RV Park Etiquette for Beginners

Camping in the great outdoors is an activity that many people enjoy yearly. Not only can you spend time in the fresh air and explore woodsy locations, but you can also reconnect with family and friends through various adventures.

But what about the etiquette required for anyone rolling up to a wilderness campsite in an RV? Let’s go over some basic RV park etiquette for newbies entering the camping lifestyle to help everyone have the best possible experience!

1. Obey All of the RV Park Rules

For your safety, all RV parks have a range of rules that should be followed. While RV-ing might seem quite safe, you are still staying in the great outdoors and need to obey some basic guidelines to keep everyone secure and comfortable.

These rules can include how to properly dispose of your trash, appropriate behavior around commonly-seen animals, use of the utilities and facilities, and privacy boundaries for your neighbors.

2. Avoid Blocking the Roadways

RVs and the trucks sometimes needed to haul them are large vehicles. So, it’s important to avoid causing traffic jams in the RV park roadways. 

These lanes are typically fairly narrow, so if you park your vehicle without making sure it’s completely off the road, you can accidentally cause blockages for other motorists and campers. Instead, you can always ask about overflow parking!

3. Drive Slowly in the RV Park

RV parks generally have a fairly slow speed limit, given the number of kids, dogs, and even wild animals that frequent them. So, it’s important to always respect the speed limit posted in the park and not whip around any turns or corners in your car.

4. Check-in at the Right Time

While it can be tempting to show up at the RV park bright and early, ready to start your holiday in the woods, it’s also advisable to only arrive when your check-in slot is actually scheduled. 

This gives the camp personnel enough time to ensure your RV spot is clean and cleared out, and you won’t have to wait for the previous patrons of your site to check out.

5. Be Courteous Around Wildlife

Whether you are camping in a place that just has squirrels and crows or in the vicinity of larger animals like bears and cougars, it’s essential to be respectful of the wildlife around you. 

This includes keeping dogs and children from chasing animals, feeding them “people” food, leaving litter behind, and antagonizing the wildlife in its natural habitat.

6. Be Neighborly

RV parks can sometimes feel like temporary neighborhoods, so it’s perfectly fine to get to know the people camping around you. Of course, you should wait until they are settled in and have their RV parked, and avoid knocking when the lights are off.

Otherwise, you can make some new camping friends and connect with fellow woodsy types!

7. Monitor Your Kids

Kids generally love camping— the allure of the great outdoors, all that space to play in and explore, and of course, the marshmallows over a campfire. But you also need to be careful when bringing your young ones and even teenagers along in the RV.

Make sure you always know where your kids are, whether they are just playing nearby or going for a bike ride on forest trails. Additionally, make sure all children understand the property boundaries in an RV park, as they can be difficult to pinpoint.

And because children are also sometimes noisy without meaning to be, it’s also a good idea to enforce the campground’s quiet time and make sure they are not too loud. 

8. Don’t Get Too Wild

Letting loose while on vacation is expected, but it’s a good idea not to get too wild, either. 

Drinking or using other mind-altering substances might seem like a fun idea, but when it comes time to put out the campfire, troubleshoot the utilities, or set up your push-outs for the night, keeping a clear head is best.

 Additionally, you’re less likely to make excessive amounts of noise if staying relatively sober, which your neighbors will appreciate!

9. Don’t Leave Litter Lying Around

One of the biggest problems with campsites and RV parks is the litter left behind. Whether it’s an accidental tissue caught in the breeze or a hotdog packet that fell out of your cooler, ensure no trash is lying around during your stay and when leaving.

10. Ensure Your Dogs Are Under Control

Dogs and camping are a match made in heaven, but only if they are kept under your control. While in the RV park, dogs should always be leashed and on their best behavior around all other pets, children, people, and wild animals.

Additionally, make sure you don’t leave your pets inside the RV for long periods, so they don’t make a mess of your interior or start driving the neighbors crazy by barking all day. And always pick up their bathroom messes when outside!

11. Follow the Utility Hookup Rules

If your utility hookup only allows for one water hose, don’t try to circumvent it by borrowing a neighbor’s utility hookups. It’s for the best if you listen to the rules set by the park when it comes to available utilities and how much water or power you can have.

12. Respect the Space & Privacy of Others

Though it is sometimes difficult to figure out where campsite boundaries are placed, it’s important to respect others’ space and privacy within their own RV sites. 

Some general guidelines include not taking shortcuts through other people’s areas, not peeking into RV windows, and avoiding any campsite sprawl that allows your gear or furniture to spill into a neighbor’s space.

13. Douse the Flames

While campfires are great for warding off the evening chill and roasting some campsite goodies over, make sure not to leave them smoking and smoldering all night long. 

And when it’s time for lights out, douse the fire completely for safety and comfort reasons.

14. Turn Your Lights Off

It’s a good idea to keep your light usage within the RV at a minimum, especially at night. No one wants to try stargazing in the woods but be met with the glare of light bulbs being turned on!

Instead, opt for soft indoor lamps, gentle awning lights, and solar-powered pathway lights to illuminate the perimeter of your campsite.

15. Keep The Facilities Clean & Tidy

If you are using any of the RV park facilities, including bathrooms, showers, or laundry machines, ensure they are kept clean, and you leave them in good condition. 

There’s nothing worse than entering a shower that’s a complete mess after someone else!

16. Keep It Nice & Quiet

Most RV parks have a quiet time period during the evening and extending into the morning, and this is an essential rule for newbie RV campers to follow. 

Also, make sure all music, media, and conversations are kept at a reasonable volume, even during the day. Your RV neighbors might be friendly, but they also likely don’t want to hear all about your home or work life from next door while on vacation.

17. Do Not Transport Firewood

Many states have strict rules and regulations regarding the transportation of firewood, but it’s best to avoid doing it at all. 

Because of pests and invasive insects, you should only purchase firewood at the RV park you’re staying at, and leave it behind when you leave. Don’t risk spreading an invasive species to a different park or state by bringing the wood with you!

18. Secure Your Gear

Weather in the wilderness can sometimes be unpredictable, so it’s a good idea to secure your gear when it is not in use. All it takes is a particularly strong gust of wind to send camp chairs across the site or turn outdoor goods into flying projectiles.

19. Smoke & Vape With Caution

Most people go camping and RV-ing for the fresh air and quality time it provides, so try not to bombard anyone with smoke or vape fumes if you are a smoker. While it’s perfectly fine to smoke, just make sure it’s not outside someone else’s window!

20. Spray Down the Dump Station When Finished

One of the grossest parts of staying in an RV is what to do with bathroom waste. Try to make the process easier for everyone else by hosing down the RV park’s dump station after you finish emptying your tanks, and they will thoroughly appreciate it!

21. Leave Nothing Behind

Take nothing but photos, leave nothing but footprints— this adage is also a good guideline for those new to the RV life. Make sure you leave the entire campsite just as you found it, or even better. 

Pick up all trash, toys, and camping equipment and stow it away. If you put a hammock or swing up, take that down, too. In general, the campsite should not show traces that you have been there, apart from footprints and tire tracks. 

22. Check Out Promptly When It’s Time to Go

When the RV check-out time arrives, make sure you’re packed and ready to go so that you can vacate the site promptly. 

Just like a hotel, most RV parks have a time for you to leave, as the park workers will need to give the spot a cursory clean for the next campers. That’s why leaving late throws them off, and it should be avoided!

Final Thoughts

Before you head out to your next destination in your RV, remember that you are not alone. Everyone was a new camper at one point or another. So follow the above rules, get proper insurance coverage, remain respectful, and most of all, have fun!

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