Woodbury Hits Home on Checkout Time Query

February 4, 2013 by   - () 3 Comments

Chuck Woodbury

Editor’s Note: Chuck Woodbury, editor of, wrote a column last week suggesting that campgrounds need to amend their checkout times to more fairly accommodate campers. In an online survey, whose preliminary results were tallied at 10:30 a.m. EST today (Feb. 4) the overwhelming percentage – 63.93% to be exact – said 1 p.m. would be a fair checkout time to both RVers and the campgrounds. Next popular was noon, at 24.85%, followed by 7.89% who said 11 a.m. and 3.33% who said later than 1 p.m. His follow-up column on this topic appears below in his latest newsletter.

Letters poured in last week about my essay urging campgrounds to extend their checkout times from a stingy 11 a.m. to later. Most of the readers agreed with my comments, but others, mostly workampers, defended the early checkout time with horror stories about awful campers who left their campsites a mess. Most of their stories, however, had nothing to do with checkout times. “They pulled apart a fence to use for firewood,” was one comment.

Most of these people said that if someone wanted to stay longer, they were usually allowed. They just need to ask. I say that they should not need to ask. One o’clock should be the official time, not 11 a.m.

From what I have observed through the years, nearly all campgrounds have campsites available for any early arrivals because 90% of the overnight campers leave early. My guess is that 99.7% of campers leave their space as clean as when they arrived and I don’t think RV parks kick us out early because they need time to clean our sites: I think they do it because they have always done it, and nobody bothers to ask “Why?” So I say that unless there is a compelling reason, RV parks should do away with the 11 a.m. check out time and make it 1 p.m. It’s the right thing to do. If you missed my essay last week, read it here.


3 Responses to “Woodbury Hits Home on Checkout Time Query”

  1. Pam Dunaway on February 4th, 2013 1:41 pm

    Our checkout time at Beagle Bay RV has been 2pm since we took ownership 3 years ago. As avid campers ourselves, it never made sense that we were asked to vacate early.
    We have found the 2pm checkout to work just fine. Most campers are gone by 10. Very few leave a mess behind.
    The bulk of incoming campers arrive between 2 and 5 giving us plenty of time to clean up after the few who trash their site.

  2. Chris on February 4th, 2013 4:18 pm

    My comment is that a later check-out time means a later check-IN time for the next user. Otherwise, our checkout time is 2PM and we still have problems with late departures.

  3. Smokey camping on February 4th, 2013 4:20 pm

    I am glad to see that most feel as Mr. Woodbury and myself, this has always been an issue with me, and as I get older (and sorer) 11 am closes sooner and sooner, I hope that the campground owners take notice of the survey, and maybe start asking their own campers what would better for them and not for the staff, who just want to make it easier for themselves. As for the work camper who stated that a camper took a fence down for firewood I have two things to say 1) where was security? 2) I hope you billed the camper for it!
    If the work campers need that much time to clean up a site(s) then there is a bigger issue with the park!