There are certain issues regarding rv etiquette that we RVers need to keep in mind when camped, whether in a state park, national park, private RV park, even boondocking in the desert or overnighting in a Wal-Mart parking lot. Wherever your adventures may take you, remember that trailers and motor homes are not as well insulated from noise as stick-built houses, and rigs are often parked close together. Your campsite is your mini-home, with a mini-yard. There is a need for special consideration in these circumstances.
• Avoid walking through occupied campsites.
• Be considerate with the noise level of your stereo, TV, parties, etc.
• Adhere to the “quiet hours” posted in state and national parks – do not run your generator during those times.
• Keep your children from running wild through the campground.
• Make sure your rig is not encroaching on another campsite, and your dinghy is in its assigned space, not sticking out into the public way.
• Observe posted speed limits.
• Take care of your pets – pick up their poop, and do not leave your dog/s barking unattended either in or out of your rig.
• Have properly working fittings for your hose so it does not constantly leak.
• Do not litter. That means paper, trash, clothes lines on trees, kids’ toys lying about, etc. No one likes living in a messy area.
• It is good rv etiquette to clean up after yourself in the restrooms. Having worked restroom detail while volunteering at a couple of parks, I can assure you that your consideration is greatly appreciated.
• Be courteous at check-in. If others are waiting in line, do not tie up the check-in person asking questions that could easily be handled later.
• Check out when you are supposed to, especially in a full park.
Most of the West and Southwest states are in conditions of severe drought
and have been so for many years. We’re all aware of the terrible forest
fires that have occurred, so be especially careful about any fires you
• If you decide to have a fire at your campsite, do not leave it unattended; make sure it is out when you leave – don’t let it just smolder.
• Don’t throw trash, cans or bottles in your fire – they don’t burn up and burning plastic can smell awful.
• Don’t throw your cigarette butts on the ground – the filters last for decades and a spark may smolder and cause a fire.
businesses welcome RVers who wish to park overnight in their lots, but
sometimes there are town or city laws that prohibit overnight parking so
be sure to read signs. Big box stores like Wal-Mart are your best bets,
also casinos. Always ask the manager if it is permitted.
The absolute best site I've found for finding Wal-Mart locations, and other places like Wal-Mart that will let you dry camp overnight, is Allstays Travel. They now have an App available for those of you with intelligent cell phones.
Here are the generally accepted rules for rv etiquette in this sort of overnight parking situation:
• Park in areas designated for RV parking, away from the customer parking areas.
• Don’t put out slides, awnings, chairs and grills – this isn’t your campsite, just a temporary parking spot.
• Do give the store or restaurant your business – it’s only fair.
• You’ll occasionally see signs asking you not to put down your jacks; especially in hot weather, they can seriously damage the blacktop. So, even if there is no sign, think twice before putting them down.
• Limit your stay to one night, unless you get specific permission to stay longer.
• When you leave, leave your parking spot clean – no litter.
I am continually appalled at the amount of trash I find left behind in parks and roadside rest areas – often when there is a trash can or dumpster right nearby. I will pick up and dispose of trash I find, but it amazes me that so many people have so little regard for their environment.
There are also rv etiquette issues on the road. Be considerate of others when you are driving. RVs are slow on hills and you may like to drive slower than others – pull over when you can to let other drivers get by safely. Many roads have “pullouts” for just this purpose, but many do not, so do your best. Other drivers will appreciate your consideration.