Activities and Etiquette at Camp
Once you have arrived and are settled in your campsite what do you want to do? For many people camping is all about relaxation. Step out of your tent in the morning and you’ve arrived. Beach or lake-side property is very expensive unless you’re camping. How about a morning swim? Maybe you have a book you’ve been wanting to get into or you could play a game of cards. Bocce ball, frisbee, or bean-bag toss are always fun camp activities. Most campgrounds connect directly to local trails and many have nature learning centers. Learning about some of the local plant and animal life and then trying to identify them on a hike is fun and rewarding. You can stroll along the first few miles of a trail or take on an all day expedition. The campground website generally has all of the details and rules you’ll need to know about various activities. Many of the National and State parks have ranger-led hikes on weekend mornings. Those are great ways to learn some history and nature of the area and as well as get oriented.
Sharing a campground is a little like sharing a home with roommates, but with a lot more space. I hope I didn’t lose you. Let me emphasize the space. The golden rule of treating others how you want to be treated applies. Everyone is there to have a fun, relaxing time, but you should be conscious that your fun is not impeding on others. Quiet hours restricts loud partying and music, but it’s a good idea to keep the noise to a reasonable level at all times. A midday nap is very acceptable while camping even though it seems to be reserved for only kids in our city lives. Other rules should be pretty obvious, but are worth restating: place trash and recycling in the proper containers, don’t make a mess in the bathrooms, don’t block the roads, and don’t park in other campsite spaces. Not walking through other’s campsites is not a hard rule, but just respectful.
Review the campground website for particulars and you’ll likely be reminded of them when you check in. One memorable rule was the “Crumb clean” waiver that must be signed at campgrounds in Big Basin Redwoods State Park near San Jose, CA. “Crumb clean” means you will not leave any trace of food accessible to wild animals when you are not actively eating. There is even a several hundred dollar fine if you are caught in violation. Our food and dependence on it is very harmful to wild animals and that is taken seriously in that park. But don’t let that keep you away. That is an incredibly beautiful forest.