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Are Campground Showers Gross?

Are Campground Showers Gross?

Depending on a campground bathhouse for your showers can be a gamble. We’ve seen campground showers throughout our adventures that were impressive and alarming. However, you might not have any other choice at the end of a long day of hiking or exploring the outdoors. If you’ve had a bad experience at a campground bathhouse, you may wonder if all campground showers are gross.

Today, we’re taking a closer look at what you can expect when trying to stay clean while camping. Let’s dive in!

What Are Campground Showers?

One of the many benefits of staying in a campground is taking advantage of the amenities. Many campgrounds offer restrooms and shower facilities for guests. However, there typically is no consistency from one campground to the next.

FOR RV BEGINNERS: Campground Bath House Shower Tips!

Some campgrounds have facilities with individual rooms for optimal privacy. However, some older campgrounds may simply have dividers between shower stalls.

The cleanliness and condition of campground bathhouses will depend on the campground. Some do a better job of maintaining their facilities than others, and it shows.

Are Campground Showers Free?

Many campground showers are free for guests to use while camping. However, some campgrounds charge a small fee for showers. Those campgrounds that charge often use coin-operated showers that require campers to pay for a certain amount of minutes. Unless you come with a pocket full of quarters, you’re likely to want to keep your showers short.

We have seen some campgrounds that are free but have push-button showers. This typically requires the camper to push a button every 30 to 60 seconds to keep the water running. This helps conserve water, especially in areas that experience extreme droughts.

Interior of campground bathhouse
Campgrounds can offer a range of free or small fee shower options.

Who Cleans Campground Showers?

When it comes to cleaning campground showers, this is typically a task assigned to a staff member or camp host at a campground. Some state or federally-run campgrounds hire outside cleaning crews to come through and clean the restrooms. However, how often they come and clean will vary.

Most campgrounds rely heavily on guests to clean up after themselves to keep the facilities clean. The staff member assigned to keep the restrooms clean likely will have a long list of other responsibilities with a higher priority. However, if you discover a restroom is unclean, you should immediately report it to the campground’s staff.

Person cleaning a shower
Most campgrounds will hire staff to clean and maintain the campground bathrooms and showers.

Are Campground Showers Gross?

Out of all of the campgrounds we’ve visited, we’ve found that most campgrounds do a terrific job of keeping restrooms clean. Sure, there will be a campground now and again that will disappoint, but they’re typically few and far between. If you take the proper precautions, you should have no issues using a gross campground shower.

Pro Tip: No shower at your campground? Use these tips on How to Find Public Showers While Traveling.

Campground Bathhouse Tips

We’ve found that you can do a few things to make the most out of a campground bathhouse while camping. Here are a few tips from what we’ve learned during our travels. 

Wear Shower Shoes

It’s always a good idea to wear shower shoes when using a public shower. Many health professionals highly recommend using footwear while showering. This can help you avoid coming in contact with bacteria and fungus that can lead to athlete’s foot, ringworm, and various other infections.

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You want a set of shoes that fit your foot and provide traction in the shower. Many choose to use flip flops or other slip-on shoes, but these typically provide minimal traction. A quality set of swim shoes may be a great option to consider.

Woman drying towels and clothes at campsite
Showering at campgrounds might not always be perfect, but with an open mind and low expectations, they aren’t that bad to use.

Use a Shower Caddy

If you’re showering in a campground shower, you’ll need to take all of your belongings with you. Using a shower caddy can make it easy to carry everything you need to and from the shower. This can also help reduce the chances of leaving something behind, and you won’t lose anything. We may or may not have accidentally left behind a brand new bottle of body wash once or twice in our day.

We recommend getting a shower caddy that has plenty of holes in it. That helps avoid getting water in it and allows everything to dry quickly during your trip. You don’t want everything to get wet while camping.

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Buy a Quick-Dry Towel

You may enjoy having a thick fluffy towel at home, but you don’t want to bring that camping. You want to get a towel that can do the job but can dry quickly. There are many soft synthetic fabric towels made for this very purpose. Many come with loops that you can easily hang from a tree branch for them to dry.

Using one of these towels can help avoid getting other items in your camping gear wet and ensure that you have a dry towel when you take your next shower. You’re not going to be a happy camper if you go to dry off with a towel that is still wet from your previous shower.

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Woman with hair wrapped in a quick drying towel.
A quick-drying towel will make life easier when using a campground shower.

Avoid Showering During the Rush

Many people stick to their normal routine and shower in the evening. Because the shower facilities are for all campers, making them very busy during the evening hours. Avoiding the rush can ensure you don’t have to wait for a shower or suffer through a cold shower. We have found that showering before dinner or late at night can help ensure you’re not fighting for the shower.

Use Shower Gel

Don’t make the rookie mistake of using a bar of soap. Even if you prefer to use a bar, shower gel is much easier while camping. Shower gel is easier to store and much less messy than a wet soap bar. You can even find some shower gels designed for your hair and body. You can eliminate shampoo from your shower caddy, which means one less thing to carry and pack.

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Pro Tip: Don’t want to use a public campground shower? Try out body wipes to stay sweet-smelling while on the road.

Woman shampooing hair in campground shower
Get a two-in-one shower gel and shampoo combo to make packing for showers on the go quick and easy.

Bring Coins

We’ll come across a campground that requires coins to shower every now and then. We recommend carrying a few quarters in your shower caddy if you frequently camp in unfamiliar campgrounds. You don’t want to get caught off guard without coins and have to go from campsite to campsite in your bathrobe looking for someone to make change. 

Lower Your Expectations

You must go into any campground shower with a set of healthy expectations. You’re likely not going to get piping hot water or tremendous amounts of water pressure. Prepare yourself for low water pressure and mediocre water temperatures. This way, it’s a pleasant surprise if you find yourself in a campground shower with hot water and generous amounts of water pressure.

Use the Campground Bathhouse to Stay Clean

If you’re worried about staying clean while camping, we recommend making sure you spend time reading reviews for a campground. Users on Campendium are typically quick to point out any major issues when staying at a campground.

However, if your fellow campers aren’t respectful and don’t clean up after themselves, you can’t do much about it. In most cases, though, you have nothing to worry about, and you can easily stay clean during your adventures.

If you don’t want to run the risk of a gross campground shower, consider investing in a shower tent and one of the 5 Best Outdoor Solar Showers for Getting Clean While Camping.

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About Mortons on the Move

Tom & Caitlin Morton of Mortons on the Move gave up the stationary life for one where they are constantly on the move. They are full-time travelers, television hosts, and digital media producers.
They left their jobs, sold their house and possessions, and hit the road in September 2015 in their full-time “home on wheels”. Since then they have traveled the US, Canada, and even internationally by RV.
Now, they are Discovery Channel & PBS TV Co-stars of “Go North” on Amazon Prime Video, co-founders and instructors of RV Masterclass, and contributing authors for and an Arizona travel guide.

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