Whether you’re headed out in your RV for a weekend or a year, you’re probably going to be spending time in a few RV campgrounds. It’s easy to think of the next campground as “just a place to park”, but if you treat it more as part of the adventure you’ll have a much richer experience. We’ve been in more than 100 campgrounds of all sizes and qualities in the past 16 months, so we’ve got a few tips for you to make the most of your time in your new surroundings.
1. Meet Your Neighbors
We have met so many amazing people on the road! A few of them have been through social media and organized events/groups, but we’ve also befriended just a ton simply because we parked near them in a campground. Spend time outside and be friendly with the people you see. Go across the street and introduce yourself. We promise you won’t be disappointed (99% of the time). This is doubly true if you’re RVing with kids! If the family across the street has kids of similar ages, they’ll become fast friends and there’s a good chance all you parents will have a lot in common to talk about around the fire. Speaking of fire…
2. Make a Fire, Not a Smoke
“Camping” is synonymous with campfires (and s’mores) for many people, so you’re most likely going to make a fire yourself a couple times in your RV camping life. The lion’s share of campgrounds have fire rings in their sites or at least permit you to make your own. Do yourself (and everyone downwind from you) a favor and spend a little time learning how to make a proper fire. Smoke can easily get through all the littles holes and gaps in all RV’s. If all you’ve made is a smoldering pit of smoke-belching wood, you and everyone around you is going to be upset. Buy good, dry wood, don’t toss random leaves and trash into the flames, and make sure to douse your glorious blaze properly when you’re done.
Or use technology.
3. Go for a Walk or a Ride
Get out of your site! Make sure to go walk or ride your bikes around a bit and explore the campground. Not only will you increase your odds of meeting new people, you’ll probably also see or learn something cool. We’ve stayed in many campgrounds that have nearby hiking trails or sit next to beautiful lakes and rivers. It’s also fun to “camper watch” and check out other people’s rigs and outdoor setups. Maybe you’ll pick up a few new decorating ideas or see a neat new piece of gear that you have to add to your collection. You never know what you’ll encounter, but you definitely won’t encounter it from inside your rig.
4. Ask for Help
One of the great things about staying in RV campgrounds is that there’s always someone nearby that can help you if something is broken, stuck, or otherwise out of sorts. We got a bunch of help getting pulled out of mud in a campground in Illinois, and we also got a ride to the nearby shop in California when our truck broke down. We’ve also helped other people change tires, unhook from their trucks for the first time, and back into tricky sites that required more than one spotter. If you need help with anything, you will find it very close by!
5. Take It Slow
This applies in many ways. Take your time when pulling into your site and getting set up. Look around, figure out where the best spot to park is, and make sure you don’t rush and forget a step while unhooking or setting up. Even if your truck is sticking out into the road, I promise you everyone else will understand and nobody wants you to rush and do something unsafe. If you’re the one encountering someone blocking the road, go ahead and find another route or at least keep your distance so the other person doesn’t feel like your rushing or crowding them.
Also, you should ALWAYS take it slow while driving through campgrounds. There are going to be kids running around, and adults chasing kids, and they’re going to cross the road in front of you. There are also going to be representatives of the local wildlife poking around looking for the hot dog that fell off the skewer and rolled in the dirt. It’s notoriously hard to see around RV’s in campgrounds, so make sure you heed those 10mph signs and roll through cautiously.
Lastly, just take it slow in general. Enjoy your time RVing!