Friday, September 17, 2021
Friday, September 17, 2021

Top 10 complaints RV park managers have about campers

By Nanci Dixon
In last week’s issue, I told you about the top 5 complaints campers voice at the RV park office. This week I thought it would only be fair to write about the top ten complaints RV parks have about campers. Now you’re in the hot seat! The office staff were a vocal group, hence 10 this time instead of 5! My husband and I are park hosts and deal with a lot of these issues, so I can verify that these points are all valid.

1. Loud parties and gatherings

This is the number one complaint of the campers to the office too. Some groups have no idea how loud they have become and quiet down immediately when asked. Others can get hostile, lower the sound a decibel or two when told and then resume immediately when the host or park official leaves.

dog poop sign at rv park
At an RV park in Tucson.

2. Dog poop

Again, dogs can be a problem for campers and park staff. While campers complained more about barking dogs and dogs off-leash, dog poop is a problem for the park staff that needs to pick it up or has inadvertently stepped in it while taking care of a campsite, trail or walkway. Note to dog owners: Please pick up after your pooch. 

3. Dogs off-leash

Looks like we’re seeing similar complaints, aren’t we? Dogs off-leash was a concern for the campers last week too. Campers can go to the office to let staff know, but it is the park staff that needs to approach the people to have them leash or tie up their sometimes very unfriendly, territorial dog. It’s not a fun task!

4. Non-burnable trash in the fire pit

Burning plastic? You can always tell by the acrid smoke and smell. The staff that clean out the fire pits and grills know that plastics do melt but seldom burn completely, that aluminum cans don’t melt, and that bottles don’t burn (and can even explode). And you’d think campers would know to not throw rocks in the fire pit… but that happens more often than you probably think.

5. Trash left on-site

The next complaint is the amount of garbage that is left on the site. There are dumpsters all over the park for garbage. The hard-working staff just wishes more people would use them!

6. Parking on the grass

Cars, trailers, trucks driving over grass leave deep ruts and kill the grass. Some parks have sprinkler equipment in their landscaping that is harmed when driven over. Even in the desert, where the hard-packed desert may look barren, fragile struggling plants or topsoil that took decades to build can be destroyed.

7. Not checking out on time

Overstaying the checkout time usually leaves two sets of campers upset. There are those that don’t read the checkout times and those that intentionally stay too long. Either way, slowly packing up while someone is waiting causes a domino effect of unhappy campers and staff waiting to clean the site. Please know your checkout time, and leave on time.

8. Setting up camp at the wrong site

Just like some campers don’t know the campground’s checkout time, some don’t know their own site number either. Setting up camp on the wrong site is a major hassle for the campers that already set up, and a hassle for those people that are actually assigned to that site. Most people are apologetic when they are on the wrong site and hasten to pack everything up and move.

9. Stealth camping

One of our jobs is to double-check that everyone in the park has a reservation, particularly now when campers are registering online and going directly to their site. As the weekend warriors clear out, more stealth campers come in late and leave early before the office opens.

10. Staying an extra day

Staying an extra day or two without paying is also a form of stealth camping. This usually involves campers that have paid and registered, then try and stay an extra day without paying or registering again. This happens more often as the weekenders leave and toward the end of the season. I am always very polite when I let them know that they are not on the park list and that I am just taking down their RV and car license number so the office can expect them when they go to pay in the morning…

Have any of you worked as park hosts or in the office? If so, what are some of your biggest complaints about campers?

If you missed it, be sure to read the top 5 complaints of other campers too, that we published last week.

Dealing with a nosy campground neighbor
Boondocking gone badly wrong!



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2 months ago

I was a camp host for 2 months. No law enforcement ranger on staff. I tried to get the rangers to evict a class c that smelled like a meth lab and whose occupants were already stirring up trouble to test what they could get away with. After about a week of putting up with them myself and complaints from neighbors (in the middle of the night) an incident requiring 911 assistance started and I was the only staff available. I did what I could to deescalate the situation while waiting an hour for the state police (I do not carry firearms) to arrive. Then they left the guy there for me to babysit and arrested the women. The guy was still acting up when they left and again scared the neighbors in the night (snuck out of his trailer). The troopers brought the women back in the morning but didn’t fulfill their promise to evict them because they had another more urgent call. Another station sent a ranger oblivious to the situation. Someone could have died because no one took the matter serious.

Donald N Wright
7 months ago

Red Pepper around the RV to keep dogs away ? Thank you for the idea.

9 months ago

the biggest issue we have encountered is getting to a site late at night, it’s just a stop over to a longer trip, and some idiot parked in our designated spot. it’s an issue when you’re tired, do not know the camp ground and not sure what the heck happened. fortunately, in this case, the camp office, even though late at night, was very responsive and came out to check to make sure we were set up (we had called them to tell them we were taking a different spot and gave them the number). everything ended fine, but again, when you are tired, it’s the last thing you want to deal with

10 months ago

Sheeeesh! You folks sound like that {bleeped} down the street yelling GET OFF MY LAWN at people walking on the grass between the sidewalk and the street.
Using red pepper to keep dogs away! Really? How insane are you?
Can’t deal with people that arrive early? Get a grip. Tell them they need to get out of the way.
And heaven forbid! KIDS are out in a trailer park where the speed limit is 5-7 MPH.

M Blas
11 months ago

Just read all the comments and as a park owner agree with most of them. But I can’t believe no one mentioned vehicles speeding in the campground. Definitely in our top 3 complaints.

Bill Fisher
11 months ago

Our campsite policy is one I learned decades ago from my Dad and Boy Scouts; leave a campsite better/cleaner than I find it. I always police our campsites and pick up trash, including small bits and others cigarette butts and I’ve cleaned a lot of trash out of fire rings. It’s the right thing to do. Hopefully other campers will see and think, hey, that’s something I will start doing, too.

Bob Weinfurt
11 months ago
Reply to  Bill Fisher

Don’t count on it

11 months ago
Reply to  Bill Fisher

My mother taught us the same thing and I still follow that lead! 🙂

Robert P Sandlak
7 months ago
Reply to  Bill Fisher

As a past Scoutmaster..leave no trace!

11 months ago

I just read all comments below. Yep I have a lot of the same pet peeves, but none are unlike problems that one may have in their stick n bricks neighborhoods. AND if this stuff bothers you this much, you are not cut out to manage dormitories at a university!

11 months ago

Campgrounds ? RV Parks ? I gave up both… Traded the fifth wheel in and got a truck camper. Set up solar and water purifier and a few other need items and went 100 % boondocking. Its smaller then a Larger RV but the pay back is to die for. Free campsite or very cheap, quiet and private. While traveling I can stop at any rest area for the night and I fit in the car section which has open spots always. Can now go up a forest back road and be able to turn around at those dead ends. NO reservations needed ever…… 🙂

11 months ago
Reply to  tommy

Hopefully you leave your site better than you found it! 🙂 Thanks!

Elaine Ashton
11 months ago
Reply to  tommy

Wow! Certainly worthy of consideration. Thanks for sharing. Will this work for two people and a doggie?

Ron TXtrvelers
11 months ago

We camp with 3 medium size dogs. They enjoy camping as much as we do, but they are always on a 6’ leash whether at camp site or walking. Always have poop bags attached to leashes to pick up after them. But more & more people think that leash rules don’t apply to them & no way are they going to pick up after their pets. Seems state parks & private RV parks don’t want to enforce their own rules. Kicking these people out of the camp grounds without a refund might stop this.

Jim Schrankel
11 months ago

As a county campground host my pet peeve is entitled occupants. When pointing out rule infractions, I’m met with “ I’ve been coming here for twenty years!” I would respond with “oh, I didn’t realize, obviously these rules don’t apply you!” And many believed me. Also, people using the campfire rings as trash bins. Ever try to remove a pot full of cooked spaghetti?

11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Schrankel

I would reply with “if you want to make it 21 then you will follow the rules”

11 months ago

wow. people do these things? No. we haven’t done any of these things. amazing . didnt used to be this way.

11 months ago

Last Wednesday we pulled into a state park at 3:20 pm and nobody at registration. We drove into the campground and found a site that was unoccupied. We went to self register. Nowhere was a rate list. ( camping/electric ) posted. Others were there wondering the same thing. I put $3 in the envelope for daily admission and a note i would come back in the morning. Went back to the campsite and 15 minutes later a couple said I’m on their site. They had the receipt that they got from the office but went somewhere rather that going back to the site and posting it to alert others that it was gone. We moved on but the state of Wisconsin needs to get its act together. There were 20 people trying to get into the park and nowhere was anyone of authority. It’s been my experience that 3 and later that people come off the road looking for a campsite. In Wisconsin,the employees go home then. Something is wrong with that picture.

11 months ago
Reply to  Thomas

Wisconsin state parks are not currently allowing camping without reservations. They do currently have same day reservations however.

Diane Mc
11 months ago

Whew! Can say have never done any of those. If we might be early, I would call and ask if it was ok.

11 months ago

I haven’t stayed at a park that cleans the site before a new guest arrives. I’m sure a few exist but we’ve never stayed in any of them. I’ll bet Andy Z’s park however cleans up the sites.

11 months ago
Reply to  Drew

You betcha. And that includes scooping out the fire pits, which also takes time. . . .

Abe Loughin
11 months ago

I’m working maintenance in a 150 site park. I found a way to address dog off leash that more often than not is greeted with a chuckle and compliance. I will approach the “offending ” pup and tell him/her to go tell their human they need to be on a leash. My 2 biggest complaints are guests who don’t read the park rules and then get upset when you try to enforce them. And seasonal who know the rules but think because they are seasonal are privileged and don’t have to follow any that they don’t like.

Montgomery Bonner
11 months ago

Years ago, thought it would be fun to own RV park, today, not on your life. Many of the people are rude, have pets which they think are people, and the rules apply to them too. Camping is getting to where it’s not so much fun anymore. We are talking about selling RV and just staying home, why travel, we can go to the store and see all the rude people and nuts we need to get our fill.

11 months ago

Yup! Also at home you can see just as many pets that will poop and pee on your lawn without regard to whose property it is cuz they do not know better…

Roger B
10 months ago
Reply to  WEB

A lot of that goes back to bad parenting. Fur kids or human kids.

yelaroc - full timer
11 months ago

I am currently working in the office taking reservations. The most vexing problem is that folks call or email to ask about vacancies but don’t have any idea about when they want to arrive or leave. I can’t tell you if there is a vacancy if you don’t know when you want to be here. We are located on the Texas Gulf Coast and beginning next month will have the Winter Texans returning so will be quite full. There are a few scattered vacancies for a weekend or maybe a week, but if you don’t know when you’re going to be here, I can’t help you.

Andy Zipser
11 months ago

In addition to campers who don’t leave by check-out time, let’s include campers who arrive before check-in time–sometimes hours too early. Their site isn’t available, they’re blocking the driveway during mass exodus time and they’re often oblivious–or non-caring–about the hassle they create for everyone else. Nothing frosts me more than the camper who, on being told he’s arrived before check-in time, responds with a casual “I know.” That’s the camper we’re most likely to tell, “I’m sorry, but you have to leave. Come back in three hours.”

9 months ago
Reply to  Andy Zipser

I know?? Unbelievable. Glad you tell them to leave. The last few campgrounds we were in, we were shocked when people started arriving two to three hours before check-in. I said to my husband, I thought check-in wasn’t until 3:00, how are all these people coming in here? We didn’t even know that was allowed. BTW, Andy, we have stayed at your campground three times and love it.

Donald N Wright
11 months ago

Sometimes the song ‘Clowns to the left of me, Jokers to the right” describe some campgrounds. People with dogs are like people who smoke, they enjoy the smell that annoy the rest of us. I have sprinkled red pepper around my camper more than once.I am sure that owning a RV park is expensive, and they crowd as many RV’s in as possible. Many campgrounds are closing for the winter, so their costs must the higher than RV parks in Texas, open all year.

Ellen L
11 months ago

Red pepper to keep the dogs away?

Kaeleen Buckingham
11 months ago

I take exception to this! We have a dog and we clean up after her the second she goes. Do not lump all of us together! Most of us are considerate of our neighbors!

11 months ago

Let your dog poop on a plate and “clean up” the plate. Want to eat off it?
Tire of tracking left over dog poop into my rv!

Part-time Fulltimers
11 months ago

That’s malicious, cruel animal abuse and I hope you get prosecuted for it.

The common walking areas are for all to share, walk along and say Hi to their fellow neighbors. That’s what camping is all about – meeting new people, being friendly! If you want to live alone, then GO live alone outside of a communal place like a campground, don’t make the rest of us suffer for your lack of tolerance for your fellow humans.

Also, do YOU clean up that red pepper when you leave your site??! Ever think that many campers have children or grandbabies who could get a burn from your red pepper, or even anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction? What about thinking of ANYONE ELSE who then pulls into your site after you leave?! We all get to share in your horrible red pepper.

What a selfish, PETTY person you are! Shame on you!

I have a child with life-threatening allergies, we always carry FOUR epipens. You’ve given me one more stupidly random worry to risk losing my child’s life over.

Dogs And Horses
11 months ago

As a current park host…. my number one complaint is campers who do not fully flush the toilets. Its unsanitary and disgusting and inexcusable. Second complaint is loud kids running free without supervision. We’ve seen little kids bolting in front of traffic on park roads and running through people’s campsites after dark. Seriously – control your children for their safety and everyone else’s sanity.

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