pet areas and vaccination statuses. Some campgrounds will require that your pet be fully up-to-date on their vaccines and shots before entering. Always pick up after your pet, as animal waste can attract wild animals and spread illnesses. Some campgrounds have specific areas where you can walk your pet, and they often provide disposable bags for clean-up, so utilize these as much as possible. And lastly, never leave your pets unattended or tethered outside. This can also attract wildlife and some pets are more prone to bark or make noise when left alone.

    Dustin and Sarah Bauer's dog leash and zero plastic doggy bags

  8. Practice Wildlife Safety

    Never approach, feed, handle, or harass any wildlife. Respect their space and give them the chance to move away from you first. As you walk around the campground, be cautious, as some animals like to hide in bushes and rocky areas. You can enjoy viewing wildlife from a safe distance, but remember this is their home and we are the visitors. 

  9. Follow Individual Rules

    Rules will vary depending on if you’re staying at a campground, RV park, Hipcamp, or Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land. Each area will have different things that they allow or don’t allow. When in doubt, ask a camp host, ranger, volunteer, or look for any posted signs. Try to do some research on your specific location before you arrive. You don’t want to do something that could get you kicked out or fined.

  10. Observe Check-In and Check-Out Times

    Before you arrive at your campsite, check to see what time you’re allowed to access your spot and try to honor this time. This is also a good chance to make sure you have all the necessary permits, licenses and registrations. Sticking to designated times allows for the campsites to be cleaned and maintained in between visitors, and can help you avoid unnecessary tickets or late fees.

  11. Minimize Light Pollution

    When camping, especially at night, try to use as little artificial light as possible. Not only is this nice for your fellow campers, but it’s also better for stargazing and any wildlife that is active at night. Use a headlamp or small lantern instead of a large flashlight, and make sure any light coming off your RV or car is contained to just your campsite.

  12. Leave No Trace

    Always keep your campsite clean and tidy. Trash can attract wild animals and damage the surrounding plant life. Be respectful of the local landscapes and ecosystems surrounding your campsite as well. Try to avoid driving off designated roads, cutting down trees, or hanging and nailing things to branches. Make a point to leave your campsite better than you found it. Before we leave a campground, we like to take five minutes and collect any extra trash, including harmful microplastics. A little effort can make a big impact.

    Dustin Bauer picking up garbage at his campsite

Class C Motorhomes

Class C motorhomes offer outdoor experiences for larger families at a lower price point than Class A Motorcoaches. Recognizable by their raised sleeping or storage areas which extend over the cab of the RV, Class C Motorhomes offer more living space than Class B Motorhomes but are smaller in size and can offer better gas mileage than Class A Motorcoaches.

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