Campground Etiquette (USA)

I had to talk to a picnicker today about where he was having his lunch.  I started remembering other times when people weren’t familiar with different aspects of campground etiquette. They seem like common sense to me but maybe that’s because I learned them as a child.  Maybe these things will be helpful to you who are either new to camping/RVing or new to the USA camping culture.

1. Basics:  Do not annoy other campers.  A “good” camper is self-sufficient, quiet, only uses the area they pay for and leaves the site as clean or cleaner than they found it.

2. Respect other camper’s space; whether they are present or not.  Don’t walk through a campsite that you have not rented unless you are invited.  Just because the renter is not in the campsite at the moment, does not mean you can use it until they get back.  That would be like someone sitting down at your dinner table while you are in the restroom.

3.  Don’t use soap (of any kind) or leave food waste at the water faucets.  It attracts animals (from mice to bears).

4.  Use flush toilets for human waste and toilet paper only.   Flush toilets in campgrounds can handle the toilet paper supplied but cannot handle feminine products or “flushable wipes”.  This is because the septic systems are usually not as robust as a city sewer system.  We have noticed that campers, from countries that do not have good sewer systems, put their used toilet paper in the garbage can or on the floor.  If this describes you, be assured that our toilets are always designed to accommodate used toilet paper.  (Kleenex is not toilet paper.)

5.  Pit/vault or portable toilets should be used in the same manner as flush toilets.  You may think, “hhmm, big hole, no plumbing issues here.”  However, the hose used to pump the waste out of these toilets will get clogged if there is garbage, rocks or other non-biodegradable debris in the tank.  (By “biodegradable” I mean within a couple weeks, not years.)

6. Pay your fees before you camp.  You wouldn’t wait until you are leaving the theater before you pay for the movie, would you?

7.  “Green” wood does not burn; it just smokes a lot.  If the stick snaps, cracks and breaks, it will burn.  “Green” wood refers to wood cut from a tree that was recently alive.  Depending on the area climate, it could take a year for the wood to dry out enough to use in a campfire.

8.  Nails from pallets don’t burn and they are difficult to remove.  So, if you must burn pallets, remove all the nails first.  (RIGHT!  That’s why most campgrounds don’t let you burn pallets.  You may try showing them the huge magnet that you’ll use after the firepit cools though.)

9.  Look up before you set up your tent.  A tree that is leaning, especially if it is uprooted, is a hazard.

These are not in order of importance.  Some may be stating the obvious but, like I said, things that are common sense to some are not so obvious to others.

Happy Camping!  And enjoy the tranquility.

Tillicum Beach Sunset
Tillicum Beach Sunset

2 thoughts on “Campground Etiquette (USA)”

  1. Read posted camp rules before setting up camp.
    Parents,etc., before letting children loose, make sure they know the rules and regulations. Bicycling-helmets required, follow rules -only bicycle roadways and in direction of traffic.
    Show children how to flush camp toilets. Use toilet before going to showers.
    Have water by fires. Garbage does not belong in fire pits. Hot fires left unattended are hazardous.
    Pets attended at all times. Leave pets home if unable to have pets with you at all times.
    Whiskeytown NRA, CA, has interesting rules. -Sleeping in vehicle not permitted. Unattended pets will be impounded. Campsites must be cleaned, including cigarette butts, prior to departure.
    -I guess I campground host too often…

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