Are You Allowed to Drink Alcohol While Camping?

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A young woman drinks a beer on a bench near a firepit and her RV and truck are in the background.

Sitting around the campfire with a drink in hand can help you unwind at the end of the day. However, depending on where you camp, they might have rules against it.

Is drinking while camping allowed? Let’s take a look so you can stay on the legal side while enjoying your favorite adult beverage when camping. Let’s get started.

Different Laws Regarding Drinking While Camping

Laws regarding drinking while camping often varies from one campground to the next. We’ve seen campgrounds that restrict drinking while camping altogether and others that only step in when it gets out of hand. 

You must take note of the campground rules when checking in to your campsite. You don’t want to have your booze confiscated or have to leave. 

Three women are happy and drinking around a campfire.

Can You Drink Alcohol in National Parks?

Your ability to drink alcohol in any national park depends on which one you visit. If you camp in another public area, you’ll likely have nothing to worry about while enjoying an adult beverage.

However, cracking open a cold one on the side of the road or while enjoying a sunset could land you in trouble. Drinking in roadside pullouts, parking lots, or trailheads is typically prohibited. If you don’t make a big scene, you may get away with it, but don’t be surprised if you get asked to put the drinks away.

Enjoy the views and wildlife while seeing the national parks and save the drinking for when you get home or back to your campsite. 

Friends enjoy a beverage leaning against a fence as the sun sets over the coastline of the ocean.

General Camping Drinking Rules

While drinking rules will vary from one campground to the next, you can expect a handful of regulations no matter what. Let’s take a look.

No Underage Drinking

Camping or not, underage drinking is never acceptable. If you’re caught allowing minors to drink, you could face serious consequences. The situation can become more severe if the underage individual drinks excessively or experiences an injury while intoxicated.

You must keep your alcohol in a safe place inaccessible to minors. Try storing it in an outside kitchen refrigerator or a hard-to-reach cabinet. You don’t want your booze to get you in serious legal trouble.

Drinks Must Be in Unbranded Cups

Having a supply of red Solo cups is always a good idea while camping. This helps avoid any issues with campgrounds frowning upon guests carrying alcohol containers. Using an unbranded cup helps avoid the negative stigmas associated with drinking, even if you drink responsibly.

A cold beer is poured into a red plastic cup with a cooler and more cups strewn on the ground in the background of the campsite.

Drink Only at Your Site

When consuming alcohol, keep it only at your campsite. You shouldn’t parade around the campground while drinking. Campgrounds typically want to maintain a family-friendly environment. This helps ensure all guests feel comfortable during their stay. Guests wandering around with alcohol in hand may not create that atmosphere.

No Drinking and Driving Through the Campground

You should never drink and drive, whether you’re camping or not. You should never drive a vehicle, golf cart, or off-road machine while drinking. This can cause a deadly situation as alcohol affects your ability to make decisions and think clearly.

If you host a group at your campsite, ensure others in your party follow this rule. If guests drink too much, create a plan for how to get them home safely. You don’t want a fun camping gathering to turn disastrous.

Excessively Intoxicated Campers Can Be Fined 

If you or any of your guests become excessively intoxicated, some campgrounds will fine you. This often is a result of misconduct or disrupting other guests. Campground staff does not want you to ruin the experiences of others. Ensure you and your guests keep the drinking under control and avoid a massive fine.

Keep in Mind: Campground etiquette extends to when you’re sober, too. Avoid doing the 9 rudest things we’ve seen or heard about at campgrounds.

Dangers of Drinking While Camping

There are a few dangers of drinking while camping that you should also keep in mind. Let’s look at these so you can stay safe while enjoying an adult beverage or two while camping.

Dehydration

Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it removes fluids from your blood faster than other liquids. This means that while you drink alcohol, it’s imperative that you also consume plenty of water as well. Lack of water can accelerate the dehydration process and can quickly cause a serious situation.

This is especially true while camping as you may have spent the day hiking trails or out in the sun. If you’re already dehydrated when you start drinking, the situation can quickly become dangerous.

Higher Risk of Injury 

When in the wilderness, you’ll always have an inherent risk of injury. This is especially true if you camp in remote locations that involve uneven terrain, large boulders, and other precarious landscapes. Drinking while camping can significantly enhance the risk of injury in these situations.

Whether you trip down the stairs to your camper or over a rock at the campsite, keep your alcohol consumption in check while camping. You may not be able to call for help if an accident occurs. You don’t want to end your camping trip by getting an injury while intoxicated.

Pro Tip: Be as prepared as possible for a potential injury and learn how to create the best RV emergency kit.

Unruly Behavior

People respond differently when they consume alcohol. While some people may act humorously, not everyone does. Some people may get aggressive or obnoxious when drunk. Drinking with more people with this personality increases the potential for some unruly behavior.

Alcohol will cause some people to say things they might not otherwise say. While it can help some relax in social situations, it can also create some unruly behaviors in others. A fight breaking out can quickly ruin your camping trip and has the potential to end a friendship or two.

A group of people surround a table playing drinking games with red solo cups.

Being an Irresponsible Camper

Consuming alcohol also has the potential to transform a responsible camper into an irresponsible one. Not thinking clearly and leaving trash out or not putting a fire out can create a dangerous situation.

You don’t want to wake up to discover a bear or other wild animal at your campsite. And you especially don’t want to cause a wildfire from failing to douse your fire fully. This can create a perilous situation that can get out of hand fast.

Cheers to Drinking While Camping (Responsibly, of Course)

Drinking while camping can allow you to relax and enjoy the environment. However, you and your fellow campers must drink responsibly. There’s nothing wrong with having a drink or two around the fire, but know your limits and ensure everyone stays safe while drinking. What’s your drink of choice while camping?

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