Campground Etiquette – A thing of the past?

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May 31, 2011

Just spent a great Memorial Day weekend in Shenandoah National Park at the Big Meadows Campground. Beautiful weather, s’mores, children playing, great hikes.

Overall people were friendly, no loud drinking parties, but I was amazed by how clueless some people were to the ‘unwritten’ rules of camping. And since they’re ‘unwritten’, how are they supposed to know them? So I’ll write them down here and feel free to add any I may have missed:

1. My campsite is my home. Please don’t walk through it to save 10 steps on visiting the bathroom or your buddy in the next site. If those 10 steps to the toilet will make a world of difference, just ask for permission. You wouldn’t walk in my front door and out my back door in my house and a campsite is no different. If you know this rule, then pass it on to the next generation of campers as it seems the worst offenders are those under 15 years of age.

2. Quiet time is just that ‘QUIET time’. Voices carry in a campground, tents do not muffle sounds coming from inside, and even a quick burst of laughter can wake the dead. Alcohol seems to reduce hearing and increase voice volume.

3. If you need to leave early in the morning, pack up as much as you can the night before. And when packing the car in the morning, open the door once and leave it open until you are ready to leave.

4. I like music. You like music. But we may not like the same music. Keep it low or wear headphones.

5. Say ‘HELLO’ to EVERYONE. Campers are very friendly and love to talk.

All these ‘rules’ are basically common courtesy that will lead to a great camping experience for all. We all have the common desire to have a great time in the outdoors and have our kids share in a great experience.

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  1. JaniceRN

    Thanks for the reminders of camping etiquette. I will be sure to go over these with my grandchildren next time we go out. Re: real camping. I think it would be safe to say a large amount of us started out “real camping”. But as we got older, so did our needs. I could no more tent camp today, than walk on Mars. Just too old and too many health problems. But that doesn’t mean I have to give up camping. I love my travel trailer and still love camping. Happy camping – “real” or not. 🙂

  2. Thanks for sharing these tips. It’s a good reminder. We should all practice common courtesy and be good neighbors, it’s the right thing to do. It will make for a much more enjoyable time for everyone.

    Yes, and I agree…slamming car doors early in the morning,,,not a good thing.

  3. Kaylee

    “real” camping doesn’t involve awnings, porches and neighbours. Just saying….

    ~north of wawa~

  4. Donna Rock

    Thank you for addressing “Campground Etiquette.” While in California Camping we got up to find a small tent and two motorcycles pitched under our RV awning. We could not believe our eyes. My husband wanted to go out and speak with the two guys. I thought better and started up our generator to wake them up. They had even folded up our chairs and moved our table to pitch their tent in the shade of our awning. They ran out of their tent, packed up and took off. Just too darn rude.
    Also please add to your camping etiquette list picking up after your animals. I walk a cat and always carry a bag to pick up after him. Just makes for great camping and good neighbors.

  5. Kim Parish

    I am soooo with you. We had a lot of standing watter and wet ground at the camp ground we were at. The road was not wet, but people insisted on walking through the mud (including at our campsite) and getting our rug, yes they came up on our rug, muddy instead of taking the road. I was working in the kitchen and looked out the window to find strange adults (not children) standing under my awning. Scared me half to death. We usually camp with a group so we feel pretty secure, but strangers on your “front porch” is a little unnerving. Most people who camp often know better, but I think at the beginning of the season you get a lot of new people who need some guidance.

  6. Scott S

    Funny I knew those rules long time ago and as I have taught my kids and new to camping wife its a way to keep others friendly when you respect there space and be friendly.

  7. Tom Harris

    We (my side of the family) grew up camping. And we could see the difference in the last few years that people in general forgot how to interact with groups of people. And that really does not matter where your at. Camping, work, school, church, or anywhere else.

    My wife and our 2 kids (age 10 & 7) work very hard on basic camping rules.. Quite hour, Even though we are outside does not mean scream, use the roadway, cut down the center of an unused sight if you need to cut through. And a big one for me – just be polite and say Hello when passing someone.

    This past weekend when camping my son said to me, ….”man dad you sure know a lot of people, where-ever we go camping you run into someone you know”….

    My answer was – son I did not know them till I said “Hello”
    and he said well I guess if I am know and say hello I might meet someone tooo….

    So with this closing thought….. Hello…….

  8. Lou Dunn

    On the article on camping etiquette I have found out a little “briefing” to the kids on respecting other peoples property, campsite and quiet time works pretty good. The briefing should also be given to adult guests that you might bring along so they also know the “unwritten rules” which is common courtesy. Happy Camping.