Tuesday, January 31, 2023


Around the Campfire: Surprising campground rules you must follow

Do you always read the campground paperwork? That was the question posed during a recent night around the campfire. What followed was a conversation about surprising campground rules that folks around the campfire had experienced.

True confessions

Bob began, “Usually when you arrive at a campground, you’re given your site assignment, map, and a list of campground rules. Do you read those rules? Every time?”

I admitted that we’re usually so excited about finding our campsite and getting set up that we sometimes fail to read all the CG’s paperwork (e.g., rules).

Joe said, “We’ve been surprised by a few campground rules over the years. If you’re new to camping or haven’t camped extensively, some rules might catch folks off guard.”

Surprising campground rules

What followed was a lively discussion about campground rules. The “fairness” of some rules was questioned. Many folks around the campfire wondered about the rationale behind some regulations. Other restrictions were criticized as “overreach” or “silly.” However, it was argued campgrounds have a right to make their own rules. Here are the campground rules folks around the campfire mentioned. Read the rules and decide for yourself.

  • Number of persons allowed. Even if your RV can sleep eight or more, the CG may limit the number of persons per site. Or you may be required to pay for extra guests, like in hotel situations.
  • RV age. More and more campgrounds are adopting what’s called a ten-year rule. This means that if your RV is more than ten years old you are not allowed. This restriction hopes to prevent unsightly or rundown RVs from staying in the park. (If your rig doesn’t meet the age requirement but is in good condition, you still might be able to reserve a spot. Try sending a photo of your well-kept RV to the CG management for prior approval.)
  • Additional charges for electricity. When you’re camping in an area where you’ll use excess electricity (e.g., for air conditioning) you may receive a bill at checkout time that reflects your electricity use. We’ve learned to ask about this when making reservations. It’s also a good idea to take a photo of your electric meter upon arrival. You can use the photo to dispute any overcharges.
  • Guests. Some campgrounds restrict the number of day guests that visit you. Other CGs charge a fee for outside guests that enter the CG. During peak season, some CGs will issue no guest passes at all.
  • Restricted breeds/pets. Certain breeds or size of dogs may be restricted. Exotic pets are usually not allowed.
  • Pet enclosures. Fences, kennels, and other pet enclosures are sometimes disallowed.
  • Drying clothes. Many campgrounds restrict campers from hanging clothes outside to dry.
  • No glass. In some CGs you may not have glass bottles or containers anywhere outside your RV. (Hmmm. Guess you’ll have to enjoy that cold one inside your rig?)

What do you think? Does a campground have a right to make and enforce rules? Can you add any surprising CG regulations to this list? Please respond in the comments below.

Last week’s Around the Campfire



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Paula Stone
1 month ago

We stayed at a campground in York Maine and they came around every night at 10 PM with water to douse all campfires. No campfires after 10. Which I think is early!

1 month ago

From past experience, a “no millennials allowed without parent or guardian” rule would have been nice.

Left Coast Geek
1 month ago
Reply to  Jeff

“millennials” are as old as 41 now as its defined as being born between 1981 and 1996

1 month ago

If they didn’t enforce anything else, they need to enforce keeping dogs on leash (not a retractable) and not allow excessive barking. I walk my dog a lot, and have to carry a big stick to keep others away. Attacking my dog is not going to happen if I can help it. The barking is ridiculous and so is the hollering loudly at them to shut up, and the dogs ignore their owners anyway. My dog just looks at them, and will not bark unless someone comes into my space. It’s called dog training.

Tom H.
1 month ago

We recently spent a long-term stint at a RV Resort with the 10yr rule and to be honest the worst of the RVs were 5yrs old or less. That same Resort had a rule about pet fencing which by the way was the only rule they enforced on a regular basis.
My pet peeve is having rules but not enforcing them. A rule not enforced is not a rule.

Rusty Clapp
1 month ago

The KOA located in Steamboat Springs, CO new rule is no pet fences. The check in rule sheet wasn’t updated to this new rule. I put ours up and within a few minutes the host stopped by and explained the why no pet fences allowed. New owners instituted the rule as a blanket policy for an occurrence with two dogs jumping their fence and attacking another dog. Kinda of a bummer with a blanket no fence policy but oh well.

Neal Davis
1 month ago

Hey, it’s their campground, so they get to make the rules. Ideally, read the campground’s rules before reserving. See one or more that seem silly, excessive, or otherwise bothersome? Call to make your reservations and discuss the bothersome rules before booking. Sometimes (usually?) the rules were made for good reasons. Either way, understanding why a rule is present may make it easier to accept and follow. Alternately, express your displeasure and find a different campground.

1 month ago

We once stayed at combination mobile home park/RV park in Phoenix. There were rules posted on a 4’x8′ sign just outside the office. Two caught our eye:

1) Children under 45 years of age must be accompanied by an adult park resident.

2) Swimming pool users with incontinence issues must wear diapers.

And they were serious.

1 month ago

Every place I’ve stayed that had a 10 year rule just asked me to text them a pic of my ’04 Southwind and then approved my stay. They just want to keep the junkers out. I have no problem with that.
I also like the rule against dog fences and cages.

Last edited 1 month ago by Gary
T Hartman
1 month ago

Campgrounds absolutely have a right to impose rules and enforce them. It is their property and you are a guest. Unfortunately, most campgrounds are lax about enforcement of even the most common sense rules. If you don’t like their rules, find another campground.

John Koenig
1 month ago

Of course RV park owners have the right to make & enforce rules that guests must follow. Any RVer with some years under their belt can tell stories of “slob” campers who ruin the experience for everyone else. If a camper didn’t read the rules & regulations that’s his mistake. General rule: act in a reasonable manner and you’re NOT likely to have a problem. As for some items mentioned like drying wash or animal pens, those folks should know to ask beforehand or, read the rules carefully. If they fail to do so, shame on them.

1 month ago

The rules listed in the article are common ones and not unreasonable. Some places go the extra mile to be ridiculous and sometimes downright inhospitable. My decaying memory fails me but one place in Phoenix threatens to expel you if your dog pees on their site defining border rocks (painted white). Really? In the same campground cats roamed free. And they weren’t kidding. It was a large enough place that you could walk a city block or more to get to a dog run, and there was no grass or plants anywhere-all gravel and pavement. And guess what objects they placed inside the dog areas? Oh, you guessed it! ROCKS! That won’t confuse your dog much.
Another park had a list of rules that read like a POW camp, I’m not kidding. Every other rule began “you will be asked to leave if” or ended “will result in your expulsion”. And it was one of the longest lists I’ve seen. Can’t remember details now but some of them were just dumb.


1 month ago

Several large campgrounds in Califonia, no smoking or vaping ANYWHERE on the property.

Phil Biggs
1 month ago

We lived in a place in Washington State for a year. They sited a neighbor once for having two spatulas hanging from their BBQ. They had a rule of no bike riding. I rode my bike to work, so had to walk my bike about a quarter mile to the road. They threatened to kick us out (and it wasn’t an idle threat) if we didn’t. Of course, all the owner’s friends flaunted the rules regularly. I won’t name the park, but it is located just south of the Arlingon, WA airport.

1 month ago
Reply to  Phil Biggs

2 spatulas? Hilarious

1 month ago
Reply to  Drew

Well, of course. One just must assume that one of the spatulas had been stolen from someone else in the park. Why else would someone have 2 spatulas? That’s in the campground owners guide – after all, there are rules for making rules. You can get around it if you just explain that one is for flipping hamburgers and the other is for picking up after the dog.

Thomas D
1 month ago

My last rv was 2 years old when I bought it, brand new. No miles on it other than the miles put in by delivery company. I’m getting gyped 2 years? . That 10 year rule gotta go. I have a friend that has a half million dollar coach that’s 12 years old looks like new.

David N
1 month ago

Dogs on a 6’ max leash when walking your dog!
Don’t allow unattended pets leashed or unleashed or on a tether line. No loose dogs!
Just a few that are on the rules Always!!!
Most people don’t read the rules, please do, will make camping more pleasurable!!

Bob Steele
1 month ago

Rules! This is why I only do stealth camping. These so called camp grounds are really getting out of hand these days. Let’s take the Ten Year rule. How many people can really afford to purchase new equipment every few years? Heck my pickup truck is 27 years old and still runs great and does every thing I need it to do including hauling around my 20 year old truck bed camper. I’ve been all over the country including Canada and Mexico the last 30 years or so and I can tell you the spirit of camping has been for the most part lost. Today it is Class Warfare plain and simple. The whole idea of getting out there and camping is to leave the rules, discrimination, and all the pettiness behind. Instead people bring all that horsepoo right out there with them and the campsites just follow suit. Now I’m not knocking anyone who might be well off and can afford high dollar equipment. It’s your money, enjoy it. But remember there are those of us who also enjoy camping for camping.

Dave Swan
1 month ago
Reply to  Bob Steele

Amen Bob. I so whole heartedly concur!

Curt Walp
1 month ago
Reply to  Bob Steele

Unfortunately, as the common sense declines in the camping community, the rules must become more invasive and stringent.

Bob Steele
1 month ago
Reply to  Curt Walp

Just as more rules and laws have not helped in the whole of society they will and have failed in camping parks. People act like this every day in their everyday life and then go out into a camping park and act even worse. The ME mentality/ I paid for this so I can do as I want is destroying society as a whole. Enforcement in general is a joke these days for many reasons. What is lost is Respect, Honor, and just plan Decency. No Laws, Rules, or Enforcement can bring any of them back. No I’ll stay out of the camp sites and stick to Boondocking and stealth camping. There is still some civilization out there but it to is getting smaller and tighter with each passing day.

captain gort
1 month ago

I’d like to see a new rule at ALL RV parks: NO OUTSIDE MUSIC

David N
1 month ago
Reply to  captain gort

Should be able to play your music just dont have it SO LOUD that you can hear it 2 spaces down!

Joe Goomba
1 month ago
Reply to  David N

Nor should i have to hear it next door. Same for people & their outdoor TVs and/or projection screens.

Paula Stone
1 month ago
Reply to  captain gort

I hear you. People need to be respectful of how loud it is and time of day. All campers come with outside speakers now. This will be a hard one.

Wallace Wood
1 month ago

Every time I see the 10 year rule I think about Tom Hanks. About a year ago he sold his 1992 Airstream trailer for over 200K.

1 month ago

With today’s campers, more rules would be good, plus enforcing those rules they have. A campground should have any rules they want; if you don’t like it, don’t stay there. I read the rules before I reserve, so one could hope they list them all.

Leslie Tisdale
1 month ago

One campground that I stayed at allowed dogs, but only in their campsite. They had a public dog area near the entrance, but you were not allowed to walk your dog through the camp ground to get to the dog area. The dog had to be transported there. Since I have a class c camper, driving my dog to the dog area was a no-go; however, I found out that I could use a stroller or a backpack to transport her to the pet area. Good thing she’s only 20 pounds!

1 month ago
Reply to  Leslie Tisdale

We were at a place like that. My wife was carrying the dog and one had to go down a rather steep path to get there. My wife ended up falling and falling on the dog. The dog healed faster than my wife. The rule book stated that even dog urine in the grass was hazardous to one’s health. That place even had sub-rules to the rules. We decided that would be a one night stay!

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