One of the most important things to remember when you and your family go on a camping trip is your manners. Camping manners are more than just "please and thank you." Having camping manners is a combination of following the rules of the specific campground and also respecting the privacy of any other visitors who share the campground with you. Keep in mind that the campground rules vary whether you are staying in a State or National Park or if you are staying in a private RV or tent campground.
Regardless of where you are staying, first impressions are the most important. If you arrive at a camp site during the evening, keep in mind that it is often very rude to have music blaring or headlights blazing in the eyes of your fellow campers. If arriving late at night, without jeopardizing anyone's safety, dim the lights a little to make things easier on your neighbors.
Selecting a Campsite
When choosing your spot from among available camp sites, you must first ensure that the spot you are trying to occupy is indeed vacant. Often times when a family goes on vacation, they will head off on day-long excursions thus giving the appearance that the RV campsite is vacant when it is in fact not. Often times, if a family has left the RV campground for the day, they will leave behind some sort of indicator that the space is still theirs such as a couple of chairs or an awning. Even if the site appears vacant, you might want to ask some of the nearby campers if the spot is available.
Respect Your Neighbors
Be respectful of your neighbors and pick up your trash. Not only can it be unsightly to have napkins and soda bottles blowing around a campground, it can also be dangerous in some places. Depending on where you camp, there might be bears in the area. Bears love it when campers leave food out or trash blowing around, therefore making the tent campground their own personal playground. Even if you are camping in an area where there is no risk of bears, it is simple common courtesy to pick up after you and your family. Camping is more fun when you can enjoy nature in its purest most pristine form.
If you are camping with rambunctious youngsters, please keep in mind that you are sharing camp sites with strangers who might have come on their camping trip to escape the noise and bustle of the city. Most campsites have separate areas for children to play in so make sure that you respect your neighbors and make good use of these play areas. The same principles apply to your pets. There are often more smells, sights and small animals for your pets to chase at a campsite than in your backyard. With this in mind, it is in the best interests of your fellow campers as well as yourself to keep your pet on a leash and always...clean up after your pets!
Obey Campground Rules
Please keep in mind that every campground has specific rules regarding things like fires, smoking, quiet areas and so on. It might be a good idea to be prepared by bringing a small supply of your own firewood. Camp sites frown upon chopping down trees for firewood or kindling; plus, you do not want to bother your neighbors in the middle of the night by inquiring if you can have some wood from their supply, should you happen to run out of firewood during your late night marshmallow roast. Before loading up your trailer with firewood, however, check with the local laws in the area you will be visiting since some states prohibit the carrying of firewood across state lines. Furthermore, when quiet hours are posted, make sure that you turn your radio down and keep your voices to a minimum. You would be surprised how well sound can travel in any campsite!
The same principles apply early in the morning. If you are planning to get an early start before you head off to the next RV campground on your tour, try to get your belongings packed up the night before. This includes any chairs, tables and trash that you might have left lying around. Before you leave, make sure that your fire from the evening before has been fully extinguished and that the ashes around the fire pit have been cleaned up.
Respecting nature around you, as well as your fellow campers is a big part of what can make camping such a great experience. Following the rules makes the whole experience enjoyable for everyone, not to mention ensuring that the RV or tent campground is as safe as possible for everyone staying there.
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