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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Cindy T
6 days 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.

OafDawg
7 days 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
7 days 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.

TIMOTHY W STITZEL
7 days 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
7 days ago

Sounds like profiling to me.

Jeffrey Pelot
2 days ago

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

Lissa
7 days 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
7 days 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
8 days 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
8 days 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
8 days 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
8 days 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
8 days 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
7 days 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.

Matt Johnson
8 days ago
Reply to  Gordy

👍👍

Gary Johnson
8 days 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’!

Lee and TJ
8 days 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
8 days ago
Reply to  Lee and TJ

I’m glad he went out of business.

Gary Johnson
8 days 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
8 days 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
8 days ago
Reply to  Gary Johnson

😳😳😳

Phil & Peggy
8 days 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
8 days 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
8 days 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 days 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

Bob M
8 days 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
8 days 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
8 days ago
Reply to  Tom Hodge

Yep I am with you on this.

Tom Hodge
8 days ago

I have to say, I’m in agreement with part of No 5 – “All RVs will be escorted to their site by campground staff”; the RV Park where I currently stay doesn’t do this and a large majority of the rigs are parked in such a way that they are actually in the way of either a rig getting into the space behind them or on either side. (I’ve only witnessed the staff ask someone to move their rig into their space one time.) I’m not in favor with the latter part of No. 5 – “and staff will direct all parking maneuvers”; my wife and I have a system that works and I really don’t need or want your help. I have on more than one occasion asked someone to be quiet or quit with giving directions as it was distracting me from seeing or hearing my wife.

Donna
8 days ago
Reply to  Tom Hodge

We use walkie talkies for backing in. When the staff guides us in, we play along and wait until they leave to readjust. They’re only looking at the hookup side and usually way off on the door side, leaving us stepping out into a hole, etc.

Irv
8 days ago

There’s a park in PA that’s convenient on our trip to visit grandkids. I won’t stay there because the escort insists on you parking in an EACT spot (side-side and front to back) on a long pull through. The problem is that the spot is way out of level in both directions and the sewer connection is an inch higher than the outlet in my trailer so I can’t dump the last 1/8th of my tanks.

Mike Sherman
8 days ago

Park with overhanging the grass? Riding mowers can’t cut it.
Tents next to RVs? Damages (kills) the grass, encourages campers to exceed the number of site occupants.
No visitors allowed? Park occupancy limits easily exceeded, too many cars, too many pedestrians, heavy restroom use requires multiple resupply and cleaning throughout the day and evening. The sound of a dribbling basketball can be quite annoying.

Jason Marshall
7 days ago
Reply to  Mike Sherman

Bravo, Mike!!

Brenda Odom
7 days ago
Reply to  Mike Sherman

As frequent park hosts, AMEN to that! The problem is not the rules…it’s the people who won’t follow them.

Gary Smith
8 days ago

There is a campground in Salmon, ID that absolutely forbids guests visiting campers. A review accounts how one camper was ordered to leave because a couple of family members from town came to visit.

Gary
8 days ago
Reply to  Gary Smith

That is ridiculous.

pursuits712
7 days ago
Reply to  Gary Smith

The road goes both ways! Too many campers use family members as a way to get free entertainment. We have often wondered how one camper could hold the number of people indicated by the cars parked nearby. Most parks charge very reasonable fees for visitors who then take advantage of the privilege of having “party central” via one paid camper.

Ken Gregory
8 days ago

Maybe not in the top 10 rules, but how about enforcing the “no departing camp before 7am rule”? We were staying at the KOA in Billings, MT over Labor Day weekend, and if you know this KOA it’s the oldest in the U.S. and spaces are VERY tight. A 45-foot diesel pusher next to us started its engine at 5:45am, which was situated right outside our bedroom. Boy, what a wakeup call! The engine ran for what seemed like forever and then they were gone by six.