We have had the privilege of working at a variety of campgrounds throughout our travels in the past few years. Our duties have included working in guests services that provide front line service to guests, housekeeping, maintenance, activities and even animal caretaker at a campground with a small petting farm. Each department has a very different but very important duty to ensure guests have the best possible experience while camping at their chosen location. Since each of our assignments have been in different states and owned and managed by different people, you can imagine that the way things are done day to day can be quite different. But the one thing that doesn’t change are some basic courtesy rules and regulations that each campground typically enforces.
Here are some basic camping etiquette to consider:
- Try to arrive during business hours. This will allow you to get campground information at checkin and in many cases be provided with an escort to the site. While we know it isn’t always possible, you can always call ahead with any questions or concerns that you may have.
- Read the campground literature provided at registration. Typically all the information that you need to know is provided on the site map or brochure given to you at check in. Every campground has different rules and policies. If you still have questions, don’t be afraid to ask.
- Be considerate of check in and check out times. This allows for the campground to get sites ready for the next guest. Typically there is a couple of hours between check in and check out in order to ensure there are no problems. While it is sometimes possible to arrive early or stay late, never assume that your site is available. Always check with the office.
- Leave it better than you found it. This applies to many aspects of the campground from your site to the common facilities shared by all. While there are people working at the campground to ensure you have a pleasant stay, remember that you are not the only guest in the park. Keep your site tidy, don’t make a mess in the bathrooms or laundry facilities and pick up after yourself.
- Don’t leave your children unattended. Campground workers are busy doing their assigned tasks and are not responsible to watch your children running around the campground. We all enjoy watching children play, ride bikes, participate in activities and make new friends, but generally children should be attended with their parents and family members.
- Don’t cut through occupied sites. If a site or cabin is occupied, don’t use it as a short cut. Just like you, people have paid good money for their site and would like to enjoy it.
- Observe quiet hours. Most campgrounds have quiet hours from approximately 11pm-7am. This will vary from park to park.
- Housekeeping workers do the best they can to ensure that common facilities and rental units are clean for each guest. Generally common areas may be closed for a short period of time during the day to facilitate a deep clean of the restrooms or laundry facilities. Rental units are cleaned after each guest checks out and common areas are typically closed for a short period during the day to give it a good cleaning. As guests, you can help this process by cleaning up after yourself and not making an excessive mess. Believe me, I could tell you some stories.
- Participate in campground functions. Each campground provides a variety of entertainment or activities for you to enjoy. While these items may vary from park to park, the more that participate, the more fun that can be had by all. Some parks are limited in their activities due to the type of park they are. Some campgrounds are designed in such a way that campers come in and stay on the campground for the bulk of their stay. These types of campgrounds are more likely to provide a lot of activities or functions. Other campgrounds are more destinations where campers come and park but spend most of their time checking out the surrounding area, theme parks or historical sites. These types of campgrounds will likely have less activities since the majority of campers are not in the park. Either way, if you are available when there is a function, at least stop by to say hi and meet some new friends.
- Review your campground, but be fair. For example, campground staff has no control over the weather. It isn’t fair to rate a campground low because Mother Nature did not cooperate. It also isn’t fair to rate a campground low because there was an accident on the highway nearby or roadway construction making travels slow. We have found online reviews to be particularly useful for getting the lay of the land. Is it easily accessible, is it clean, is the staff friendly how much does it cost, what kind of amenities does it have and can I comfortably get my rig in and out? Everyone has their own wants and needs and each experience will be different and providing a review online goes a long way not only for guests but also the management to see how they are doing.