Thursday, November 30, 2023


Dear inconsiderate campers—Know your check-out time!

By Nanci Dixon
What check-out time?! That seems to be the question going through many inconsiderate campers’ heads these days.

Please look at your reservation and know your campsite check-out time. Inconsiderate campers are the ones that don’t check out on time, won’t follow directions or rules, or just don’t care about their fellow campers. Twice now in three days we have waited and waited for our RV site to open up. Check-out time at this campground was at 3 p.m. and check-in time was 4 p.m. No one was even at their site at check-out time. Ugh.

Waiting for our site at check-in time

The first site we waited for took the park manager appearing and two visits by the park police to get them to even think about taking their tents down and packing up their stuff. My first contact with them did not hurry the process along either. One guy was sitting and relaxing in a camp chair while the other one was partially packing up. When the park manager pointed out, “Shouldn’t he be helping too?” the reply was, “You would f*ing think so!” The person never reappeared out of the tent. We were thankfully given another site.

Waiting for our site… again

Like many of us, we are doing hopscotch with sites and moving around in order to stay at a park longer, so the next day we packed up and waited for a trailer to leave. An hour before check-out time, we watched as the truck left the site and left the trailer behind. At check-out time we called the office. They tried to reach him by phone but got no answer. They, once again, graciously gave us another site. After check-in time he finally pulled up with a sailboat. We didn’t stick around, but wondered how he was going to haul his fifth wheel and a long catamaran with one pickup truck…

Parks seeing huge increase in issues

I spoke with the park manager, who said they’ve seen a huge increase in people not leaving on time, trying to stay extra days but not paying, trashing sites, stealth camping, angry people, and domestic disputes. On top of all that, they’ve seen an increase in police escorting people out with warrants for their arrest!

In general, campers have been unusually angry, feel entitled and won’t follow the simple, out-of-respect-for-others rules. The campers are not even paying for the firewood and campsite at the honor box.

Bottom line: Please read the reservation, ask the office if unsure of anything, look at and follow the rules, and leave the site cleaner than when you got there. It’s simple.


A “newbie’s” shifting perspective on RV etiquette



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Neal Davis (@guest_262465)
5 days ago

Yikes! I’m so sorry, Nanci! 🙁 How inconsiderate!?! Thankfully, we encountered one stealth camper in our campsite years ago, none since, and no one that overstayed their reservation.

Kerry (@guest_262404)
6 days ago

This is not just happening at campsites. This is the entitled attitude of almost everyone I come in contact with on a daily basis.

Dave (@guest_262392)
7 days ago

Nanci Dixon, you only discussed half the problem. We have been departing by the noon check out time, while the people with a reservation for the following night arrived at 10:00 AM to check in. Tell both sides of the issue.

friz (@guest_262372)
7 days ago

Leaving beyond one’s checkout time if another camper is booked after you is somewhat inconsiderate. In the days when Hosts would/could move you around to another site seem to have passed. Greed charging fees for a particular site compounds the problem. Here is a pet peeve of mine. Ban the term “1 day, 2 days etc reservation”. A day is 24 hours long. If I make a reservation for 1 day and arrive at 1500 in the afternoon, the site should be mine until 1500 the next day by the definition of a day. But it is not. It should be made clear that you rent a site by the NIGHT and are expected to vacate by 1200 (or whatever) the next day. This is why we almost exclusively stay at Boondockers Welcome.

Wallace Wood (@guest_262362)
7 days ago

I was at a NPS campground and was running a little late. Check out was 10 AM. Check in 2PM At 10:10 a ranger came by and told me I was supposed to be out at 10 even though she could see we were actively packing. She told me that the next camper was waiting for the site I was in. I smiled and told her that check in was at 2 but if she wanted to give me a hand that would be great. She walked away. We were gone 10 min. later

Mikal H (@guest_262405)
6 days ago
Reply to  Wallace Wood

Interesting approach. You are late and she is just doing her job, yet somehow you try to make her feel bad about doing her job instead of just apologizing for YOUR tardiness and advising you’ll be gone in “x” minutes. The guy campground hosts and park rangers love. 🙁

Ernie Powell (@guest_262443)
5 days ago
Reply to  Mikal H

Have you ever heard of GRACE . You were given grace at some time in your life

scott (@guest_262357)
7 days ago

I think the way to avoid this is for campgrounds tell campers they will have $25 / hr added to their credit card for staying past checkout

Joyce M (@guest_262390)
7 days ago
Reply to  scott

Before I retired I was making $50. an hour. I raise your $25. an hour.

Vince S (@guest_262355)
7 days ago

Our experience of recent has been quite different. We pull into an empty campground, go to select a site and although empty, the site’s reserved. We look at other empty sites, reserved. We go online, “sold out”. We found 1 semi-level patch of gravel that wasn’t claimed at the post but not available online and took our chances and paid locally. We stayed there for 3 days and crazy as it is, the other sites stayed empty the whole time. Strange times….

Lee Rousseau (@guest_262336)
7 days ago

We’ve actually had the opposite happen to us. We were at a campground with a checkout time of 11am. The folks who were coming in behind us wanted us off of the site at 10:15. We were packing up to be off the site on time but their harassment and inconsiderate hounding caused us to slow down and take our time packing up. We left the site on time just to be spiteful.

Jeff Craig (@guest_200560)
1 year ago

I’ve only been late checking out three times in 14 years of RV’ing. Twice we overslept (we go to the drive-in theater near the campground) and the third time we had a mechanical issue and the jacks wouldn’t retract. Only once did we delay the people coming in, but they were very forgiving as we were in the middle of packing out when they arrived. Probably seeing us calmed their nerves.

What I have a problem with, however, are the folks who show up at 11A (two hours before check out), and spend the whole time giving you the ‘stink-eye’ while you pack out. We pulled out of our spot at 1230, and before we turned the corner to get into the dump area (not a FHU park), they were already backing into the space. So, there are inconsiderate people on BOTH sides of the check-in clock.

Neal Davis (@guest_200557)
1 year ago

I felt guilty yesterday when I vacated our site 10 minutes beyond check-out time (and 2 hours, 50 minutes before check-in time). These stories are incredible. We have a REMOTELY similar story of arriving at a reserved site well after dark (we’d alerted the campground that our ETA would be after they closed) in mid-October 2017 only to find a campervan sitting there. DW rousted the sleepy squatter, who initially encouraged us to find another site. She informed him that our size was too great (43′) to fit another site and why we’d reserved that one. He begrudgingly moved across the road but was gone the next morning. We told the campground our story and they replied that they were having a problem with squatters. We now arrive well before the campground office closes and have had no recurrence of the problem. 🙂

DPHooper (@guest_200549)
1 year ago

The World is becoming so “me” and self centered, it makes it difficult to do anything. 😢

Tom (@guest_262397)
6 days ago
Reply to  DPHooper

Hear, Hear.

Paul B. (@guest_200533)
1 year ago

Guests not leaving by check out time? Charge a $50 late fee and give it to the people who you inconvenienced. 😁

Joe Dobry (@guest_200488)
1 year ago

You can beat this subject to death, won’t change anything. People that disregard the rules will continue to do so unless a financial penalty is given AND collected. Most people know the checkout time but choose to ignore it because of no penalty. The state park I host at has this problem continually, but no real penalty for late departure. Supposedly, there is a notation on the computer, but I doubt it, the rangers have too much to do as it is. Corollary to this is the camper who arrives early and expects the current camper to leave to accommodate him…

Mikal H (@guest_262407)
6 days ago
Reply to  Joe Dobry

Exactly correct on the effects of zero enforcement.

There is a small free primitive state campground not far from us that has a two week per annum limit. Another much larger state park about 40 miles away has responsibility to manage the small park, but basically does nothing. Campers overcrowd into the small park and stay for months. The “rules” board has been defaced horribly, I suppose to allow the violators to say “I didn’t know.” Users leave garbage all over.

Net…bad behavior by campers enabled by horrendously negligent management by the state park system.

Donald N Wright (@guest_200481)
1 year ago

When park management could not find the owner of the rig, they assigned me to take a pull though site with my pickup truck and Aliner popup. I prefer a back-in site.
Another problem is noise, rules say lights out and music off at ten pm, but some folks party on into the night. I have witnessed the rules rigidly enforced at a Texas State Park and a private park where actors and tradespeople stayed at across the road from T.R.F.

M D-B (@guest_200479)
1 year ago

” in general, campers have been unusually angry, feel entitled and won’t follow the simple, out-of-respect-for-others rules.” This is the state of country now unfortunately.

tom (@guest_200602)
1 year ago
Reply to  M D-B

You are right. The Country is turning against itself. Me First, and the Heck with you.

Tim (@guest_201252)
1 year ago
Reply to  tom

2 Timothy 3:1-5

Mikal H (@guest_262408)
6 days ago
Reply to  Tim


Leonard Rempel (@guest_200459)
1 year ago

Campers are only doing it because they can, with little repercussions. It needs to be up to the campground to enforce it with automatic financial penalties. This will fix this issue in a heartbeat.

Debbie (@guest_200622)
1 year ago
Reply to  Leonard Rempel

I agree. Maybe give them a little leeway (30 minutes??) and then charge them for every minute they are late leaving. Be sure it is posted on paperwork and website. Although I’m not sure how it would be enforced as if an additional charge is put in their CC they can just tell CC they didn’t authorize the charge and you can’t make them hand over cash. Frustrating situation.

Also block them from returning might also be an option by using tag number from RV and/or DL info.

Bob p (@guest_200439)
1 year ago

I had that happen this past spring, check out time was 11 AM, previous camper was nowhere to be found, I’m sitting there waiting to pull in, it’s 1145. I called the office they sent someone to check and found them at the pool. Told they had to leave as the space was rented and customer was waiting. They returned and broke camp in their bathing suits. I laughed.

Mike (@guest_200423)
1 year ago

Worst experience was finding a car parked in our site. The owner was from a site across the road, had parked their car in our site and went off to the beach. The campground was very full so no reason to believe the site would stay empty.

Roger B (@guest_262382)
7 days ago
Reply to  Mike

The campground should have it towed. Plain and simple.

Tom H. (@guest_200418)
1 year ago

Although not to the extent of the offense in the article, I see this regularly. My wife and I workkamp at a small private campground and at least weekly there’s one or two who are 15-30 mins late checking out. Most of the time a simple reminder gets them moving but occasionally it takes to owner speaking with them to light the fire. Fortunately checkout is at 11 and checkin isn’t until 2 so we have a buffer. The owners are not opposed to charging the late checkout a fee, they have, and/or advising the offender that they are no longer welcome at the campground (I’ve not witnessed this but I have seen the list of “do not take a reservation from”.).

Tom B (@guest_200382)
1 year ago

No one around, you paid for the site? I consider it abandoned in place and available for the taking. After all, its on my spot, so it must be my stuff! Just kidding, but a guy can dream, can’t he?

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