19 Important Camping Rules and Etiquette

campsite with tents and motorhome, camping rules and etiquette

Whether you’re a first-time camper or a seasoned pro, it’s important to know camping rules and etiquette.

After all, you are spending time in nature, and respecting the land is key to being a good camper.

Plus, following these guidelines will help ensure that everyone has a safe and enjoyable experience.

campsite with tents and motorhome, camping rules and etiquette

When venturing into the great outdoors, it is essential to be respectful of your surroundings and considerate of other campers.

Here are some common camping rules and etiquette tips for your next camping trip.

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1. Leave No Trace Of Your Visit

Wild Camping in Winter

When you leave a campsite, make sure to leave no evidence that you were ever there. This means throwing away all your rubbish or taking it with you.

Most campsites have ample rubbish areas and bins where you can separate everything out between food, recycling and general rubbish.

2. Don’t Disturb Other Campers

When you’re camping, it’s important to be respectful of your neighbours and to keep noise levels down. This means avoiding loud music, shouting and general noise late at night.

Most campsites have a time that they ask you to be quiet between, for example, from 11 pm until 7 am, but this varies between parks, so always check.

3. Choose Your Campsite Accordingly

There are hundreds of different styles of campsites and holiday parks. If you want a peaceful camping holiday, it’s a good idea to pick a site that doesn’t offer on-site entertainment. Or if it does, at the time of booking, ask for a pitch far from where it is located.

There are plenty of different campsites to choose from: adult-only, family-friendly, minimal facilities, huge sites, small sites – just make sure you check out some reviews before you book.

4. Respect Privacy

Some campsites squeeze lots of small pitches in close together – be respectful of your camping neighbours and give them privacy. There shouldn’t be any need to go behind their tent or caravan or get too close – if you do need to, try and ask first (for example, if you accidentally hit a ball near it).

5. Keep To Your Pitch

Before booking your stay, make sure your tent, caravan or motorhome can fit comfortably within the boundaries. Check the size of the pitch and the dimensions of your camping accommodation. Remember to factor in any caravan awnings or camping gazebos.

Tell children not to go on other pitches or play ball games too close to other campers. There are plenty of camping games that don’t require you to play too close to pitches.

Camping Games

6. Dispose Of Food Appropriately

Don’t leave uneaten food lying about, especially on hot summer days. Whether it is outside or inside your tent or caravan, the last thing you want is to attract any local wildlife or unwelcome insects to munch on it.

7. Store Food In Sealed Containers

Any food that you are taking camping should be stored in airtight containers. This is to stop any animals or pests from getting into your food and helps keep it fresher for longer. You might want to consider a camping fridge for some food or check and see if the campsite offers fridge-sharing facilities.

8. Don’t Wash Dishes In The Water Taps

When washing up your dishes after a meal, take them to the purpose-built washing-up area. Here, you’ll usually find sinks, hot water and some washing-up liquid.

9. Use The Toilet Wisely

If you use your own toilet (whether that’s onboard your caravan, motorhome, or you have a portable toilet), make sure you know where you can dispose of any waste.

But even if you have your own toilet facilities, not everyone wants to poop in a caravan toilet! If that is the case, you can always use the on-site toilet block, but again, be respectful and follow any rules.

pooping in a caravan toilet

10. Keep An Eye On Shower Times

At busy times, shower blocks can become busy. As nice as it is to stand under a lovely hot shower, remember other people might be waiting, so keep an eye on the time.

11. Wash Down The Shower After Use

When you’re finished showering, make sure to give the shower cubicle a good wipe-down with some hot soapy water. This will help stop mould build-up and keep the showers clean for everyone else.

12. Make Sure Your Children Know Where Their Pitch Is

It’s great to be able to let children have some extra freedom when you are camping.

Ensure they know where the tent is pitched if they go out of sight. Lots of pitches look the same and can be disorientating on large sites.

Ask children to stick together where possible, and if you have young children who might potentially get lost, you can always get them a child ID bracelet with your telephone number on it.

It’s easy for children to get caught up in the excitement of a camping holiday; as always it’s best to give them the stranger danger chat before they go off on their own.

If your child is too young for a mobile phone – or you just want to ditch the screens while you are on holiday – taking walkie-talkies with you can be a fun idea.

13. Be Car Aware

Most campsites will have a speed limit in place for driving around the camp. If you can’t see any obvious signs, still go super slow – there will likely be children running around, chasing footballs or riding bikes.

14. Don’t Leave Car Engines Running

Avoid starting up your engine too soon before you drive off; not only are some car engines noisy, but the fumes they emit aren’t really what you want on an outdoor ‘fresh air’ holiday.

15. Be Campfire Aware


If you plan on having a campfire, do so in an area that isn’t too close to other campers and their pitches.

Make sure the fire is kept under control and any young children and dogs are not left alone near it.

Ensure it is fully extinguished before you go to bed.

Double-check the campsite rules first; some don’t allow open fires.

16. Respect Any Wildlife

If you are camping close to any wildlife, leave them in peace and definitely don’t feed them.

17. Keep Dogs Under Control

Camping holidays are perfect for dogs. They get to be outside most of the time and sleep in close proximity to their owners!

Most campsites will have rules in place requesting that you keep dogs on a lead at all times. You can get stakes to put in the ground that you can tie a dog’s lead to. If you use a longer lead than usual, make sure that the dog can’t run into any neighbouring pitches.

It might be worth taking a foldaway pen with you to cordon off an area for your dog to play.

Some campsites have dog walking areas where you can take them off the lead, and many parks are close to beaches and dog-friendly walks.

dog-walks-at-Seashore Holiday Park
Photo Credit: Haven Holidays

18. Leave When You Are Meant To

If you have been given a checkout time, make sure you plan enough time to take down your tent and pack away. Try not to go past the checkout time so the next campers can get on their pitch when they arrive. Some campsites might also charge a late checkout fee.

19. Avoid Conflict

If you are having issues with anyone on the campsite and have politely tried to speak to them to try and resolve it, don’t get drawn into an argument. The best course of action is to have a quiet word with the receptionist or a security guard on larger sites.

Final Words on Camping Rules and Etiquette

Camping is a great way to holiday with your family and friends, but to ensure it is enjoyable for everyone, just remember to stick to the rules and enjoy your time in the great outdoors!

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