10 Camping Rules You Should Never Break According to Campground Owners

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With the influx of new RVers on the road, this is a great time to review some camping rules. Not just any rules though, these are offered up directly from campground owners and staff.

While we do have another article discussing the 9 Rudest Things You Can Do in a Campground, today we will focus on exactly what campground owners want us and fellow RVers to know.

We Asked The Experts

We wanted to hear directly from campground owners and staff what they wished RVers would stop doing. So, we went to the RV Park and Campground Owners Facebook group to source our information. While we did receive over 100 comments, there was a handful of rules that many owners wanted to be hammered home. So let’s dive in!

Woman with her dog following camping rules.

1. Actually Read the Camping Rules

While some camping rules are unspoken, most of them are printed and delivered to you upon arriving at your campground. However, after reading tons of responses about broken rules, it’s apparent that not everyone reads those rules.

Marcia Neese, owner of Riverwalk RV Park in Trail Jonesville, NC said “They should actually read the rules and not break them. We don’t just make them up and they are there for a reason. We just ask for the same respect as if we were coming to their home. How would they feel if they asked us not to park in the grass, and we drive right up to their front door and parked? Or if we brought our dogs and just let them poop in the front yard without offering to pick it up.”

Lisa Duvall, owner of Hidden Springs Campgrounds adds “Don’t assume you can do as you want. [This includes] move fire rings, leave all your trash in the fire ring for the next guy, park in the grass, let any amount of visitors in with your gate card, trash the bathhouse, be drunk and obnoxious after quiet time (or even prior to), not obey speed signs, etc.”

While forgetting your manners might be an accident on vacation, it’s important to remember that someone actually owns these campgrounds.

2. Not Checking In Upon Arrival

Mary Page, a Campground Assistant Manager said it’s tough when campers “Go directly to their site without checking in at the office.” Even if you know your site number in advance, you are still going to want to check-in upon arrival. The campground needs to know you arrived for many reasons.

Woman doing her laundry at a campsite following camping rules.

3. Don’t Trash The Fire Ring

CampMaster Frank, the owner of Rustic Knolls Campsites and Cabins says he wishes campers wouldn’t “throw trash and drink containers in the fire ring, nor move said fire ring and burn a new hole.”

Trashing the fire ring in campgrounds is something that has always bothered us. We’ve cleaned out fire rings in campgrounds and while boondocking because they’ve been left in such bad shape. Personally, I sure hope we see some change around this camping rule in the future.

Along the same lines, it’s important for people to be aware of what they are burning in their fire rings. Elizabeth Meuse Streeter, owner of Tree Farm Campground says “No outside firewood doesn’t mean you can bring your pallets in to burn. Then I need to dig out over 200 nails from your pit.”

We’ve seen people throw their red solo cups, glass, cigarette butts, and other items that are considered trash into a burning fire. When burned, some plastic items release toxic gases that are dangerous to humans and animals.

4. Don’t Occupy Empty Sites

Linda Schmidt, Co-Owner of the Elizabethtown / Hershey KOA Holiday says “just because the site next to you does not have someone on it, does not give you the right to park your vehicle on it – you did not pay for that site!”

Other campgrounds owners rounded out this camping rule by adding they campers should park anywhere not allowed. While it might be convenient for you, it can be a huge pain for others. There’s nothing more frustrating than coming into your campground after a long driving day to find a random car parked on your site.

In addition to not occupying empty sites, other owners mentioned not taking things from other sites too. If you need an extra picnic table or fire ring, call the office, there’s almost always going to be someone who is happy to help you!

5. Always Watch Your Pets

Watching your pets might seem like common sense, but we’ve seen this camping rule broken repeatedly over the years. We are all for bringing your fur baby along on your camping adventure! But being a responsible pet owner should be your top priority.

Bethany Stevenson Owens, owner of Salmon Lake Park and Resort says “Don’t tie your dog up and leave them unattended”. Leaving your pet outside is irresponsible and can even be dangerous. Additionally, you’re essentially implying the campground is responsible for what happens to your pet while you are gone.

If you’re thinking you can just leave your pets inside, Shelly Lighthizer, owner of Sunset RV Park advises “Do not keep your animals in the camper all day and leave. They bark and are annoying to other campers”.

While we have left our dog, Carmen inside our RV while we leave, we know she’s not a barker. We also have a pet temperature monitor and an Arlo Security Camera to keep an eye on her when we are gone.

Woman with her dog in a car following camping rules.

6. Always Watch Your Children

This camping rule should go without saying, but we received a ton of responses about campers not watching their children. Especially in and around the pool! Keep an eye out for signs with posted age limits or “adult must be present”. These signs mean the parent (or responsible adult) must be there.

It’s no one else’s responsibility in the campground to ensure your children are safe and not disturbing others.

7. Notify Management If There Is a Problem

While some campers prefer to stay quiet, management would much rather prefer you bring any issues to their attention. All campground owners want you to have a wonderful camping experience! Sometimes as campers, we just need to let them know there is an issue, so it can be corrected.

Laura Mcneilly, owner of Foothills Family Campground says “if there is a problem in the bathhouse please notify management so we can take care of it right away.”

Andrew Confer, who works at Presque Isle Passage RV Park and Cabin Rentals adds to this point “The biggest thing I wish I could make everyone understand, especially with all of our rentals, is that if you notice an issue, they need to notify us to get it fixed. Yes, every rental gets cleaned and checked between reservations, but things can get missed, and if no one tells us there’s an issue, we’ll never know about it.”

Father and daughter tending to fire at campground.

8. Don’t Steal From the Campground

I wasn’t even aware stealing from the campground was something campers did, but apparently so! Campground owners mentioned toilet paper, brooms, hoses, and more are stolen from them quite regularly.

Because of this, we wanted to make sure this camping rule made the list. Please don’t steal from campground owners, as it will only lead to more rules and higher prices in the future. Not only that, it’s just wrong!

9. Respect Other Campers

Since we’re on the subject of stealing, Dee Yasgar, owner of Mama Gerties Hideaway Campground says “Don’t steal other guests firewood they bought and paid for.”

Overall respecting other campers is extremely vital. It’s important to understand that everyone is there to enjoy their camping trip. Stealing, arguing, or annoying other campers is simply a selfish act that will ruin not only yours but everyone else’s trip.

10. Camping Rules Are Rules For a Reason

When it comes to camping rules, they are there for a reason. Rita Olsen, General Manager at Lost Resort RV Ranch says “Don’t think the rules don’t apply to you. EVERY rule applies to EVERY camper. 100% of the time, no exceptions.”

If everyone thinks they are the exception to the rule, then no rules would ever be followed. I’m sure we’ve all been there at one point, thinking the rules don’t apply to us for one reason or another. However, this is a good reminder that camping rules apply to all of us.

Simply Read the Camping Rules

Teri Blaschke, owner of Hidden Valley RV Park sums it up best by saying “All the above comments can usually be covered by this one sentence: please read and follow the rules.”

It’s as simple as that folks! We hope hearing some of these camping rules from the owners’ perspective has given you a new way of looking at them.

  1. What about campground that don’t enforce the rules for some people but they do for others. Often the well known frequent camper gets away with things that the occasional unknown camper doesn’t. Just like in any community the law enforcer doesn’t want to have to tell his buddy that he’s got to stop doing something.

  2. My biggest complaint is that parents are willing to allow the children to roam the park with no supervision and when you approach any of them you are the one who is wrong. Taking kids to a park is not open season on free babysitting

  3. I don’t understand why rules about the pets are always at the top of the list and rules about the children running amock is towards the bottom. Kids running and screaming through the camp cause more concern for me

  4. When I camped there was a rule that I didn’t know about. Talking to people about their campers while they are setting up. I never knew it was wrong to do so. Is it a rule!

  5. I love these articles because the reverse is also true:
    Rules for campground owners:
    1. Level your sites. Campers do not want to travel hundreds of miles, only to arrive at a lopsided, potholed site that is five inches offset.
    2. Maintain your camp roads. Keep them wide, well drained and smooth, with adequate signage and night reflectors.
    3. Trim your trees. We spend a lot of money on our campers. Tree limb scratches do not add any value. Dead branches falling on top of our campers is not pleasurable either.
    4. Maintain the electrical pedestal, sewage and water connections.
    5. Provide clear signage leading into your campground from all directions.
    6. Provide easy-to-understand online reservations. If you do not, ensure enough staff are in the office during working hours and weekends to answer phones.
    7. Give us some space. I know you want to be profitable, but try to make it a camping experience, not a parking experience.
    8. If you will admit pets, then provide a real pet area or walking trail.
    9. You live by reviews and word-of-mouth. Ask for customer feedback, listen to it, implement their suggestions.
    10. Take out the fire rings please. More trouble for everyone than they are worth.
    -Four-year full-timer.

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