Campground Rules? Or really just suggestions to be ignored?

Jimbow

Super Active Member
Silver Supporting Member
Nov 30, 2012
1,980
Lately I've noticed a number of threads across several forums where members discuss the campground rules they just ignore. Comments like "if the campground's owners don't know" or "better to beg forgiveness than ask permission".

So what are the rules that get followed and which ones are ignored?

For example it seems like total length or height restrictions can't be ignored.
 

GalsofEscape

Super Active Member
Nov 26, 2013
1,104
Maryland
your question reminds of a state park i was checking into. They required that i sign a statement that yes i will back in to my site (a site that was booked as a back-in site). i had never been asked that before and was incredulous - but they said that yes, it was a problem and that there were usually two or three people a year that take the AC unit off their camper by a tree branch because they decided to pull across the grassy area into the site instead of backing in.
 

tfischer

A bad day camping beats a good day at the office
I can't think of too many rules you just "ignore" or "ask forgiveness" on but I'm looking forward to what other's say.

I think the one time I've said something like this (and it's been a long time, because it is a controversial subject evidently) is with leaving dogs behind for a short time while being away from the site for an hour or two. Many campgrounds say "pets must be attended at all times". To me, clearly the reason for this rule is that nobody wants to camp near a dog that's barking non-stop while you're away. But if you have a dog like my old Golden who passed last year... he was very accustomed to being crated at home and had no issues sleeping quietly in his crate while we were away. He never made a peep... we would test this numerous times. So it was an easy way go on a short bike ride and such while he'd nap. And then when we returned he'd be happy to see us. That dog rarely barked, ever much less incessently. So technically we would "break the rule" but it was literally hurting no-one, including the dog.
 

tfischer

A bad day camping beats a good day at the office
your question reminds of a state park i was checking into. They required that i sign a statement that yes i will back in to my site (a site that was booked as a back-in site). i had never been asked that before and was incredulous - but they said that yes, it was a problem and that there were usually two or three people a year that take the AC unit off their camper by a tree branch because they decided to pull across the grassy area into the site instead of backing in.

There's a state park we regularly camp at that they don't seem to enforce this at all. We see people set up sideways, in U-shapes sharing multiple sites, etc.
 

tfischer

A bad day camping beats a good day at the office
I am sure that the statement is simply to relieve the park from any liability due to the camper owners stupidity....

I've always thought it was a bit wild... Minnesota State Parks are pretty adamant about not parking off of the pad, but this one is in Iowa and evidently they are more lax there. Most places don't want you driving on the grass at all but this one, everyone does.
 

GalsofEscape

Super Active Member
Nov 26, 2013
1,104
Maryland
I've always thought it was a bit wild... Minnesota State Parks are pretty adamant about not parking off of the pad, but this one is in Iowa and evidently they are more lax there. Most places don't want you driving on the grass at all but this one, everyone does.
yes, here in Maryland - they also want you to stay on the pad but enforcement depends on the state park. Some have a large staff and the campground has a gate with a code and others are drive in, find your site and set up. those that are just drive in--- you can usually get away with parking off the pad. the others, nope. Though if you are caught breaking that rule, the rangers will just tell you that you need to move the vehicle - and if needed, where the overflow parking lot is. not a big deal.

the one in my story was a NY state park and they had back in sites encircling a large grassy field. so i could see where people would think that they could just trundle across the field to pull into their site rather than back in.
 

PopUpSteve

Administrator
Staff member
Gold Supporting Member
Dec 22, 2002
20,893
Southeastern PA
Rules are there for a reason, either to protect the people, vehicles, or the campground. You don't know how many times I wish I had a portable speed bump to stop speeders, or saw/put out a campfire after the site occupant is long gone. People who go out for the day but leave their dog in the RV to bark for hours. People who entertain the campground with their music. Parents who let their offspring free-range on everyone campsites but their own. Yet, God help you if they trip on the clearly marked guild-line for your awning or hit their head running under your bunkend. There're a million examples of campground misbehavior.

How many times in the last two years have you heard the phase "Rules for thee but not for me". Doesn't that piss you off?
 

kitphantom

Super Active Member
Platinum Supporting Member
Dec 26, 2009
13,660
Albuquerque, NM
In most of the places we camp, there is a length limit listed for sites on the reservation systems, but it's not really a rule as such, except that camper and tow vehicle must be off the road and on the parking pad. We've learned, for some of the places we camp regularly, that length limits are not exact. For instance, we know that we can fit in an arc-shaped drive-through site, even though we are longer than the length listed for it for RVs, because we're in a towed vehicle with the pivot point of the coupler. An all-one-piece RV would not make the curve.
If we aren't familiar with a campground, and can't gather enough extra info from campsitephotos and/or satellite pics, we use the listed site length to choose a site.
 

Drufus

Member
Mar 19, 2020
55
At California sp, rule against hanging a hammock from any tree regardless of using straps or the strength of the tree. Does not make sense to me. Damaging trees in the forest is bad, agreed but sleeping in a hammock under a sturdy tree? No harm/no foul.
 

PopUpSteve

Administrator
Staff member
Gold Supporting Member
Dec 22, 2002
20,893
Southeastern PA
With a PopUp, you can generally get the rear bunkend off the pad since it's hanging over the end of the pad and not on it. But wheels and stabilizers should not exceed the length limits for a site.

Like at Yellowstone, if it weren't for the tree branches, I would have taken her back another 5ft.
2019-08-24 17.25.52-1.JPG
@ Bridge Bay Campground 2019

And those sites at Yellowstone are tight!
2019-08-24 17.25.17-1.jpg
@ Bridge Bay Campground 2019

2017 YS.jpg
@ Grant Village 2017
 

Tonya Harding

Super Active Member
Gold Supporting Member
Jun 15, 2018
1,814
Virginia
Wood & barley pops are the rules I sometimes break; wood actually is ok, our county is not on the ban list, & any quaffing is done in a discreet & calm manner, no howling or "Hey ya'll watch this" crap. I fully understand why rules/regs are in place, seen a lot of clowns acts that needed a throat punch over the years...
 

jmkay1

2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah
Oct 10, 2013
7,503
Northern Virginia
I'm with Steve, rules are there for a reason. Now some campground rules were put in place mainly because of stupid people. One campground had a rule about hammocks. According to the ranger one person screwed a hook into a tree to attach their hammock. It was easier for the campground to put rules out saying no hammocks then describe what was allowed. Because If someone hung a hammock correctly the next person may use it incorrectly. Another campground has a rule about clotheslines and that was due to a child running into a clothes line left up and nearly hanging themselves. We may be very diligent to cut down lines when we leave and use the correct straps for a hammock but unfortunately not every camper does. So rules were put in place to prevent damage, injuries etc. The rules I seriously wish people followed but many do not, are dogs on 6' lead or shorter and no cutting through sites. I once broke the no firewood from out of area rule but only because it was the expensive kiln dried firewood that costs a bloody fortune . Sure if it was a regular tree firewood that was not specially treated I understand. I would leave any campfire wood behind and buy only local.
 
Sep 25, 2021
57
Last year we ignored a rule at a private campground where they had signs that NO DUMPING OF TOILET WASTE was allowed at the outhouses. All we use is a bucket and toilet paper, same as if you peed right into the toilet. I think it had something to do with mixing chemicals probably? Anyway I had to be all sneaky about it because the sign also threatened expulsion if you were caught.
 

theseus

Living the Darkside...
Silver Supporting Member
Feb 6, 2007
3,498
Centerville, OH
I imagine that those individuals on the other forums that are saying they ignore the rules are some of the newbies that have flooded the campgrounds. If everyone is following the rules, then everyone has a much nicer stay. Nothing ticks me off more than listening to some fool's music when they are parked 5 sites away...

Understanding why the rule is there, can help you decide how to bend it though. Most people don't bother even trying to understand the rules.
 




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