10 Things We Wish New RVers Knew at the Campground

Feb 22, 2021 | Travel & Destinations

10 Things We Wish New RVers Knew at the Campground

There are most definitely unspoken rules when it comes to RV campground etiquette. Are you guilty of these 10 mistakes RV newbies tend to make?

By Britta Brown

Photo: RVLIKEMIDGLEY / Shutterstock

Every RVer starts out as a newbie and is bound to make a mistake or two. Luckily, there are millions of experienced RVers that can help you learn the ropes when it comes to RV campground etiquette.  

My husband Will and I went straight into camping after leaving the dealership with our first RV. As newbie travelers, we had no idea what to expect—nor did we know that there are some definite taboos when staying at campgrounds. I quickly learned on this first trip, and continued to learn over the next few years, that there are unwritten rules to follow when it comes to RV camping etiquette. From neighbors cutting through our campsite to late-night loud music, we’ve pretty much seen it all. Here are some things we learned that can help others prepare for camping life.  

RV Campground Etiquette Tips

Don’t Walk Through Campsites 

It can be tempting to quickly cut through the “common grass” between sites to get to another site or to nearby amenities. While it may add a few extra minutes to your walk time, you should always walk on the road or public paths at the RV park to respect others’ space.  

Resist Blasting Your Music

It’s easy to get carried away when you’re having a good time camping, but if your music is too loud, it can be disturbing for your neighbors. Keep your music at a comfortable level so it can’t be heard from your neighbor’s campsite. If you’re unsure, walk by neighboring sites and see if you can hear your music. Adjust your volume accordingly. 

Adhere to Quiet Hours

Most RV parks, resorts, and campgrounds have quiet hours. You’ll typically receive a pamphlet at check-in with rules of the park that includes this information. Quiet hours are a range of hours (for example 10 p.m. to 8 a.m.) when all guests can expect the noise level not to be at a daytime high. Many campers are inside their RVs or enjoying a quiet and relaxing time by the campfire, and you definitely want to avoid being reported to the office for noise during designated quiet hours. 

Couple enjoying fire outside rig at campsite at night
Observing quiet hours. | Photo: Britta Brown

Account for Your RV’s Slide-Outs

If your rig has slide-outs, be sure to account for them when parking and setting up your campsite. There’s nothing worse than the slides from the rig next to you encroaching on your site. We park our rig and test the slide-outs before unhooking. This saves time compared to having to hook everything back up and re-park. You can also check in advance what RV site may be the best for your rig if you have larger slides. 

Related What to Do When Your RV Slides Won’t Close

Ask for Permission with Pets

RVers love bringing their furry friends along. And while it’s tempting to pet every dog you see at the campground, always ask the owner for permission first. Typically, pet owners—and their pets—are friendly, but it’s the polite thing to do. Over the years, I’ve seen some owners who are sensitive to petting. 

Related How to RV With Pets

Let Your Neighbors Park and Get Settled First

Having new camp neighbors pull in is always exciting. RVers like to check out other rigs, see how people set up camp, and say hello—but keep in mind that the family is trying to focus on parking and setting up. Once they seem to be settled in, feel free to welcome them.

Don’t Put Your Grill on the Picnic Table

It’s tempting to take your portable grill and set it up on the campsite’s picnic table, but think twice. Grills can leave stains, cause the table material to warp, and leave a residue. Instead, bring along an inexpensive portable table so you can leave the campsite clean for future campers. 

Portable grill set up on folding table at campsite
Setting grill up on portable table. | Photo: Britta Brown
RVers fixing a fuse in rig
RV neighbors helping to fix a fuse.| Photo: Britta Brown

Be Prepared Before Arriving at the Dump Station

Prior preparation is key to avoid holding up the line at the dump station. We make sure to have gloves and the black tank hose and connector piece handy by the time we pull up to the dump station.

Related Everything You Need to Know about RV Toilets and Black Tanks

Park Your Tow Vehicle at Your Site

We have a 38-foot trailer and truck that we have to account for when booking a campsite. To the best of your ability, don’t block the road and park at your site. Even if a site nearby is empty, never use it as your personal parking pad. If you need additional parking, there may be space near the clubhouse or registration area.  

Related What’s the Best Truck for Towing a Travel Trailer or Fifth Wheel?

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

RVers at the campground are typically friendly and willing to help when needed—it’s all part of the RVing community and culture.  

Commonly Asked RV Campground Questions

What does ‘quiet time’ mean at the campground? 

Quiet hours refer to a set time period when campers are expected to make minimal noise, keep music, and sometimes generators, turned off, and avoid loud conversations outside. It’s a time to relax at your rig so others can enjoy the quiet time as well. This doesn’t mean you have to put out the campfire, but it does mean there’s no loud partying. 

Can you live at the campground? 

RVers can live at some campgrounds and resorts for both short- and long-term periods. We’ve lived stationary in our RV at an RV resort while commuting to work every day. You pay a monthly rental fee for the site similar to how you would for an apartment.

Related Putting Down Roots: The Benefits of Stationary RV Living

What are your obligations when camping? 

In short, be a good neighbor. You can have fun and still leave your campsite better than you found it. 

What should you not do while camping? 

While camping, you should keep your campsite tidy and trash-free. You should avoid walking through your neighbors’ campsites, blasting music, ignoring campground rules, engaging with pets without permission, holding up the dump station line, and putting your grill directly on the picnic table, among other things.   

Remember that everyone was a newbie once and the RV community is friendly, especially when it comes to engaging with your campground neighbors. Keep these RV campground etiquette tips handy and your neighbors will appreciate it. 

Campgroundscamping etiquetteRV Camping

Britta Brown

Britta Brown, along with her husband Will, make up the RVing duo Browns Dope Little Adventures. Britta is an energetic, outside-the-box millennial who works in sports but also has a love for travel, adventure, and RVing. She resides in downtown Detroit but makes it known that she’s originally a Baltimorean.