10 of the most irritating campground rules

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“Rules and responsibilities: these are the ties that bind us. We do what we do, because of who we are. If we did otherwise, we would not be ourselves. I will do what I have to do. And I will do what I must.” —Neil Gaiman, “The Sandman: Book of Dreams”

By Nanci Dixon
In addition to weird RV park rules, there are some rules that are just downright irritating to campers. Sometimes they just don’t make sense to anyone except those in the campground office. Many of you left comments on last week’s article, 12 weirdest campground rules,  and said that sometimes these weird rules are made because one weird person does one weird thing.

Readers’ speak out…

Laurie left a comment and said, “I work at an RV park in Ranch Country and I have to tell guests more than you would believe, ‘No, we don’t allow livestock in the park.’”

Another reader, Leslie, posted about a rule I hadn’t heard of before: “We set up at a campground south of Louisville. Our two grandchildren were with us. Our grandson wanted to dribble his basketball, so joined us on our walk up and down the road. My husband stayed at the RV. When we returned, a man was leaving our site and grumpily told my grandson, ‘No ball bouncing.’ He had just informed my husband that ball bouncing was against the rules. My husband apologized and asked why. The man said it was too loud, and it was stated in the rules. ‘Where are the rules posted?’ my husband asked. ‘On the back of the map,’ answered the man. My husband held up the map with a blank backside. My husband even pointed out the ball bouncing wasn’t in the park. The man said it could be heard in the park, either follow the rules or leave. So much for the child-friendly grandma and grandpa campground.”

Reader Jesse added, “I agree about being wacky. But some of them were probably in response to someone doing the stupid and disgusting behavior mentioned in the rule.”

Everyone agreed that spitting chewing tobacco was disgusting and a valid rule, but my question is still, why would you even need that rule? Shouldn’t it be obvious? Guess that takes us back to Jesse’s comment about someone actually doing something that required a rule…

Here are the top 10 most irritating campground rules:

Again, thanks to Desert Valley RV (now apparently permanently closed, BTW), KOA, and a number of RV parks and campgrounds we have stayed at for providing us these rules.

1. Fees, fees and more fees!

There are an assortment of add-on fees: a visitor fee, a fee for getting packages, a fee for the gate remote, a fee for kids, a fee for required vests to walk at night, a guest fee for the swimming poll, an arm band fee and a $25 dumping fee upon entering the park even if camping there! I am sure the list of fees goes on and on…

2. No tents allowed on RV site

Our kids and grandkids were visiting and we actually would have had to rent a tent site for them because the campground did not allow their tent on our x-large RV site.

3. No hanging of laundry or beach towels outside of the RV

I do understand that perhaps airing dirty or even clean underwear might not be the most appealing site for neighboring RVers, but prohibiting hanging swimming towels outside the RV even when at a beach campground or one with pools and hot tubs? Come on…

4. No RVer can have more than two guests at one time without permission from management

Well, there goes July 4th, Memorial Day and Labor day get-togethers. Kinda limits those spur-of-the-moment festivities too. And it’ll be awkward to tell family friends that they have to leave the kids at home in order to come over for dinner…

5. All RVs will be escorted to their site by campground staff and staff will direct all parking maneuvers

By now my husband and I have a system to find our site. Sure, an escort saves time finding it, especially in large parks. BUT we have also worked out our own backing up system and someone else flailing their arms around just adds to the confusion. I know exactly how far our slides go out and where our utility connections are. I can direct my husband where to go. Okay, I admit, in the beginning he was telling me where to go… but we are doing better now.

6. No firewood, certified or not, can be brought into park

This was at a state park in Minnesota and we had purchased certified, kiln-dried and wrapped firewood from the RV park literally across the road. The park ranger demanded we leave it with him or not camp at the park. We trudged up the hill and returned it to the RV park, got a refund and bought the SAME certified kiln-dried firewood from the park ranger. Was he stockpiling the confiscated wood?

7. Back end of RV cannot extend over the grass

This is not about parking on the grass. This irritating rule irritated us when our RV was on the gravel pad and the rear end hung over the grass. After a complete setup we needed to take everything down and move forward three feet. Guess I should have read the rules more closely on that one…

8. Weight restrictions on dogs

My guess is that the temperament of the dog is more important than the weight or size. Don’t three small dogs equal one big dog? And aren’t small dogs usually louder anyway…?

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

9. Walk dogs outside of park grounds

So a dog is allowed in but can’t walk in the park? Did they say they were pet friendly or just pet tolerant? In addition to not walking in the park, one reader told us about an RV park that had a dog walk area BUT the dog couldn’t walk in the park, so he needed to drive the dog to the dog walk area in his car.

10. For protection of deck furniture, please place towels over chairs when using suntan oil, creams, or lotions.

This was from the same place that requires everyone to be fully clothed in the clubhouse. I have been trying NOT to ponder what does fully and not fully clothed actually mean in a 55-and-up RV park…

I am sure that everyone has a downright irritating rule that they’ve come across at a campground or RV park. If you can remember one, please leave it in the comments below.

##RVT988

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Donald N Wright
1 month ago

I remember the “no shoes, no shirt, no service” signs. I watched a woman walk in wearing shoes and a shirt, but nothing else. They served her.

DPHooper
1 month ago

We’ve encountered all of these rules, and discretionary fees.
To me it’s lack of common sense and decency that results in rules.
Yes, some such as firewood are trying to prevent infestation issue and not being over grass is to allow trimming and mowing.
Some are just ridiculous such as not hanging swimsuits outside…
Yet again it’s people’s disregard for others that
Resents such rules.

Linda
1 month ago

My biggest peeve is that the restrooms close for cleaning at the same time you must check out. We like to use the facilities and wash our hands after hitching up and heading out.

Jim Ransdell
1 month ago

The stupid camp rules are why I usually dry camp. It’s a lot like a HOA. Power hungry owners.

Philip Sponable
1 month ago

Have not paid any attention to #2 thru #10, if they even exist, and never had a problem the past twelve years… hope my luck continues but probably should start to read the instructions… 😮 

Cindy T
2 months ago

We camphosted at a campground because it was convenient to our son’s house. They had a long list of Rules. Most were added because of a “situation” that arose. Some were typical, some a bit unusual. They had some long term sites but they did not want residents to be able to claim residency in the city or the state. So in addition to the No Mail, No Deliveries, campers were required to move to a different site every 60 days. Camphosts included.

Mike Albert
1 month ago
Reply to  Cindy T

Not RV related. Not sure if this is the reason, but, we own rental properties on Florida and Pennsylvania. In both states, if a person NOT on a lease is in the property without permission and you try to remove them for whatever reason , if they receive any mail at the residence, they are considered to be a resident and can not be trespassed but you must go an eviction with the courts to have them removed. Squatters’ rights.
We had a tenant that died and when we went to turn over the unit, we found her boyfriend moved in. He lived there for two months rent free while we went through the legal process.

OafDawg
2 months ago

Some health departments or other local government agency will not allow more than one camping unit on a campsite, so many times it’s not the park that makes that rule.

Fulltime5er
2 months ago

My wife and I have been full timers for 10 years. We have worked in State and Federal parks as hosts for most of that time. I agree there are some strange rules, that being said, you wouldn’t believe some of the things we have seen people do, say and act like. Try working at a park sometime.

BadWolfe
1 month ago
Reply to  Fulltime5er

You have peaked my curiosity. Any chance you could write up some of your experiences and submit them to RVTravel? I know I would be like to hear them.

TIMOTHY W STITZEL
2 months ago

The rule about the weight of dogs is for the safety of other people. My daughter and her husband live in a mobile home park and they have that rule to keep out the heavy dogs that usually turn mean like the owners. Good call by the park owners.

Rick Eberhardt
2 months ago

Sounds like profiling to me.

Jeffrey Pelot
2 months ago

How does one count a service dog, which are usually 60 pounds or greater?

STEPHEN P Malochleb
1 month ago

I’ve had many large dogs and none of them were mean, unless you came after the kids ,then you might be missing a leg or arm. Many large breeds are gentle giants. Never worried about kids be kidnapped though. Who’s gonna grab a kid walking a 180 lb dog.:):)

Travis
1 month ago

I can tell you 100% that ER visits from dog bites to humans are mostly from small dogs. Quit believing TV shows that falsely portrays large dogs. And even when a large dog is involved it becuase of a nasty human that taught it to fight or be mean.

Lissa
2 months ago

A couple of weird rules we’ve encountered –
No use of onboard washing machines – no laundry facilities on site either.
Campers must provide proof of $300,000 insurance coverage

Doug W
2 months ago

I don’t know what I like worst the stupid rules, that people that complain all the time about every little thing or the ones that go out of there way to be problem children. Add the covid summer of last year and almost impossible to get camping spot and I am doing a lot of soul searching wondering if I should sell my unit. Some of the camping spots have also become so pricey that I can sometimes find motel rooms for only a few dollars more than camping spots in some parts of the country. Lots to think about.

Jesse W Crouse
2 months ago

Well, I feel honored that a comment of mine was mentioned in the newsletter. Got another one-” Can’t fix stupid; only what stupid does.” and the rest of us who know better just have to put up with the crap stupid causes.

Alaska Traveler
2 months ago

Dogs barking all day, dog poop not picked up near my campsite, people cutting through our campsite and smoke from campfires. These are my pet peeves. If it becomes unbearable in one of my long term stays, I approach the offender. The smoke always bothers me but it’s necessary to many campers. I close all my windows and door…..and turn on the air condioner.

Mike R
2 months ago

I totally agree Dog poop,Camp Fires and big parties on the campsite pretty much makes for a not fun time
Dogs are fine but owners need to pay attention to what their dog is doing

Gordy
2 months ago

Dog poop not good, cutting through just depends on what this really means.
camp fires all I can say wants some cheese with your whine.

friz
2 months ago
Reply to  Gordy

You know da.. well what “cutting through” means/is. I have no doubt. Now that resort campgrounds” pack us in ala ghetto, campfires are a nuisance. Especially when your friends decide it is appropriate to burn their garbage/trash. Our camping i.e. “Resorts” may have become transient slums. And by the way, I do not like your radio or choice of noise.

Eileen Brown
2 months ago
Reply to  friz

Oh so true about music or even outdoor tv! Drives me nuts…We do NOT want to hear your music or what you are watching.

BadWolfe
1 month ago
Reply to  Eileen Brown

Well said.

Matt Johnson
2 months ago
Reply to  Gordy

👍👍

Gary Johnson
2 months ago

We stayed in a beautiful campground in Wilson, NY and, while backing in, the front ‘swing’ of the motor home hit a short fence. The CG manager had been sitting there on his golf cart watching! After the $3,500 damage to the coach, the fellow said “I don’t like to tell people how to drive.” I just wish he’d have told me when to ‘stop’!

Engineer
1 month ago
Reply to  Gary Johnson

No spotter?

Lee and TJ
2 months ago

At a campground in Wisconsin long closed now the owners would require you to submit to a search of your coolers, cabinets refrigerator in a quest to discover alcohol. If they found any you had to pour it out a attend a mandatory re-education class on the sins of said alcohol or you could not stay. Can’t imagine why they closed up.

Gary
2 months ago
Reply to  Lee and TJ

I’m glad he went out of business.

Gary Johnson
2 months ago

The sound of a basketball dribbling can get pretty tiresome after a while, just as radio-controlled cars or airplanes, barking dogs or some peoples’ idea of ‘music’. There should be a designated area.

A. Tasse
2 months ago
Reply to  Gary Johnson

OK, now imagine the pleasures of having your site within “hearing distance” of the pickle ball court….just great!!!

Gordy
2 months ago
Reply to  Gary Johnson

😳😳😳

Phil & Peggy
2 months ago

In regard to #4, it should be noted that there IS a difference between an RV Park and a Forest Service or Nat’l/State Campground. Take your holiday gatherings to a Campground, not an RV Park where they are trying to provide a different experience. There’s something out there for everyone, just choose an appropriate setting for what you want, rather than trying to impose what you want into an inappropriate place.

Donna
2 months ago

We have a large quiet Golden Retriever. We’ve encountered RV parks with a 40 pound rule. I agree, smaller dogs are usually noisier and also can be more prone to aggressive behavior. I was told at one park with a size restriction that big dogs make big poop. Okay, don’t you also require pet owners to pick up said poop?

friz
2 months ago
Reply to  Donna

Sad. The most obnoxious, unpleasant breed of dog I have ever met are the Chihuahuas which are naively accepted at ‘”RV parks”. I would much prefer a pack of your Golden Retrievers wanting to say “hello” than one of those yapping cucarachas with fur.

Chris
2 months ago
Reply to  friz

I very much agree with that. Give me golden retrievers anytime over any little ankle bitter, yappy thing. I know a lot of people love those little dogs but that doesn’t mean that someone’s big dog shouldn’t be welcome. My own sister and brother have chihuahuas, never understood them. lol

BadWolfe
1 month ago
Reply to  Donna

Sure do agree. Goldens are just the best. We have a new one on the way!

Bob M
2 months ago

Camped at Lackawanna State Park in Pa. They had no rules posted. On our 2nd day A ranger came by and gave myself and another senior citizen a warning citation. It was because my whole truck was not parked on the asphalt pad. Two wheels were about 16” off pad on modified stone. I could not back my camper further back because the lot had a large slope in the rear. No one would have the amount of blocks needed to support the stabilizer jacks. She said she’d be back in ten minutes to check if we moved our trucks. Camped at two other Pa state parks and visited other and there were never any parking issues.

Tom Hodge
2 months ago

I don’t really have a “most irritating rule” but I will say I get really irritated with RV parks that do not enforce their rules. I’m not talking about small infractions (although I’m pretty black and white so if they did I’d be ok with it) necessarily but the blatantly obvious rule violations. Like; no trailers (cargo, dollies, boats, etc), no parking on the grass, no fires, no freestanding canopies overnight, the list could go on. Again while I don’t always agree with the rules if I decided to stay at the park I have decided to play by the rules of the park (read the contract it says so) so to that end – ENFORCE THE RULES

Gordy
2 months ago
Reply to  Tom Hodge

Yep I am with you on this.