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Campground Etiquette: Why You Shouldn’t Cut Through Other People’s Campsites

Published on August 18th, 2023 by Jennifer Jennings
This post was updated on September 18th, 2023

A trio of friends camping
A campsite is for the person who rents or owns it and their guests. Strangers aren’t likely to be welcome, even for a moment.

An Etiquette Reminder: Don’t Shortcut Through Campsites

Cutting through another campsite at a campground might seem like an easy and convenient way to get around faster. However, this is considered by most RVers as rude and a total breach of campground etiquette. But why is it considered such a no-go?

As it turns out, there are several reasons why you should avoid cutting through campsites. Let’s take a look at all the reasons that staying off other people’s sites is good RV etiquette. 

1. It violates people’s privacy

Even if you’re only renting your campsite, it’s still your campsite as long as you’re paying for it. For many campers, this is one of the key parts of campground etiquette: Everyone has their space and should respect each other’s privacy. 

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Nobody wants strangers peering in their windows or gawking at them. Even if you aren’t doing that, if you cut through somebody’s site, there’s a good chance it could make them uncomfortable. 

2. It disrupts the peace 

People enjoy using their sites to relax and enjoy some peace and tranquility. And when you cut through their campsite, you disturb that same peace and tranquility.

Even if it’s just for a moment, neighbors likely won’t take kindly to you interrupting their personal time. In cutting through, you’ll probably make noise and catch the attention of whoever’s site it is. They might even feel uncomfortable continuing their conversation until you’ve left. 

If someone is having a gathering, or a meal with family, or sitting around the campfire, passing through the RV site will likely be seen as a major breach of etiquette. It’s never a good idea to cut through a campsite, but it’s an especially bad idea in these cases. How would you feel if a stranger walked through your private gathering?

3. You could accidentally damage property

People keep a variety of things on their sites, from sports equipment to bikes to camping gear and more. Plus, many RV parks have their own furniture at each site, such as picnic tables and grills. When you cut through other people’s sites, you risk damaging this property.

Even if you’re careful, nobody is perfect, and you could find yourself tripping or knocking over people’s stuff. If you damage property in the process, you’ll not only have an angry neighbor, but you’ll likely also be on the hook for repairing or replacing damaged items. 

A Class B parked at a campground, image for camping etiquette
When you’re at a campground, you want peace and privacy, not strangers cutting through your site.

4. It can create safety concerns

Another reason not cutting through campsites is good campground etiquette is due to the safety hazards it can create. 

If you trip over somebody’s stuff on their site, you could easily injure yourself. Worse, if someone has things set up for cooking or having a campfire, your little accident could potentially start a fire. That means not only putting lives at risk but also risking major damage to property and to the park itself. 

Another safety concern arises if people have their dogs outside on their site. While many dogs are friendly, plenty of others don’t take kindly to strangers. If you cut through a site that has such a dog on it, you could find yourself in some real trouble. 

5. It’s likely against the rules

While it may not be the case at every campground, in many cases, it’s explicitly against the campground rules to cut through other people’s campsites. If this is the case at your campground, then your little shortcut won’t just bother other campers, it could also cause trouble with management. 

In many cases, that trouble might be a simple warning and a slap on the wrist. But if management is strict, or if you’re a repeat offender, you could face fines or even expulsion from the park. The tiny amount of time you’ll save by cutting through someone’s site simply isn’t worth the trouble.

6. It’s just plain rude

On top of all these reasons, there’s one simple reason that cutting through campsites is a breach of campground etiquette: it’s just plain rude.

When you cut through campsites unannounced, you’re showing a lack of respect for somebody else’s space. Whether they have been there for a week or for years, they have a right to privacy, peace, and safety. Even if you only briefly cut through, and there are no incidents of any kind, it’s not unlikely that the person occupying the site will see it as disrespectful.

The only time you should cut through a person’s campsite is if you know that person and they’ve given you express permission to do so. Otherwise, be sure to be a good neighbor and follow proper etiquette, and use the paths and roads in the park to get around. 

Be a good camping neighbor

We understand the desire to cut through other people’s campsites. A direct path is the fastest, and it’s natural to want to save some time. But in fact, those minutes you save aren’t worth the annoyance you’ll cause other campers. 

When you cut through a campsite, you’re invading people’s privacy and likely disturbing their personal time. Even worse, you could potentially damage their things or even get hurt yourself. Plus, if cutting through campsites is against campground rules, you could be in trouble with management. 

Instead, you should always use the roads and paths provided to get around the campground. It might not be quite as fast, but realistically, it only adds a minute or two to your trip. Plus, your neighbors will thank you for having good campground etiquette

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17 thoughts on “Campground Etiquette: Why You Shouldn’t Cut Through Other People’s Campsites”

  1. And you probably aren’t the only one cutting through! We had a campsite with a more convenient access to the beach. So many people asked if they could “just cut through”. The problem was that we had people all day asking. It was like Grand Central Station.

    Reply
  2. Sad because all of these comments are common sense but no one seems to have any common sense today. They just do what suits them with no respect to other people. Camping is not like it used to be just like a lot of other things in today’s society. It is a shame.

    Reply
  3. Cutting through a site is rude but so is many other things. My #1 complaint is dog owners walking their pet and allowing it to do it’s business right on your site and many times while you watch. They act like it’s not a big deal. Every campground/resort provides areas for this but many don’t use them and instead walk their pets from site to site allowing them to do their business. It doesn’t matter that they pick up the poop. The action is, IMHO, disrespectful to the camper residing on that site and it is rude! When you say something or react, the owner of the pet becomes offended. Everyone thinks their pet is special and should be allowed to what it pleases. Pets are not the problem however. It’s the owner of the pet!!!!!

    Reply
    • Well, they can’t always hold it until they get to the dog park. It likely happens near the road where we don’t hang out or use the space anyway so as long as they pick it up, I have no issues with it.

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    • What a ridiculous comment. If a dog needs to pee it will pee. If it needs to defecate it will defecate. Provided the opener cleans up it is not a problem in a city or a campground. I’m not surprised that pet owners become offended. If you said anything to me I would have a few choice comments for you.

      Reply
  4. One thing, besides my dog, I use to deter these rude people who cut thru my campsite is a huge pumper soaker gun…….anyone walking through my site is going to get soaked!!

    Reply
  5. I would not want someone cutting through my campsite, but the most often ignored etiquette that I see every time I camp is NOISE. We go camping to be in nature not to listen to our neighbors (4 sites away) music or generator. Please turn your sound off and listen to the river, the wind in the trees, the birds, and did you know dry grass even makes noise if you are quiet enough. Nature is music.

    Reply
  6. Love your unspoken rules. One more that I’ve found people do often is eating/drinking in the rest rooms. We’ve found sweet drink cans that attract ants, entire bags of fast food, sometime half eaten and various other food and drink containers in the garbage cans. They cause odors and draw critters

    Reply
  7. I’ve been tent camping for years. This is my biggest complaint. Parents really need to teach their kids that cutting through an occupied site is rude and intrusive. If it’s a kid, I politely ask them not to. If it’s an adult, I’m not so polite. They should know better and I can guarantee that they wouldn’t be happy if I decided to take a leisurely stroll through their site.

    Reply
  8. Or steal their firewood and camp flag when they’re not around, like site 29 did to me last month at Crown Point NY. Then had the balls, or stupidity to plant my flag on their site.

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  9. Agree with all, however personally wouldn’t be uncomfortable with someone say, skirting the perimeter of my site.
    Though as you mention dogs ~ mine included ~ may surely have something to say about the matter. Also, I’d be *incredibly* prickly if someone cutting through disturbed my napping children.

    Reply
  10. DON’T ARRIVE AT YOUR CAMPSITE AFTER THE OTHER CAMPERS HAVE TURNED IN FOR THE NIGHT,
    AND START SETTING UP YOU TENT,
    COOKING A MEAL, STARTING A CAMPFIRE AND TALKING AND LAUGHING TILL AFTER 12PM, OR TILL I HAVE TO YELL AT YOU TO BE QUIET.
    DON’T BE THAT CAMPER

    Reply
  11. Another thought is that it might be dangerous. I have a couple large dogs who are great but very protective of their people. A trespasser might be believed a threat and they will respond as they have been trained. Also, i have been trained similarly 😂. There are expensive things on my site.

    Reply

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