Taking the family camping is a great way to get out and connect with nature. Listening to the sounds of birds chirping, streams running, and……..dogs yapping, children screeching and engines revving?
It seems good campground etiquette isn't always common sense.
Beginners Guide to Campground Etiquette
Whether you have a travel trailer or a tent, there are some basic campground etiquette rules that all campers should abide by.
Campground Etiquette with Pets
We all want to bring our furry family members along to enjoy the camping experience. However, if you do, there are some important things to keep in mind.
You might think that because you're in the wilderness you don't have to clean up after your pets. I can assure you this is far from true. Imagine arriving at your campsite, admiring the scenery, getting out your camping chairs and gear, bending down to inspect a beautiful rock or flower, and right next to it is a nice pile of dog poo. Disgusting!
Not only is this unpleasant for fellow campers, but it's also a hazard to the other wildlife. Many animals will be attracted to the waste left behind by your pet and, as gross as it is, they will eat it, get sick, and possibly die.
Additionally, if you know that your pet barks a lot when out of its comfort zone, it may be best to leave it behind. People want to enjoy the sounds of the environment, not the sound of barking dogs.
Keep your pets on a leash to ensure their safety, as well as the safety of other campers and their pets. You never know how your pet may react when you bring it to the campground.
Camping Etiquette with Kids
Making memories together as a family is one of the best parts of camping. Sitting around the campfire roasting marshmallows, discussing the adventures of the day is a great way to connect with your kids.
But there are some things to be aware of with your kids in the campground.
Rule number one is to teach your kids not to walk through other people's campsites. Taking a shortcut to the bathroom through someone's site is rude.
Think of campsites as backyards. Would you let your kids run around in someone's backyard uninvited?
Keep your kids and your stuff confined to your campsite. If they ride their bikes or play outside of your site, make sure they are acting as a good neighbor and being respectful of other campers and their personal space.
What are the Rules of Camping?
You might assume that most camping rules are common sense, but that's not always the case. Most campgrounds will give you a list of rules or have the campground rules posted somewhere.
This will include guidelines on:
- Quiet time
- Generator use
- Parking expectations
- Food storage
- Check-in and check-out times
Practicing good camping etiquette means you will follow the rules put in place by the campground. Whether they don't want campers to wash dishes in the bathroom, or if they ask you to keep fires in the designated fire pit, there's usually a good reason for the campground rules. You're always welcome to ask the campground host for clarification.
Always be considerate of others in the campground. If generator hours are from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., don't run your generator at 5 a.m. When the rules say that check-out time is noon, leave by noon because someone else may be waiting for your site.
Even if you're in a large group just looking to have a good time for the weekend, keep your noise level down after quiet hours. There are other people in the campground that might be trying to sleep or wanting to just enjoy some peace and quiet.
Follow the posted speed limit. This is important because it can be very easy to drive fast in the campground. When you come in after driving highway mileage, driving only 10 or 15 mph can be hard. However, this is important in a campground because there are a lot of children running around, people riding bikes, and dogs out for their walks. So remember to drive slowly.
Good Campground Etiquette Means Leave no Trace
The golden rule of campground etiquette is to leave the campsite better than you found. No one wants to arrive at their campsite to find trash in the fire ring or the picnic table damaged.
Cigarette butts, napkins, cardboard boxes, among other things are all garbage and don't belong in the fire pit or on the ground. On the same note, we all drop things or accidentally leave stuff behind. If you do find debris in your campsite, clean it up to make it nice for the next group.
The cleaner you leave your campsite, the more likely the next campers are to do the same.
Leave no trace also means don't destroy anything.
Leave the trees, bushes, and rocks exactly as you find them, no matter how beautiful they are. If you enjoy them, it's very likely that the next group of campers will enjoy them as well.
This goes for the campsite and any of the facilities found within the campground. Take care of the bathrooms, dishwashing sinks, hiking trails, and anything else the campground provides.
When you follow these simple campground etiquette rules, you not only see to it that you have a good time, but that everyone around you has a good time, too.
Camping is about enjoying nature and making memories, so keep these things in mind next time you head to the campground to ensure you have the best outdoor experience.