Campground Etiquette

During my years of tenting and RVing, I’ve seen and heard of  things that really defy comprehension. This is my tongue-in-cheek salute to the  folks that cause so many tongues to wag in the campground and on the Internet.  Any resemblance to people living or dead is purely coinci…… is purely  coinciden……aww heck, I can’t even type it. If you recognize yourself on this  page, it’s probably because I’ve camped near you in the past or your exploits  have been repeated around a few campfires.

Rule #1: Always remember that the rules are for  everyone….else. If somebody mentions that you’re ruining their camping  experience, be sure to tell them very loudly that you paid (insert number of  $$$$$ here) so you can do whatever you want. At this point, logic and  enunciation are meaningless, volume is everything. When in doubt about any of  your actions, always refer to Rule #1.

Rule #2: The purpose of a campfire is to provide a navigational  beacon to the space shuttle or other orbiting satellites. Build it up as high as  you can, for as long as you can. Don’t worry if nearby campers start melting;  you’re providing a valuable service to NASA. If they complain, they must be  communists.

Rule #3: When camping in bear or raccoon country, leave your  food scraps laying around the campsite at night. Your neighbors will surely  enjoy the opportunity to interact with the local wildlife. You’re doing them a  favor actually, especially if they’re light sleepers and sleep with a camera  next to the bed.

Rule #4: If it’s not nailed down, then it must be complimentary  – like the little soaps and shampoos in a hotel room. But don’t stop at the  small stuff. Paper towels from the restroom is for rookies. Wasn’t the little  woman nagging you about a new picnic table? They’re laying around all over the  place. They probably multiply at night during the off season. Just load it up  after dark the night before you leave (so as not to disturb your neighbors ;-) ,  then drive out about 6 AM (more on early morning departure etiquette in a later  rule). If you have extra room, grab a fire ring and one of those cute decorative  planters by the office. Don’t worry – nobody’s at work that early.

Rule #5: You’re not just renting a site; you’re renting the  entire campground. It’s true. Check the county real estate records. Your site  isn’t listed on there but the entire campground is. So feel free to spread out  when setting up. And if you need to cut through somebody else’s site on the way  to the pool, go ahead – you paid for it all. They’re probably city folks anyway  and don’t realize how much they miss that close neighborly contact.

Rule #6: When you go to a strange campground, the nice  folks at the office are likely to give you a map with the site circled and a  little squiggly line showing you how to get there. Just pretend to look at it in  the office and absolutely do NOT look at it after you leave the office. Secret  government studies have shown that looking at these maps may cause your hair to  fall out, give you halitosis, or cause you to default on your mortgage. Instead,  wander aimlessly through the campground looking for the best site. You’ll get to  socialize with folks you meet on one way streets (as you’re going in the wrong  direction). You’ll also have another opportunity to talk with the campground  staff when you set up in someone else’s reserved site. And it’s just plain good  practice to set up and break camp several times in one day.

Rule #7: Check out times are not carved in stone. You  rented this site and it is yours until you are darn ready to leave. Take your  time to carefully fold up that tent. That Fifth wheel waiting to park can drive  around until you pull out. (Contributed by Dale AKA FormerBiker)

Rule #8: If you are a day user, don’t bother to pay the day use fee and  park in the appropriate area. Just drive around until you find a camp site where  the people have gone into town shopping. They have a tag on the camp site so the  host will think you are the one who paid. (Contributed by Dale AKA FormerBiker)

Rule #9: If you find a site that you like and it is reserved, just remove  the sign and no one will know. Now it is your site. Be sure to set up all of  your stuff and then leave on a full day hike so they can’t throw you out.  (Contributed by Dale AKA FormerBiker)

Rule #10: If you are camping with a dog you must NOT under any  circumstances let your dog relieve himself on your own site. Walk your dog  ‘only’ on other peoples sites, and the designated potty area is under your  neighbors picnic table. Don’t worry, probably nobody ever used your current  site for the same purpose. (Contributed by A. Nonni Mouse)

Rule #11: This rule is probably best illustrated by a  game. You’ll get the most enjoyment out of the game if you have several  co-players – family or friends will do, but make sure both sexes are  represented. Check the times on the nearest bath house when it will be closed  for cleaning. 5 minutes before closing time send 1 person into each shower. Take  long, hot showers. 20 or 30 minutes should do the trick. Don’t worry, the  campground workers will enjoy the unscheduled break. Now, when they finally get  in to clean the restrooms, wait until they have to leave for more paper towels.  Then someone else sneak in and start another shower. They’ll probably get so far  behind schedule that the owner will have to pay them overtime, so they  appreciate the game also. For bonus points, when checking out complain to the  owner or manager that it was almost impossible to get into the showers and they  seemed to always be filthy. This will usually ensure that you have new  campground players for your next visit.

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