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RV Rules: Why Is Campground Checkout So Early?

You may have jumped into RVing for the freedom it can provide. However, RV life doesn’t mean you get to live without rules. One of the rules you’ll need to follow while RVing is checking out of your campsite.

No matter how great of a time you had or how much you love the site, you’ll eventually need to pack up and move on to the next adventure.

So why are campground checkout times so early? Today, we’re sharing everything you need to know when it comes to the time you should leave your campsite.

Let’s get started!

What Is Campground Checkout?

Campground checkout is the specific time a campground requires guests to vacate their campsite. It should be free of any trash or items brought by campers. They should also return any items like picnic tables or lampstands they may have moved at the site.

Some campgrounds will require guests to checkout with the office or front gate when leaving. They may ask you to return the tag from your campsite or a parking pass as you leave. However, every park and campground has its own unique policies, so inquire about the checkout process in advance.

Pro Tip: Don’t want to check out early? Find out Can You Get Away With Breaking the Campground Rules?

RV campsite set up in campground
Campgrounds need time to prepare for new guests, which can make checkout time be a bit early.

What Time Is Checkout at Most Campgrounds?

Individual campgrounds set their own rules, including checkout times. You can typically expect a campground to request guests check out by 11:00 a.m.

This gives guests time to enjoy breakfast and pack up their things before heading on their way. However, we have seen some parks with earlier and later checkout times. 

If you’re worried about checking out on time, you may consider picking up some items the night before your departure. There’s no use in keeping things out you’re not going to use or things that will take up time in the morning. You want to make your departure as smooth as possible for you and your fellow campers.

What Time Is Check-In at Most Campgrounds?

Most campgrounds allow guests to check-in after 1:00 p.m. or 2:00 p.m. There’s usually a two- or three-hour difference between the time guests must check out and when they will allow guests to check in to their site. 

Man driving RV
Head out on the highway and don’t hang around too long on checkout day!

Why Is Campground Checkout So Early?

Campgrounds need guests to checkout somewhat early to give them time to prepare for the next guests. This is especially true during the busy seasons when campgrounds may be at max capacity most nights of the week. Having an early checkout time ensures guests leaving have plenty of space to dump tanks and maneuver their rigs out of the campground.

It’s easy for campers to overlook that campgrounds often require hosts and other staff to prepare campsites for future guests. That could mean scooping out ashes from the fire pit, picking up trash, and even in some cases, raking the campsite. They need time to ensure that every guest has a great experience.

Do Campgrounds Offer Late Checkout?

Some campgrounds will allow late checkouts when possible. They will even have later checkout times, typically Sundays, during the busiest checkout days. If a campground is expecting a significant turnover, they’re likely unable to accommodate any late checkout requests.

However, this is usually case-by-case, and you should never assume that a campground will grant you a late checkout.

Pro Tip: Don’t be an annoying RVer! Avoid doing these 5 Most Annoying Things RVers Do.

RVs parked along a lake at campsite.
Always leave your campsite better than you found it when checking out!

Things to Remember When Checking Out of a Campground

The process of checking out of a campground is very easy. However, there are a few things you should always remember. Let’s take a look!

Leave Your Campsite Better Than You Found It

One of the rudest things you can do is leave a mess behind for the next camper at the end of your stay. Campgrounds typically operate on minimal staff, and they’re the ones who most likely will end up cleaning up after you. It’s not their job to pick up after you, and their time is better spent assisting other guests.

One of the last things you should do before leaving a campsite is to walk around and look for anything you may have left behind accidentally. Make sure you have picked up any trash, camping gear, or items that may have been left on the ground by a child. Check water connections to ensure you are taking all of your attachments.

By leaving your campsite better than you found it, you can help ensure future guests can enjoy their stay. Causing damage to a campsite means campgrounds may have to shut down for repairs, which is an inconvenience to the site and other campers.

Leave on Time

Whether you like it or not, you’ll have to vacate your campsite eventually. You should always leave on time because another guest might be waiting for you to go so they can stay. The staff might need time to clean up and prepare the site.

Some campgrounds may be generous and allow you a late checkout, but don’t take advantage of their generosity and overstay your welcome. Keep the campground informed of any mechanical issues that may prohibit you from leaving on time. They may be able to make adjustments or offer help or resources to get you on your way.

Follow All Campground Checkout Rules

Most campgrounds have a process they ask that guests follow when checking out. This helps ensure they stay organized and know which sites are ready for the next guests and which sites still have guests occupying them.

Not following their rules or system can make it difficult for you and the campground staff. If you’re unsure of the checkout rules or process, make sure you inquire with the staff when checking in or during your stay. They likely want you to have a great experience from the minute you check in until the time you check out of the campground.

Is Campground Checkout Too Early or Just Right?

While we’ve never had an issue with checkout time being too early, we’re not the type to sleep in while camping. We think most campgrounds have their checkout times at just the right time to ensure all guests have adequate time to get up and around in the morning. However, if you’re the type who likes to stay up late and sleep in, you might have a bit more trouble.

If you might need a late checkout, it’s best to ask ahead of time and not assume. A campground might not be able to grant your request, and you could find yourself in hot water with an angry camp host or the next guest.

Do you think campground checkout times are too early? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!

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