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How Loud Can a Generator Be in a Campground?

Man starting a generator while camping

Generators are a popular choice for providing electricity while off the grid, thanks to the versatility and convenience they offer. However, gas generators create excessive noise that often causes a disturbance when camping among others. This can sometimes be a major problem at campsites if the generator is too loud. But just how loud can a generator be?

A generator in a campground should be no more than 50 – 60 dB at 5 feet (1.5 meters). This is considered moderate noise and can be heard from a distance. If the generator is more than 60 dB at 5 feet (1.5 meters), it is deemed to be too loud and can be disruptive to others.

Just imagine getting settled into your campsite for a relaxing evening of nature enjoyment only to hear your neighbors crank up their loud generator. This can happen in primitive campgrounds so it should be expected but you always hope people will only use it a short while and be done with it for the night.

It doesn’t always happen this way and some people let it run all night long. It can be frustrating but it’s all part of the experience.

If you are planning a trip to a campground anytime soon, it is best to understand the rules about generator use and noise control in the campground. Read on to learn more!

Is It Rude To Run a Generator at a Campground?

It is not rude to run a generator at a campground if it is allowed and at an acceptable noise level. You’ll create a little noise, but it should be fine as long as you are not disturbing other campers. However, it is rude to run a generator if the campground has clear rules against it.

Some campgrounds may have quiet hours during which generators are not allowed, and others may simply ask you to turn off your generator during certain times of the day or night.

Woman enjoying camping

If other campers nearby are trying to sleep, it’s generally considered polite to keep the noise level down. However, if you’re camping by yourself in a remote area with no other campers, you may run your generator all night without any complaints. Just be sure to ask the campground staff about their generator policy before you arrive to be prepared.

In general, here are a few instances that may come off as rude if you decide to run a generator in a campground:

  • If the campground has quiet hours and you run your generator during those times, it can be disruptive to other campers and is generally not considered polite.
  • If the campground has a no-generator policy and you run one anyway, it is against the rules of the campground and can be considered rude.
  • If your generator is excessively loud and other campers have complained, it could be considered rude since you are disturbing the peace and quiet of others.

If a campground allows generators and you are within the parameters of the noise level allowance, you should be free to run your generator with no issues. Other campers will need to understand that the noise of generators is a possibility when they book their stay.

How Loud Is Too Loud for a Camping Generator?

Any noise level above 60 dB at 5 feet (0.3 meters) is considered too loud for a camping generator. This is the point at which the noise can cause discomfort among other campers. Above 70 dB, the noise may cause you and others to develop headaches, physical pain, and hearing problems.

If you’re like me, the noise of a generator is intensified when I am trying to relax and listen to nature. I often enjoy spending time with my van windows open or outside in a chair or hammock. To have to listen to a generator of any noise level often seems too much for me.

So, how can you reduce the noise of your generator while camping?

Here are a few tips to help reduce the noise of your generator while camping:

  • Invest in a quiet generator. Look for a generator that is specifically designed to be quiet. These generators typically use mufflers and other noise-reduction technology to help keep the noise level down. Besides, paying a little extra for a quiet generator will be worth it when you can enjoy a peaceful camping trip. Honda makes great generators (affiliate link) that have proven to be the gold standard among campers who want a quiet and dependable solution.
  • Place the generator away from the campsite. The further away the generator is from the grounds, the less noise it will make. Try to place the generator at least 50 feet (15 meters) away from your tent to help reduce the noise level.
  • Use a sound barrier. If you can’t place the generator far away from the campsite, try using a sound barrier to help reduce the noise. A sound barrier can be anything that will block or absorb noise, such as a tarp, blankets, or even a row of trees.
  • Turn off the generator when not in use. If you’re not using the generator, there’s no need to keep it running. Turning it off will help reduce the noise level for you and other campers.

These are just a few tips to help reduce the noise of your generator while camping. By following these tips, you can ensure that you and other campers have a peaceful and enjoyable trip.

For more tricks for reducing generator noise, the following video has a few tips:

Can You Run a Generator at Night in a Campground?

You can run a generator at night in a campground if it is allowed. However, this doesn’t mean that you should. Just because something is allowed, doesn’t mean it’s fine to do it. Being considerate of other campers’ sleep time should also be of concern.

For example, if your campground has a quiet time between 10 PM and 7 AM, ensure you switch off the generator during this period. If you’re not sure about the noise level of your generator, it’s always best to ask the campground staff before using it.

It also matters what other people in the campground are doing. If lots of generators are running then it won’t matter if yours joins the pack. However, if you are the only one with a loud generator running, you may want to shut it off.

If your campground allows generators at night, ensure you follow these seven guidelines:

  • Ensure the generator is placed away from other campers’ tents, as the noise can be disruptive.
  • Keep the generator well-maintained so it doesn’t produce more noise than necessary.
  • Be considerate of other campers and run the generator at a time that won’t disturb their sleep.
  • Only use the generator when absolutely necessary, as running it for long periods can be disruptive.
  • Ensure the generator is properly ventilated so that it doesn’t produce harmful fumes, such as carbon monoxide.
  • Never leave the generator running unattended, as this could pose a fire hazard.
  • Follow all campground rules and regulations regarding generators, noise, and quiet hours.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure that you’re being considerate of other campers while still being able to use your generator at night.

Choosing a Solar Generator Instead of a Gas Generator

A gas generator is not the only option when considering generators. If your energy demands are not high, a good solar generator may be all that you need to power your life while camping. While most solar generators on the market won’t power an air-conditioner or electric heater for very long, they will be plenty for nearly all other needs.

The best part is that solar generators make no noise! You can run one within a campground and no one will ever know. My solar generator powers my entire van unless I am connected to shore power. It’s always been plenty for my needs but I don’t have an air conditioning unit in my van.

Besides them being completely silent, you also won’t need to fill them with gasoline or smell fumes coming from them.

If you are someone who only needs to use electricity for the basics such as charging phones, laptops, running a TV, radio, and other small devices a solar generator may be the perfect alternative.

My favorite is the Goal Zero units but other affordable options are available including the Jackery and the Ecoflow.

Final Thoughts

When choosing a generator, it’s important to consider the noise level. Some generators can be quite loud, especially when running at full power. If you’re planning on using a generator at a campground, check with the campground rules beforehand to ensure it’s allowed.

Also, be considerate of your fellow campers and keep the noise to a minimum. If the generator is too loud, it can disturb other campers and even cause damage to their hearing. So, be sure to move the generator or use a muffler, or a generator box, to help reduce the noise.

Do Campgrounds Allow Outdoor Showers?

Outdoor shower on camper van

Camping provides a relaxing escape from the modern world and allows you to get out in nature. One problem with this is that we humans like to be clean at all times. We are accustomed to our conveniences and miss them when we don’t have them. Those of us who travel in RVs often have showers contained within our rigs but what about those who don’t? Are outdoor showers allowed at campgrounds?

Many campgrounds do allow outdoor showers. Some require you to collect wastewater and dispose of it at designated dumping areas while others do not. A portable shower enclosure for privacy along with a portable camping shower provides an ideal setup.

Many campgrounds are equipped with public shower and restroom facilities so you won’t have to worry about it but for those that aren’t, an outdoor shower at your campsite may be the only option. It’s usually not a problem if you are using a system that keeps you out of sight from others and are disposing of your wastewater properly.

It’s important to consider wastewater runoff with respect to you and the next camper. If you are creating a muddy mess by taking a shower next to your camper, it won’t be an ideal situation. The next camper will also inherit the mess you have left behind so be courteous and thoughtful with where you position your shower and what you do with the wastewater.

Taking a shower while camping is different from taking a shower in your home. You are usually only concerned with specific areas of your body during a quick camping shower rather than scrubbing every inch of your body. An outdoor shower gives you a way to keep your private areas clean when other options aren’t available.

Besides a shower, there are several ways to keep yourself clean and stink-free throughout your camping trip. In the rest of this article, I will take a look at the various ways you can shower outdoors, as well as product recommendations for each.

How Do You Shower Outside When Camping?

Showering outdoors and actually keeping clean while camping can be challenging, especially if you don’t come prepared. Your water source and storage, your camping site, shower gear, and even how often you need to shower are some of the things you need to consider.

It’s also likely that your camping trips are in the summer when the temperature and humidity are at their highest. Spending time outdoors, even while showering regularly, can make you sweaty and stinky in no time!

Here are some ways you can shower when camping:

  • Use the public shower facilities at the campground (if equipped) or other places
  • Use a portable gravity or pocket shower
  • Set up a camping shower tent
  • Sponge down
  • Go swimming

Let’s take a better look at these options.

Use the Public Shower Facilities at the Campground or Other Places

If you’re not camping in a remote wilderness, chances are you will come across a campground with public showers. If your campground isn’t equipped with these, you can find showers in other public places such as gyms and beaches. It’s a treat to find a good campground that has clean showers with hot water. Even in the summer, hot water is rejuvenating and makes you feel nice and clean.

If your campground doesn’t offer a shower, you may be able to leave and use other public showering options. Many van lifers and other full-time RVers have memberships to gyms that allow them to shower regularly. You may be able to find one in the vicinity of your campground in this case.

Many people plan their trips around where these locations are so they know there will always be a place to shower and use the facilities.

If you are staying at a campground that offers an indoor shower, be sure to bring biodegradable soap and shampoo. These are sometimes required to prevent contamination in the area.

The Stream2Sea Eco-Friendly 3-in-1 Body Wash is a great choice. It is also ideal for use as shampoo and conditioner.

Use a Portable Gravity or Pocket Shower

A portable gravity shower is a great option for those who want something light, portable, and easy to pack. It is simply a shower tool that you set up above your head. It relies on gravity to pour out water for you as you bathe.

The only downside to this shower tool is that since it doesn’t use pressure to release water, water flow is quite slow. But hey, it can help you manage your water consumption better.

One popular product on the market is this Advanced Elements Summer Solar Shower. The 5-gallon option will allow you to rinse off and wash all areas of concern. It’s an affordable option that is easy to set up, plus it’s so compact it will take up virtually no space in your RV or tent.

If you are in a place where you are required to collect wastewater, you can use a large plastic tub to stand in. It’s quite difficult to catch everything but you should aim to catch the majority of wastewater when you can.

If you are showering directly on the ground, a portable shower deck will help to keep your feet clean. Without it, you’ll likely be standing in the mud or sand and have dirty feet even after you’ve showered.

Set Up a Camping Shower Tent

If you’re in a crowded campsite without an indoor shower, you can’t simply attach a portable shower to your RV and go do your business. To shower in private, set up a shower tent instead. For this, you can use your gravity shower (or any type of outdoor shower that you like) and set it up inside a shower tent.

Try this GigaTent Shower Tent that you can simply pop up and use as a private space for changing, showering, or potty breaks. Since it has a base, you can easily drain out the gray water for proper disposal afterward.

A shower tent is also a great option if you want to experience some of the comforts of your home bathroom while at camp. Instead of using a gravity shower, you can use this rechargeable WADEO Portable Shower that can pump out water just like your shower at home. It’s pressurized and rechargeable, plus it’s easy to set up and store when you’re done.

Sponge Down

If you’re nowhere near a water source and your water tank is almost dry, try sponging down. All you need is a washcloth, castile soap, and a little water. I recommend Dr. Bronner’s Castile Liquid Soap so you don’t just get clean, but do it in a way that won’t contaminate the natural environment.

Simply pour a few drops of castile soap on your washcloth and use that to wipe yourself down. Then, rinse thoroughly with warm water.

However, if in a pinch, you can simply use sanitary wipes to wipe yourself down. Take note to use biodegradable ones, like these Combat Wipes ACTIVE Outdoor Wet Wipes. Not only are they better for the environment, but they’re also really thick, so they make a nice and sturdy substitute for a washcloth.

Go Swimming

When you’re outdoors, what better way to have a bath than out in nature! If you’re camping anywhere near a clean spring, river, or lake, go and have a dip! It sure beats having to scrimp on water in your shower tent. Plus, you’ll be having lots of fun while cleaning yourself.

So, if you don’t want to worry about the availability of bathwater, you can simply opt for campsites that are near bodies of water. However, if you do go for this option, make sure to use only biodegradable shower products. After all, you won’t want to contaminate the water while you have your fun.


Most campgrounds that don’t have indoor showers do allow outdoor showers. However, they are usually pretty strict about allowing them only if gray water will be properly collected and disposed of. You must also do so in privacy rather than stripping nude for all the campground to see.

Also, remember to only use biodegradable bath products so you don’t contribute to contamination or endanger wildlife in the area.

Do Campgrounds Charge for Electricity?

Camper van plugged up to campground electricity

Electricity is something most of us use daily without giving much thought to it. Whether it’s powering our smartphones or running the air conditioner, it is a crucial part of our lives. However, when it comes to camping, electricity isn’t as much in demand. Many people go completely off the grid for camping and may not use any electricity.

However, campgrounds are usually set up to provide electricity for those who need it but do they charge you extra for it?

Most campgrounds charge for electricity and this cost is usually included in your campsite fee. This usually means that you’ll pay extra for a campsite that has electrical hookups. On average, expect to pay about $5-$10 per day for electric hookups at a campground.

Many campgrounds have different options including primitive campsites and ones for partial or full hookups. You will pay more for those that have access to full hookups, which usually include water, sewer, and electrical service.

Read on for more information on how campgrounds charge for electricity, tips on reducing your power consumption while camping, and more!

Is Electricity Included in Campsites?

Electricity is included in most campsites as one of the amenities. This is convenient for campers who need to use electrical appliances or charge devices. While some isolated sites may not have electricity, it is increasingly common for even remote camping areas to offer this service.

Electricity hook-ups are often available in 15, 30, or 50 amp services required by different types of RVs. Some people might not need or want to have this feature while camping, but it’s a convenient amenity option.

When determining if a particular campsite meets your needs, it is crucial to determine what type of power hookups are available. If your RV requires 50 amps and the only options at the campground are 30 or 15, you may not be able to utilize the electrical service.

I have a 15 amp plug on my van and this allows me to stay at any campsite that offers electricity. With an adapter, I can plug into a 30 or 50-amp service. While 15 amps won’t provide enough power for a larger, higher-consumption RV, it’s perfect for my minimalistic electrical setup.

Do Campers Use a Lot of Electricity?

Campers do not use a lot of electricity. For example, a typical RV uses just 20 kWh of electricity daily, 10 kWh lower than the average house, which requires around 30 kWh. Therefore, a camper’s average monthly electric bill is significantly lower than that of an average home.

Even if you factor in using some appliances that consume more electricity, such as air conditioners and hair dryers, campers still use considerably less power than people who live in homes.

To improve efficiency, some campers install solar panels on their roofs. These harness the sun’s energy and can dramatically reduce your reliance on generators and the grid.

Another option is to choose an RV that comes with built-in solar panels. This is a common option nowadays and is available on most newer RVs. Some are even self-sufficient, meaning they generate all the power they need without any help from outside sources.

This is one of the reasons why camping is becoming increasingly popular among those looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint.

Some people don’t like to rely on solar power but I wouldn’t be without mine. It has allowed me to go anywhere I want and not have to worry about having electricity. While I do plug into shore power when available, it isn’t always a necessity. The self-sufficiency of my van gives me a good feeling when I’m traveling.

Tips for Reducing Power Consumption When Camping

Any experienced camper will tell you that one of the keys to a successful camping trip is minimizing your reliance on electricity. Not only does this help to reduce your carbon footprint, but it could potentially save you money on campground fees and allow you to unplug from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Camping is best when it is done primitively so that you can enjoy the nature around you rather than relying on electronic devices to entertain you. Camping allows you to get away from all of this so less reliance on these types of items will bring you the most joy on a camping trip.

So, how do you reduce power consumption when camping?

Here are a few tips:

Bring a Solar Charger To Keep Your Devices Powered

Portable solar charger and phone

One way to reduce your power consumption when camping is to bring a solar charger. If your RV or camping setup is not already equipped with solar panels, this will be a good addition to help you harness electrical power from the sun in a minimalistic way.

Solar chargers are easy to use and are a great way to reduce your carbon footprint when camping. In addition, they are relatively inexpensive and can be a great way to save money on your camping trip.

Even if you already have solar installed on your RV, a portable solar charger can take care of smaller devices while you maintain a charge on your larger system.

As an example, the Goal Zero Yeti 150 Portable Power Station is small, lightweight, and easy to include in your camping packing list. It’s one of the highest-rated solar chargers on the market thanks to its durable construction, efficient design, and affordable price tag. Goal Zero is known for its innovative solar products and I can vouch for how good they work as I use a Goal Zero system to power my entire camper van.

Bring a Battery Pack To Keep Your Devices Charged

Another sure-fire way to reduce your need to plug into the electrical grid while camping is to bring a spare battery pack. This way, you can recharge your devices without using a generator or plugging into an outlet.

Of course, you’ll need to make sure the battery pack is charged before leaving. Depending on how long your camping trip is and the size battery pack you have, it may get you through the entire trip, allowing you to charge your small devices multiple times.

In addition, battery packs are relatively inexpensive and can be a great way to save money on your camping trip. The Anker 325 Power Bank Portable Charger is a great choice and provides you with a 20,000mAh cell capacity to help keep your small devices charged for several days.

Bring an Led Flashlight for When the Sun Goes Down

Besides the tips I’ve mentioned, you can reduce your power consumption when camping by bringing an LED flashlight for when the sun goes down.

These flashlights use less power than traditional incandescent flashlights, and they last longer too.

As a result, you’ll save battery power, and you won’t have to worry about changing batteries as often. If it’s a rechargeable flashlight, you’ll be able to charge it with your portable solar charger or battery pack. In addition, LED flashlights emit a brighter, more focused light than incandescent flashlights, making them ideal for campers who need to participate in activities after dark.

I prefer the UCO Leschi Compact LED Lantern and Flashlight as it is small, fits into my pocket easily and can be used as a small flashlight or a small lantern. There are numerous options on the market so you will have no problem finding one that works well for you.

Use Low Power Consumption Fans

Camping in the summertime can be quite uncomfortable if you are in a hot and humid climate. The most obvious way to combat the heat is to use an AC if your RV is equipped. However, many smaller RVs, vans, or trailers aren’t equipped with them so you’ll need to find other ways to stay cool.

Small 12-volt or USB-powered fans can help you combat the heat while using minimal electricity. In fact, you can run one of these fans on a portable solar charger or battery pack for quite a while on a full charge. Even if your RV is equipped with AC, it’s good to make use of windows and fans as often as you can in order to reduce your dependence on the electrical grid.

For those camping in tents and smaller RV setups that don’t have air conditioning, fans are an absolute must! I use a combination of windows, a roof fan and a USB-powered fan in my van to help move air throughout the living space. This has always worked well for me.

Cook Meals on a Campfire or a Propane Camping Stove

Cooking noodles over campfire

One significant way to reduce power consumption when camping is by cooking meals on a campfire or on a propane camping stove instead of relying on an electric stove or microwave (if your RV is equipped). Not only is this more fun, but it will also not require any electrical usage.

Besides, there’s nothing quite like the taste of a meal cooked over an open fire.

Pack Light and Only Bring What You Need

While this may not be directly related to electrical energy consumption, packing light and only including the essentials will help you to enjoy camping for what it is. Some campers want to bring an entire RV full of entertainment along on the trip. While this will provide you with lots to do, it will also distract you from the joy of the camping experience.

Camping provides a great opportunity to get back to the basics. You can enjoy a card game rather than scrolling on your phone or sit outside and marvel at the stars in the sky. This may sound boring to some but allowing yourself to step away from all the distractions of daily life can be healing for your soul.

If you are interested in other ways to make your trip better and save money in the process, here’s an insightful video that will come in handy:

Limit Your Use of Electronics

Last but not least, one of the best ways to reduce your power consumption when camping is to limit your use of electronics. This means turning off your cellphone, tablet, laptop, and other electronic devices when you’re not using them.

Not only will this save battery power, but it will also help you to unplug from the digital world and enjoy the great outdoors. This good old-fashioned way of living is what makes camping fun. Rather than electronics, how about reading a book, drawing, or taking part in some other type of art form.

Allow nature to inspire you to be creative rather than just getting lost in a screen as you would in your regular life.


In a nutshell, electricity is included in most non-primitive campsites, and most campgrounds charge extra for these campsites. However, This is usually a non-issue. I have been to many campgrounds and the cost for full hookups is minimal when you consider the benefits. Once parked and plugged up, you will generally have access to an unlimited amount of electrical power.

There are plenty of ways to reduce your power consumption when camping. For example, you can bring a solar charger, pack a spare battery, or use an LED flashlight instead of an incandescent one. In addition, you can cook meals on a campfire or over the stovetop, pack light, and limit your use of electronics.

How Late Can You Arrive at a Campground?

Van checked in and parked at campground

Check-in and check-out times at campgrounds and RV parks allow staff to maintain campsites between occupants. When preparing for a camping trip, guests must know these times to avoid arriving too early or too late. Early arrivals may cause unnecessary waiting, whereas late arrivals could cause guests to lose the campsite altogether.

You can arrive as late as you want at most campgrounds. However, some facilities allow guests to arrive later, whereas others end check-in at certain times, and refuse check-in after dark or during “quiet hours.” Campground check-in times are typically between 2 and 4 p.m.

It’s always a good idea to check-in during the advertised check-in times. If you are unsure what these hours are, you can call the campground office to find out. If you are unable to arrive during check-in hours, you can let the campground office know. There are usually procedures in place for those arriving later.

This article discusses campground check-in times, late and early arrivals, as well as etiquette when checking in and checking out. Read on to learn more.

What Does Check-In Time Mean for Camping?

The check-in time for camping is the earliest time guests may arrive at their reserved campsite. Every campground and RV park has its own check-in times and procedures. Campgrounds usually have later check-in times than RV parks.

Some examples of check-in times for different RV parks and campgrounds are below:

CampgroundCheck-in Time
Lake Snowden3 p.m.
Lake Carl Blackwell3 p.m.
Virginia State Parks4 p.m
Alum Creek State Park Campground4 p.m.
Berlin RV Park and Campground1 p.m.
Trailer Village RV Park12 p.m.
Jekyll Island Campground2 p.m.

How Late Can You Check-In at a Campground?

Check-in times aren’t always strictly enforced. For example, if check-in starts at 11 a.m. and you arrive at 1 p.m., you’re probably not going to lose your spot, as you’ve reserved it for your nightly stay. However, it’s still important to discuss late arrivals with the campground office ahead of time to avoid any misunderstandings.

Most campgrounds allow campers to check in after the check-in time, as long as it’s within a reasonable time frame. However, others are more stringent and may not permit guests to check in after a specified time, after dark, or during quiet hours. Check with the campground office to be sure.

When calling the campground office to make reservations, discuss check-in times. Let the staff know when you expect to arrive to determine whether late arrivals are acceptable.

Some campgrounds observe “quiet hours” and, therefore, do not permit guests to arrive during this time to avoid disturbing other campers. Additionally, some campgrounds have strict guidelines regarding what campers can and cannot do after dark, including setting up tents or RVs.

How Early Can You Check-In at a Campground?

The earliest you can check-in at a campground is at the check-in time. With that said, some campgrounds and RV parks allow early check-in, although you must pre-arrange this during the reservation process. Early check-in may require an additional fee or other service costs.

Some campgrounds and RV parks allow for early check-in, depending on whether they’re booked or not. Different campgrounds have different rules and reservation policies and may charge an additional fee or service fee if you have to change your check-in date or time.

In the summer, it’s unlikely that guests can check-in early. Summers are the busiest times for campgrounds and RV parks, so it’s not unusual to be fully booked back-to-back. During these times, check-in and check-out times must be adhered to, as it allows just enough time for maintenance to clean up campsites in time for the next guests.

With that said, many campgrounds do not allow early check-in (usually during peak months) for a multitude of reasons, including:

  • Electricity Use: RV parks may not allow early check-in, as guests immediately begin using electricity. Electricity costs are included only in the nightly rates based on standard check-in and check-out times. Allowing guests to arrive early increases the cost of running the RV park due to extra energy usage.
  • Occupancy: When campgrounds and RV parks refuse early arrival, it’s usually because the site is already booked with a specified check-out time for the current occupants. If the current occupants haven’t yet vacated the campsite, other guests cannot arrive to set up camp in an occupied space.
  • Maintenance: In between occupants, a campground maintenance crew must clean and maintain the site prior to the arrival of the next campers. They must remove the trash, mow, and empty the fire pits. Since check-in and check-out times typically have a two-hour window, this only allows crews two hours to clean multiple campsites.

During slow months, some campgrounds may allow early check-in if the park isn’t fully booked. Sometimes, if the park isn’t at full capacity, you may arrive early and choose an alternative site.

Check-In Etiquette While Camping

Once guests reserve a campsite, they’re expected to arrive within a reasonable time frame, usually at or shortly after check-in time. It’s important to make it to the site on time whenever possible. Extenuating circumstances happen, however, so if you expect to arrive late, call ahead and discuss it with camp staff, so they don’t mark you down as a “no-show.”

If the campground allows you to check-in after dark or during quiet hours, it’s essential to be considerate of other campers. During this time, they may be sleeping or winding down, so remember camping etiquette and keep things peaceful:

  • Choose a campsite away from other guests. This isn’t always possible, as most campgrounds require you to choose a specific plot when making reservations. However, if it’s a free-for-all, move as far away from other campers as possible to avoid disturbing them.
  • Keep it quiet. Avoid loud conversations and try to keep sound to a minimum.
  • Set-up during the day. Don’t fully set-up camp until daylight when you can see. Trying to get everything set up at night is not only frustrating, but it makes a lot of noise that may disturb fellow campers. Just plug in the electricity, if necessary, and call it a night.

What Time Is Check-Out at Most RV Parks?

Like hotels, campgrounds maintain strict check-out times to allow for maintenance between occupants. While hotels clean, provide new linens, and make the beds, campground staff must mow, pick up trash, empty fire pits, and ensure that the space is suitable for the next occupant.

Check-out times for most RV parks and campgrounds are between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Some require earlier check-out, whereas others may allow late check-out times (when possible) for an additional fee. These fees cover the site, electricity use, and the use of camp facilities.

During the summer months or times of back-to-back bookings, check-out times are non-negotiable. If you find yourself camping during the slower months, you may have the option to stay later, depending on the campground and their policies and current reservations.

Camping Check-Out Etiquette

Campground and RV park check-out times are when guests should vacate the premises. As such, you should begin packing before check-out time to allow maintenance crews to come in and clean up the campsite.

Whenever possible, you should leave your campsite as clean as you can — preferably better than it was on arrival. The United States National Park Service recommends implementing the “Leave No Trace” principles when camping.

Some principles that apply to checking out include minimizing and disposing of trash and other waste and leaving nature as you found it — don’t take rocks, plants, or artifacts.


Camping, whether “roughing it” or chilling out in a luxury RV, is an adventurous experience that allows people to enjoy nature. However, campgrounds and RV parks are still businesses, so there are rules that guests must follow.

Good etiquette means recognizing and adhering to check-in and check-out times and procedures. Check-in as close to the set time as possible, or discuss late arrivals ahead of time with camp staff — and don’t be a lingering camper when it’s time to depart. Check out on time to avoid causing an inconvenience for camp staff, maintenance crews, and the next occupants.

Is Campground Water Safe To Drink? 5 Ways to Ensure it is

RV with in-line water filter

Finding a good clean water source is one of the biggest concerns that you may have when camping. However, when staying in a civilized campground, an unlimited supply of water will likely be available right out of the spigot at your campsite. But regardless of whether you have public drinking water or are close to a natural surface water source, the question of water safety always looms large.

Is it safe to drink campground water?

Campground water can be safe to drink in most cases but not all campgrounds are the same. Many campgrounds use a municipal water supply that undergoes rigorous water treatment standards. However, some campgrounds use wells, and/or other sources of natural water that may not be potable.

It’s best to assume that it’s not and plan to treat the water yourself before drinking. This can be done in a variety of ways, which will be outlined below, and can ensure that you are drinking clean water no matter what campground you visit.

Unfortunately, campgrounds differ in the quality of water available depending on the location. Even those that utilize public water sources may not be of the same standard that you may find in another location. Besides that, other contaminants could enter the water source from tainted pipes or other plumbing issues throughout the campground.

It’s best to take precautions and have filtering and purifying options available on your trips.

Personally, I never drink water straight from the spigot in a campground. No matter the quality of the water, I always run the water through a filtration system or bring my own treated water with me if it’s a short trip. Others may not be so picky be I tend to err on the side of caution concerning my health.

Let’s take a better look at whether you can drink water at campgrounds and how to purify water to make sure it is potable.

Drinking Water at Campgrounds

Campgrounds differ in the type of water sources they use so you never really know just how safe the water is. While many claim to have potable water that should be safe to drink, even KOA recommends having an RV water filter in order to ensure water safety no matter where you travel.

If you are camping in an area where your only water source is naturally occurring, such as in streams or rivers, determining whether it is safe to drink can be a lot trickier. For naturally occurring water to be considered potable, you have to know where the water flows from.

If the water flows downstream from either a residential area or an area where there are agricultural, commercial, or industrial activities, such as mining, that should tell you not to drink from the surface water without treating it first.

However, even in the case of naturally occurring water that flows from what is considered a clean or safe environment, there is always the possibility of contamination from animal feces or other bacteria.

Whether the campground utilizes a treated municipal water source or a natural water source, you should be knowledgeable about the different ways to purify the water. This will keep you safe from the contaminants that might pollute water sources.

5 Ways To Purify Water When Camping or RVing

Man pouring boiling water while camping

If you’re out camping for days, the last thing you want to happen is to get sick from drinking unsafe water. Unfortunately, it happens too frequently, especially because storing drinking water is often a problem.

If you store as much as you need, it will take up too much space. But if you don’t, you’ll need to rely on water sources that you find along the way. Sadly, the latter is often unsafe. So for your peace of mind, let’s discuss some of the easy ways you can treat your water so you have enough supply of drinking water that’s tummy-safe for your whole camping trip.

Here are camping-friendly ways to purify water:

  • Use an RV water filter
  • Use a portable water filter.
  • Boil the water.
  • Treat water with water purifying tablets.
  • Bring your own drinking water.

1. Use an RV Water Filter

If you are traveling in an RV, the best way you can protect yourself is to use an RV filtration system. Many newer RVs come with an internal water filter pre-installed so you don’t have to worry about anything other than changing the filters from time to time.

There are multiple options when considering this. You can choose to install a filter in line with the incoming water source so that all of the water throughout your RV is purified. This will include all water coming from the taps and the shower.

If you do not care to filter the shower water, a local water filter can be used under the sink where you will get your drinking water. This will purify your drinking water but leave your shower water untreated.

A combination of both is ideal. For example, you could use the Camco TastePure RV/Marine Water Filter on the outside of your RV while using an under-the-sink reverse osmosis system inside your RV. If you already have an internal filtration system in your RV, an inline filter like this will reduce sediments and other impurities before it even reaches your RV.

2. Use a Portable Water Filter

If you don’t have the room or don’t want to install a filter on your RV, a portable system may work great for you. One of the best on the market is the Berkey water filter system which is known for its ability to remove a high number of contaminants.

The Travel Berkey is perfect for RVs of all sizes. You can simply fill the unfiltered water reservoir with water and let the gravitational filtration system do the work. The purified water will be available via the spigot on the bottom, making it a convenient way to access it.

Berkey Filters are known to be among the best on the market so if you are looking for a portable solution, this one should top your list.

Many portable systems are designed to be safe for use when you know that your water source is clean enough as it is, such as if it is NOT flowing from a polluted or chemically contaminated environment. If it is coming from a public water supply, a portable filter should be able to purify the water to a more drinkable level.

Portable filters are great to use if you’re using them to purify campground water that’s intended for drinking, but that you’re not sure is being filtered or treated properly. It’s important to remember that not all portable water filters are made alike.

And to be effective in purifying your water, your water filter should:

  • Have a fine pore size to be able to filter out viruses, pathogenic bacteria, and pesticides.
  • Be NSF-certified.

If you want to take it further, you can also use a water filter that uses reverse osmosis. This way, it will also be able to filter out bacteria and viruses. These water filters are typically bulkier, though. But in an RV, you can have plenty of space to set them up. A great option is the AquaTru Countertop Water Filtration System with 4-Stage Ultra Reverse Osmosis Technology. This is a countertop reverse osmosis system that I have used in my home for years. It could work great in larger RVs that have room for them.

Aquatru filling glass with water

3. Boil the Water

Perhaps the easiest way to have access to clean water is to boil whatever water you find that is accessible to you, not including saltwater. If you have access to heating or if you have a portable camping stove, this should be easy to do.

Here are the things you will need:

  • A water pot or other system that allows you to boil water, such as a JetBoil.
  • Portable camping stove with propane/butane gas

To make water potable, here’s what you need to do:

  • Fill your pot or cup with water.
  • Bring to a boil.
  • Allow it to boil for at least a minute.
  • Let cool.

Once the water has been boiled for a minimum of a minute, you have successfully killed all the germs, bacteria, or pathogens that may have been in it. Now all you need to do is let it cool down and enjoy your cup of clean water.

4. Treat Water With Water Purifying Tablets

Another option that you can go for is using water purifying tablets made of chlorine dioxide. This is a great option if you have no patience to boil liters and liters of water or don’t like using a portable water filter.

One added advantage to this type of purification method is that it can improve the taste of your water while the previous two might not be able to do so.

If you’re looking for water purification tablets, check out Potable Aqua Water Purification Germicidal Tablets. It contains 50 tablets in a bottle, and you’ll need only two tablets to treat 0.9 liters (0.24 gallons) of water. All you have to do is drop two tablets in the water, wait for 35 minutes, and your water is safe to drink.

Using this method is great if you’re always on the go, as it’s an easy emergency fix. Also, the bottle can fit in any handbag or purse.

5. Bring Your Own Drinking Water

The option that I generally use when I know I am only staying a week or less is to bring my own water. I have multiple 5-gallon water jugs that can be filled with water from grocery stores or health food stores. I usually top these jugs off with my home reverse osmosis system before leaving and I’m good for a week or even more depending on the time of year.

Filtered water 5-gallon jug

Even if I run out, I am in a camper van so I can easily make my way to a store and fill the jugs back up with purified water.

This won’t work for everyone. Bringing your own water like this does require some extra space and it might not work for you if you have a small camper or are a large family that uses a lot of water. However, if you are going on a short trip, you might want to consider purchasing a large container to take water that you know is purified and safe to drink.


Safe drinking water is essential to our health, no matter if we’re in the comfort of our homes or out exploring the great outdoors. So for your safety and peace of mind, make sure to always treat or purify the water that you put inside your drinking bottles.

You never know what you can trust even if the campground claims to have potable water. It’s best to always assume it’s not and have a way to purify it even further. Having clean drinking water is an important part of camping. You’ll probably drink more when you are in the great outdoors so ensuring the water is safe just makes sense.

Can You Drink Alcohol at Campgrounds?

Beer bottles near the campfire

You’ve just parked your RV, van, or pitched your tent, maybe even gotten a campfire going, ready to wind down with a few beers. It may sound like the most natural thing to do when you’re out camping, but are you actually allowed to bring or consume alcohol at campgrounds?

Most campgrounds have restrictions on alcohol consumption while many state-regulated campgrounds prohibit it altogether. Some may allow alcohol consumption within your own campsite, inside your RV, or in designated areas only. Most family campgrounds prohibit alcohol consumption in common areas.

Camping is a fun experience and you have to remember that many families enjoy this type of adventure. There are often adults and children of all ages within a campground. It’s best to be courteous and keep your alcohol consumption to a minimum and within your own private campsite area to avoid any problems.

Still unsure whether you should be bringing beer or wine to camp? Further in this article, we will talk about whether you are allowed to drink alcohol at some of the popular campgrounds, including KOA campgrounds, as well as typical rules on alcohol consumption while camping.

Can You Drink Alcohol at KOA Campgrounds?

Most KOA campgrounds prohibit alcohol in common areas and ask that you only consume alcohol within your own designated campsite. Therefore, it’s best to keep your beer cans or wine bottles inside your RV if you already have them, or not to bring any alcoholic drinks at all.

These campgrounds typically cater to families and pride themselves on having a safe environment for all to enjoy without disruption from unruly campers. You may only intend to drink a beer or two and call it a night and this is usually not a problem if done within your own designated camping area.

Holding beer bottle while sitting near campfire

I have been to numerous KOA campgrounds and I occasionally have a beer in the evening with dinner or just to wind down. You can often find a few beers in my fridge at any given time. However, I usually do my eating and drinking within my rig and never bother anyone.

Just make sure that you aren’t walking through the campgrounds with a beer in your hand. This behavior could get you in some trouble depending on the specific campground policies and the mood of the enforcement officers.

While this is typically the case for KOA campgrounds, not all of them are alike. While some are extremely strict on prohibiting alcoholic beverages, some may be a little looser on their policies. Some campgrounds even have stores where you can buy alcoholic drinks. In such sites, there are usually rules on where these drinks may be consumed and until what time of the day.

To avoid any problems altogether, you should always stick to the following practices when camping in a family campground like a KOA.

  • Consume alcohol inside the privacy of your RV. It’s a sure way that you won’t cause any problems and no one will ever know. What goes on inside your RV, stays inside your RV (unless you are causing trouble).
  • Consume alcohol within your designated campsite. Campsites, usually have a picnic table and fire pit. Drinking alcohol within these areas inside your campsite should not cause any problems unless you have one too many and become loud and obnoxious.
  • Read the policies of the specific campground you are at. Each one may have different rules so be sure you understand the rules of the one you are at.
  • Be respectful of others. Drinking a beer or a glass of wine at the end of the day is different from getting sloshed! Drinking too much can lead to behavior that could make other people’s stay less fun. Be courteous to others who are trying to enjoy their stay.

If in doubt, all you have to do is ask the campground staff. You’ll probably be given a brochure with rules and other campground information in it upon check-in. Alcohol consumption rules are usually outlined within this literature so be sure you read them and adhere to them in order to avoid any problems.

It’s always best to simply follow campground rules, especially if you are camping at a state or national park, a reserve, or any government-regulated site, as these tend to have stricter policies. And besides, rules are in place to make sure that every camper has a pleasant experience.

Common Rules on Alcohol Consumption While Camping

Not all camp rules are the same. They depend on who’s managing the campsite, whether it’s a public or private area, and what amenities you’re looking to use (like a kayak or boat). But there are rules on alcohol consumption that are usually in place at campsites.

Here are some typical rules on alcohol consumption while camping:

  • Many state-regulated sites prohibit alcohol consumption
  • Drinking may be permitted in designated areas only
  • Underage drinking is not allowed
  • Alcohol is usually prohibited at boating sites
  • You could potentially be fined or asked to leave for unruly behavior

Let’s discuss each below:

Many State-Regulated Sites Prohibit Alcohol Consumption

State or national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, reserves, and the like may prohibit alcohol consumption in many areas, including campgrounds. Often, this is for the benefit of other people visiting the sites as much as to ensure a minimum human impact on these areas. Below, you’ll find a few examples of the different rules in place for various state parks and campgrounds.

  • Kentucky – Drinking alcoholic beverages is prohibited in most areas. In campgrounds, alcoholic beverages are not to be publicly displayed.
  • California – Alcohol is prohibited in all-day use areas and only allowed in overnight campsites.
  • Washington – Permitted only in designated campground areas.
  • Wyoming – Wyoming state parks has restrictions on how much alcohol you can have as well as where it can be consumed.
  • North Carolina – Prohibited, except in certain areas.
  • Illinois – Numerous restrictions and prohibitions on various campgrounds and day-use areas.

You should always check the state’s website or ask before assuming you are okay to crack open an alcoholic beverage.

It’s harder to impose rules on no littering or keeping quiet so as not to disturb wildlife when people are intoxicated. So campgrounds that have experienced frequent disturbance from campers are stricter than others when it comes to prohibiting alcoholic drinks.

However, as you can see from the examples above, not all state parks prohibit alcohol completely. Some may allow drinking only until a certain time of the day. Some are more explicit than others when warning about unruly or drunken behavior.

Regardless of whether there are warnings or not, though, remember to be a responsible drinker and avoid any unruly behavior.

And since rules may differ for every campground, best be on the safe side and refrain from bringing out any alcoholic drinks on campgrounds where you see signs saying that alcohol is not allowed.

National parks may have different policies from state parks and will also differ depending on the park you are at. National parks usually allow alcohol consumption within your private campsite but prohibit it in parking areas, pull-outs, and trailheads.

Drinking May Be Permitted in Designated Areas Only

Some campgrounds have stores where you can buy alcoholic drinks. These sites usually also have designated areas where you will be allowed to drink. Some may also allow you to drink where you’ve parked your rig or pitched your tent.

This may mean that you are not allowed to walk around campgrounds with an open drink in hand. So to be safe, it’s best to ask someone at the store what other limitations may be in place. Or better yet, find out what the rules are before you even head out on your camping trip.

Also, you can expect stricter policies on holidays or peak camping seasons.

Underage Drinking Is Not Allowed

If you are going to buy alcohol at a campsite store, you will most likely be asked to show your ID to prove that you are 21 years old or older, in compliance with the minimum legal drinking age in the US. If you can’t show proof that you’re legally allowed to buy alcohol, you shouldn’t be able to buy a drink.

Alcohol Is Usually Prohibited at Boating Sites

You should definitely not drink and drive–and that same principle applies when you’re going boating. There usually are signs of alcohol restrictions at boating access sites, but where there aren’t any, it’s safe to assume that you are not allowed to bring or drink any alcoholic beverages in the area.

You Could Potentially Be Fined or Asked To Leave for Unruly Behavior

And lastly, campgrounds are meant to be relaxing and enjoyable places for everyone. This means that anyone who disrupts the peace and quiet by being unruly, loud, or bothersome to others could be fined and asked to leave the campsite. This will depend on the campground rules and the small print that you agreed to when signing the rental agreement.

If you are going to enjoy your wine, beer, or other drink, then make sure that you know how much you can handle and not drink too much. Besides, you’re out to have a great camping experience, so don’t ruin it for yourself or anyone else!


If you want to enjoy a few beers while camping, it’s important that you know what the campground rules are before you go. Especially because not all campsite rules are the same.

Moreover, if you end up going somewhere where alcohol consumption is allowed, remember to take note of how much alcohol you can handle and drink only in areas where it’s allowed.

After all the places I have traveled, I have found that drinking alcohol is never a problem as long as I do it within the confines of my van. Having a beer in my van while eating dinner or enjoying a relaxing evening doesn’t bother anyone and no one even knows. As long as there are no alcohol restrictions or bans, you should be good to drink responsibly within your private campsite.

Just use your head and be sure and check the rules before you decide to stay at a campground. This information should be easy to find on the campground website or posted at the campground itself.