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Camping Rules (and common sense):

When camping, there are several rules that almost all campers follow in order to have an enjoyable trip, to help other campers have an enjoyable time and to keep peace between all  campers.  Unfortunately, some campers forget these common sense rules and need to be reminded of the rules.  Sometimes they pleasantly accept suggestions from other campers but more often than not, campers who are breaking the rules are best left to the campground hosts or local law enforcement persons.

  • Keep your pets on a leash at all times, unless otherwise allowed.  A 6 foot leash is the most often cited maximum length.  That does not mean walking Fido on a leash that extends to 20 feet but can be retracted when an official suddenly appears.  This is for your pet's protection as well as the safety of others in the park on the trails or in the campground.  Remember that even if you are the only camper in the area, there is wildlife that needs protection.  You can be assured that if Fido is being chased by a bear that he just encountered, Fido will take the shortest path back to you for you to protect him!

  • Pick up and properly dispose of your pet's droppings, every time.  No matter where you are you should assume that another person will walk there after you and your pet.  This rule is most often forgotten at the beach.

  • Do not transport firewood.  Firewood can contain invasive insects and diseases.  Transporting firewood as few as 25 miles can introduce unwanted insects and diseases to a new area.

  • In Oregon and Washington (as well as many other states) it is against the law to hold a camping site for another person who hasn't arrived yet.  If you want to camp beside a family member or friend, make advanced reservations for side by side camp sites.

  • Leave your campsite as clean or cleaner than you found it.

  • If you are backpack camping, pack out everything that you packed in.

  • Burn nothing but firewood in your fire pit.  Burning papers, plastics and trash pollute the pristine air.

  • Quite times are typically from 10:00 PM until 7:00 AM.  Respect other's desire for a peaceful night.  This also includes the revving off road vehicle engines.

  • Respect other camper's "space".  Campsites are rarely fenced off, but hiking through another campsite to get to the bathroom is just bad manners.

  • Never dress small children in camouflage clothing.  If the child wanders off and a search is necessary, the camouflage clothing will hinder locating of the child.  It could result in the difference between life and death.

  • Closely monitor children when they are in or near water.  If possible, have them wear life jackets or buoyancy vests.

  • Teach your children the rules of the road before allowing them to bicycle in the campground.

  • Always have your children wear a helmet while bicycling or skating.  According to, anyone 16 years old or younger must wear a bike helmet. Riders must also wear helmets while riding a bike on a highway or "on premises open to the public."  Many Washington counties require all cyclists to wear a bicycle helmet regardless of age.

  • Idling your diesel powered vehicle for more than a few seconds is unnecessary (read your owner's manual).  Doing so disrupts the quietness, disturbs your neighbors, wastes fuel and pollutes the air.  As one example, in the state of Maine it is illegal to idle a diesel engine for more than 5 minutes - that law applies to diesel powered semi trucks as well.

  • Do not collect firewood from the forest.  The natural decomposition of downed wood is essential to the health of the forest.

  • Do not clean fish in a river, stream or lake.  Clean the fish at your campsite or at a designated fish cleaning station.  Do not dispose of the fish entrails in any open body of water.

  • At the boat launch, hurry to park your tow vehicle and trailer to avoid blocking the launch.  Hurry to retrieve your tow vehicle and trailer when getting your boat out of the water for the same reasons.

  • Thoroughly clean your boat between trips to avoid the transportation of invasive aquatic species.  Remember to clean your wet well as well.

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The information presented herein, while deemed to be correct, is not guaranteed. All information including directions, costs, distances, amenities, measurements, dates, etc. are gathered from many different sources and are deemed to be as accurate as possible but not guaranteed. The Webmaster / Free Guide To Northwest Camping / Site Owners are not liable for any errors or omissions in this info sheet. The reader of this material is expected to verify the accuracy of this content.

Page last updated 05/17/2015

The Free Guide To Northwest Camping is a free guide to both privately owned and publicly owned (state, county and federal government) campgrounds.  The editors of the Free Guide To Northwest Camping do not specifically endorse any of the campgrounds listed in this site.  Not every available campground is covered in this free camping guide.  Many of the privately owned and operated campgrounds do not allow tent camping.  If in doubt, call the campground first.

The authors of the Free Guide To Northwest Camping do not accept payment from any agency or private campground owners.  In this way we insure that every description in this free guide is unbiased.  Covered are campgrounds owned and operated by state and federal agencies, private RV campgrounds, RV parks, family campgrounds, and camping sites for both tents and all types of RV campers.  While free campgrounds are listed and described, pay per night campgrounds far outnumber the free sites.

Please use the email link above to notify the editors of the Free Guide To Northwest Camping of any errors or omissions.  New campgrounds are added weekly.

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