Three Things at Every RV Park

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June 26, 2011

In the years we’ve been full-timing we’ve stayed at almost every kind of park imaginable.  The parks range from the no-frills, along the highway, overnight stops, to the middle-of-nowhere camping and fishing locations with national park hiking trails staring right in the park, to the top-end luxury resorts for Class-A MHs only.  Amazingly, there are 3 things that we’ve found at every place we have stayed.

Now, before I go on, I want to clarify that these 3 things are not isolated to RV parks; I’ve run across them in every community area that I’ve been in.  It seems that it is human nature to engage in these 3 activities; and that no matter where you go, you will find these 3 things.  So, if it seems to happen everywhere, why am I surprised that it happens in RV parks?  Well, I guess I was just overly optimistic about the nature of the camping community, and thought that campgrounds, that are filled with friendly people sharing a common love of RVing/camping, might be the exception to the rule.

Of course, as well all know, campers and RVers are people, too; so, it really should not be a surprise that they fall into the same traps found in all other communities.  So, what are the 3 things that I’m talking about?

  1. Cigarette butts on the ground—and some cigar butts now and then.  Yes, every park I have stayed in, no matter how nice or how often the grounds are cleaned, have cigarette butts on the ground.  Granted, some campgrounds are worse than others, but they all have cigarette butts.  Personally, I don’t smoke, but I do not mind if other people smoke.  I do dislike seeing any form of trash on the ground, especially in a campground, and it seems that the most abundant form of litter that I run across is cigarette butts.
  2. People putting their clothes in the washer or dryer and then leaving so that when someone else comes in to do their laundry, the machine is sitting there after the cycle is over.  While most parks have signs stating that if you leave your laundry someone may remove them from the machine, when I’m doing my laundry, the last thing I want to do it to take someone else’s clothes out of the machine.  It is annoying enough with the dryer, but to remove someone’s wet clothes from the washer is really annoying—especially since you are never really sure what to do with wet clothes.
  3. Finally, people not picking up their dog’s poop (as my grandson would call it). I once saw a “pile” at the base of a pole that had a container with bags for your dog, a trash receptacle, and a sign stating that it is a $175 fine for not picking up after your dog. Come on, that one had to be intentional. I’m staying at the Fredericksburg RV Park (Fredericksburg, Texas) and they have a poem in their park guide (the booklet with the map, ads, rules, etc.): If your puppy does his business in a place where people stroll, then for the sake of all of us, picking it up should be your goal. If it’s beneath your dignity to stop and scoop it up, then maybe in reality you shouldn’t own a pup.

Why am I sharing these 3 slightly annoying items?  I guess that they were just my little disappointments about joining the RV community–my dose of reality.  What other campground etiquette issues do you run across in your travels?

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  1. I agree with what you said and really don’t understand why smokers think that people who go camping would want to see the same thing, cig. butts, that they see in the city. Rving is for getting back to nature in many ways away from the norm.
    As to the clothes being left in a washer or dryer, move them out.
    Now, as to the pet poop, I totally agree. you think they leave it in their yards back home. Maybe..
    My attention on the pets is that most parks require leases to be used. Many I see have no lease and they wonder over to your site to visit and to bark or just wonder. The lack of respect for others always bothers me. I like pets but, if I bring one follow all the rules. They really are for the best for all of us.

  2. Hoby


    I also agree with LNT and agree that it really is a personal responsibility issue–if everyone picked up after themselves, all would be well. And, as I mentioned, it is not just campers that do this–you see it just about everywhere. And, I have to admit, I try not to grumble too much, but just felt like grumbling the day I sat down to write about my adventures (and had just arrived at a park where I had to pick up several presents left by previous dogs when I arrived).

    We also have an outside tv that we rarely use; it seems only a few campgrounds are set up where you can use that tv without bothering others. It is nice when we are in the right kind of park, though.

    Genevieve, have you ever eaten at a Rudy’s BBQ joint? They have signs telling people to clean up after themselves because “your mother does not work here.” I guess I camp in the wrong places, because while I do see some candy wrappers and gum, the number of cigarette butts far exceeds any other single item of trash I find. Maybe I should look for a different type of campground 😉



  3. I agree with Dave too … the candy wrappers and gum are also annoying. It’s so frustrating to find trash around a campsite. Yes, dog poop and cigarette butts are gross too. People should just have the courtesy to pick up after themselves. Makes you want to put up a sign, “Your mother doesn’t live here… pick up after yourself!”

  4. Dave Planitzer

    Like I said — if everyone practiced “leave no trace” there would not be a problem.
    I also think it comes down to personal discipline or responsibility. Some folks just don’t care and their habits probability would show up at their home as well. Not muck we can do about it but grumble.

    Jon, Cutting thru campsites and loud music or TV bother me as well, particularly with kids and when not on the way to the bathhouse. Caring parents should show the kids proper etiquette around other people. I have cut thru as a shortcut to the bathhouse or store but try to pick a site without a vehicle or other sign of occupancy.

    Good post!

  5. Hoby

    Jon, I share your annoyance with people cutting through your site (especially a gravel site and 1 am on a cool night when the windows are open). Some campgrounds do an excellent job helping keep this from happening by adding walkwa ys as appropriate. Some campgrounds do not. For example, there is one KOA I stay at with long, long rows of sites. Our site is near the facilities, so people always cut through. While this is annoying, I also look at their side of the story…if they cut through it is 50 feet to the shower; if they go around it is over 200 yards to the shower. I can understand their choice. Another campground we stay at has a similar setup, but have a walkway near the middle of the rows, giving people an option besides the 200 yard walk. This is actually one of those annoying items that the campgrounds can actually help eliminate with design changes. Thanks for the note.

  6. Jon

    We always take our two dogs with us when we go camping. I have the pooper scooper with me to clean up after them. Have seen people start to walk away from their pets mess and ask them to please clean up so I don’t step in it. When after setting things up around the camp site we walk around it and clean up and trash that maybe laying around. The butts are the biggest problem. It is a problem with all ages of people it runs amoung all types of campers. The other thing that bothers me is people cutting thru your campsite as a short cut.

  7. Hoby


    Thanks for the comments and I appreciate that you use an ashtry for your cigarette butts. So, if I understand correctly, your solution is for anyone who does not like these things to pick up all the cigarette butts, trash, and dog poop (in their own plastic bag), take everyone’s clothes out of the machine, and quit complaining. I suppose that is one valid approach. Actually, I already do this; I clean up the trash around my site, when I walk my dog I have bags so I pick up any presents from others that I find, and I do remove the clothes–sometimes I even fold them if I’m taking them out of the dryer since I’m standing there waiting for my own clothes anyway. My thought is that since I do pick up after others I’ve earned the right to complain every now and then.

    I wonder though, what if the people who are inconsiderate would change their ways–do you think that might also be a solution? 😉



  8. Dave Planitzer

    I have to agree…but:
    1. I am a smoker and I use an ash tray in my site. Butts bother me too as well as candy wrappers, loose trash bags, etc. If you see this stuff pick it up. I believe in LNT.
    2. If there is no one around to claim the wet (or dry) clothes I would remove them. There is usually a table or something to put them on.
    3. I agree. First, dogs should be on a leash then their owners can see where they have gone. Never leave camp without a plastic bag. Problem solved.
    Quit bitchen.