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Camping Etiquette for Beginners


Tent campers, like these at Smith Falls State Park in Cherry County, enjoy good neighbors.

Photo by Julie Geiserr

By Julie Geiser

Camping is a great way to enjoy nature, recreate, and recharge, but while you’re at a campground there is always some etiquette to follow to make sure everyone has a good time every time.

Not Too Early or Too Late

Try to arrive at your campsite well before dark. This gives you time to set up camp while it’s still light out, which is much easier than trying in the dark. And when possible, don’t pack up and leave too early in the morning.

A Little Privacy, Please

It’s okay to be friendly and meet your weekend neighbors, but always respect their camping space. Don’t cut through occupied campsites; stay on paths or roadways and give all your camping neighbors some privacy at their camping locations.

Limit the Shenanigans

Even though you’re on vacation, and you may want to burn some midnight oil around the campfire at night, be respectful to others by abiding by quiet time rules. Quiet hours in many campgrounds are from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. every day. You can still enjoy the crackling of the fire but keep the shenanigans down, turning off generators and music and keeping lights to a minimum.


Leave only your footprints. Be respectful of the area and the wildlife by keeping food and trash picked up. Dispose of waste in proper receptacles and minimize your impact on wild places. Pick up after others if needed.

For Human Consumption Only

Don’t feed the wildlife, for it encourages them to return for more food.

Always Extinguish

Never leave your campfire unattended and keep fires at a manageable size, preferably in fire rings provided in the camping area. Always completely extinguish or put out your fire before you go to bed or leave the area.

Leave the Firewood

Do not bring firewood with you. Transporting firewood can spread diseases and harmful insects such as the emerald ash borer that destroys trees and forests. Buy local firewood and leave any unused firewood at the campsite for others.

Minimal Barking Please

Camping with our four-legged friends can be awesome and sometimes difficult depending on the dog. Some dogs are mellow and well-behaved, while others are unruly. Always have you dog on a six-foot leash to keep them from wandering where they shouldn’t be, and remember that no one wants to smell or step in the gifts your dog leaves behind. If your dog is a barker, leave them at home with a trusted friend or kennel. Don’t leave dogs unattended to prevent any mishaps from occurring.

Part of enjoying your adventure in Nebraska’s great outdoors is making sure the folks beside you are enjoying it just as much as you.

About julie geiser

Julie Geiser is a Public Information Officer and NEBRASKAland Regional Editor based out of North Platte, where she was born and still happily resides. Geiser worked for the commission previously for over 10 years as an outdoor education instructor – teaching people of all ages about Nebraska’s outdoor offerings. She also coordinates the Becoming an Outdoors Woman program for Nebraska Game and Parks Commission (NGPC). Geiser went on to work in marketing and writing an outdoor column for the North Platte Telegraph before returning to NGPC in her current position. She loves spending time outdoors with her family and getting others involved in her passions of hunting, fishing, camping, boating, hiking and enjoying Nebraska’s great outdoors.