Camping is a great experience, but one loud, rude, or intoxicated neighbor can quickly ruin a trip. Luckily, most camping and RV enthusiasts are considerate to others and try to be helpful to their neighbors instead of being a nuisance.
However, when you have a problem, you may need to learn the best way to deal with a bad camping neighbor. You may feel uncomfortable or unsafe confronting them to discuss the issue, so I’m going to give you the ideal ways to handle different situations so you can fix the problem before it ruins your vacation!
7 Types of Bad Camping Neighbors and How to Deal With Them
Learning the ropes of civil camping behavior is difficult for some people. While newcomers to the RV or camping life may not know better, others often don’t care how their bad actions affect others in a campground.
Here are seven types of camping neighbors that are famous for causing trouble and the best way to deal with them to resolve the problem:
1. Neighbors with Freeroaming Children
Oh, the joy of stepping out onto your campsite only to encounter an unknown child rummaging through your pool toys or having a group of kids walk through your patio area to reach their camper.
Some parents think their “little darlings” are doing no harm and let them roam free with no supervision.
If you speak to the naughty neighbor over their wayward kids, my experience is they either ignore you, get mad at you, or excessively punish their kids, none of which is a good outcome.
BEST SOLUTION FOR WAYWARD CHILDREN:
For children who invade your campsite, it’s best to deal with them directly. I ask where their campsite is and if they know it breaks campground rules to step onto another guest’s campsite or touch their belongings without permission. Most kids are unaware of this rule.
I then indicate that many people are not as friendly as me and could yell at or hurt them for trespassing, that some people have dogs that could attack, and that their parents may have to leave the campground if they don’t follow the rules.
I always stay calm, treat kids with respect, and then show them an alternative route to reach their destination. I use this technique with all ages of children, and if you remain kind and don’t go tattling to their parents, 99% of the time, they’ll stop intruding on your campsite.
What do I do for the other 1 percent? If the kids aren’t causing too much disturbance with my daily routine, I ignore it.
If kids continue to be bothersome, I go straight to a staff member and have them discuss the issue with the parents. Campground staff understands the importance of keeping the peace amongst the guests and will point out the rules that need parental enforcement without saying who is complaining.
2. Camping Neighbors Who Won’t Leash Pets
I’ve had the unfortunate experience of coming outside to find a dog peeing on my grill or finding piles of dog excrement on my campsite, and I’m not alone.
It’s annoying to have a loose dog running through your campsite or common areas, and you now have to fear they may bite people or pets, attack wildlife, get hit by a vehicle or RV, go potty where they shouldn’t, or steal the food off your picnic table.
There will be a time or two you’ll have pet parents who think they know best and ignore campground leash and pet waste clean-up rules, which can be infuriating.
BEST SOLUTION FOR UNLEASHED PETS:
An unleashed pet at a campground is a recipe for disaster for another person or the pet. Please immediately call the manager on duty or alert the workamping staff.
Don’t confront the owner. They know their pet is loose and will only be mad you’re in their face about it.
Don’t feel bad reporting an unleashed pet, even if they remain on their registered campsite. Even if you believe the pet got loose accidentally, having a record of each event can play a role in holding the pet owner responsible if things escalate.
3. Noisy Neighbors
You should expect random loud noises while camping, especially when people are setting up or breaking camp. You should also expect people to play music, laugh it up, or run a generator if they don’t have shore power.
However, you shouldn’t have to spend any length of time listening to:
- Barking dogs
- Blaring music or televisions
- Deafening generators
- Arguments or loud conversations
- Revving motorcycles or trucks
- Screaming kids
Some campers think that quiet hours are for “other people,” and since they are paying to stay at an RV park or campground, they can do what they want. Others love to leave their dogs inside their tent or RV while they go out for the day and refuse to believe their precious pet barks the entire time they are gone because they get quiet again when they return.
Each campground is different, but most post quiet hours from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. so guests can enjoy a peaceful night’s sleep. However, excessive noise during the day is still a cause for complaint since many of us like to take mid-day naps or would like to concentrate on reading a book or working.
Some campgrounds cater to partiers, where quiet hours are nonexistent. If staying up all night and having fun is your camping style, book at a campground that allows this behavior.
BEST SOLUTION FOR LOUD NEIGHBORS:
Dealing with loud camping neighbors depends on the noise and how you think they’ll act if you approach them to discuss the issue. Unfortunately, not all guests are friendly, and the last thing you want to do is tick them off and make things worse.
For daytime noise, my experience is that the guests are unaware of how their loud noises affect nearby campsites. At night, it’s common that people are not watching the clock to realize quiet hours have taken effect.
My first step is introducing myself and quietly pointing out they are disturbing others. Most people get embarrassed and will quickly rectify the noise level.
However, some noises are unacceptable, the neighbor isn’t there, or they are intoxicated or belligerent, and you don’t feel safe broaching the subject.
In those instances, contact campground staff. If they can’t get the guest to quiet down, you should ask how long they’re staying to determine if you want to keep dealing with it, ask to move to a different campsite, or get a refund and leave.
Side note: Many people who camp arrive by motorcycle. Please don’t get upset by the bike noise as they enter or leave the campground, as they aren’t intentionally being loud.
4. The Encroaching Neighbors
It’s astonishing how much gear some people take camping or that every guest arrives in a separate vehicle and expects to park it at the campsite. Yet, inevitably something of theirs ends up on your campsite.
Other people like to park their camper close to the edge of the campsite, giving them more room for their patio space. That’s all good until they open their slideouts, and you now have three feet of their camper sticking out over your patio!
If you’re lucky enough to book a campsite large enough to accommodate the “overage” of your neighbor and it doesn’t bother you, great. But, for liability reasons, I suggest you tackle this issue before you get accused of damaging or stealing items on your site.
First, only complain once you know the neighbor has fully set up camp, as it’s common for people to pull up vehicles to unload and pile up gear out of the way until they get organized.
If items remain on your campsite after they set up, don’t move your neighbor’s items onto their campsite. Instead, find the owner and point out their things on your site or that their vehicles impede your ability to drive in and out of your campsite.
They often quickly fix the problem and move extra cars to an overflow parking area. If they don’t comply, call the campground manager or park ranger to deal with them.
5. Neighbors Who Exceed Guest Limits
All private, state and national campgrounds have capacity limits per campsite to ensure their plumbing, sewer, and electrical systems are not overwhelmed. Some counties also may restrict the number of guests a park can accommodate.
In most instances, the max amount of guests per campsite is between one and six. So if you think you’re going to have a peaceful camping trip and the neighbors have 15 people in their camp, you can kiss that idea goodbye.
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Unfortunately, some people think the more, the merrier and invite extra people to camp overnight or bring in a large group for a party during the day without the approval of management.
Extra people create more noise, clutter, and trash and gum up already cramped parking areas, swimming pools, shower houses, and other campground facilities.
TOO MANY GUESTS SOLUTION:
It’ll be a waste of time asking the neighbor to reduce the number of people on the campsite. Instead, contact the manager or park ranger immediately and allow them to drive by and assess the situation.
You may learn they have permission and paid for the extra guests to come in for a special event or that the neighbors tried to sneak people in because they wanted to avoid the additional cost of renting another campsite.
Whatever the outcome, you should know quickly what’s going on, if the extra guests will be leaving, or if you’ll need to ask for a different campsite away from the crowd.
6. Littering Neighbors
Some camping guests think taking a walk to the dumpster is a monumental task and will allow trash to accumulate on their campsite, which will inevitably get spread about by wildlife and blow onto your site.
Sometimes long-term or seasonal campers place so many items on their campsite that it looks like a junkyard, ruining your view. These problems are rare but do happen and require action on your part to deal with the issue.
Don’t bother approaching your unkempt neighbor’s campsite, as this type of problem is more than a stray candy wrapper blowing onto your patio. Instead, call or visit the campground office and speak to a staff member about the situation.
If garbage is piling up, they should have the guest immediately dispose of it in the dumpster and if the guest isn’t home, take care of it themselves. For outdoor clutter, chances are this is an ongoing issue, and management finds it easier to ignore the mess than risk losing a customer who pays for their campsite during all months of the year.
If management doesn’t address the issue to your satisfaction, ask to be moved with compensation for the hassle and tell them you’ll leave a bad review if they don’t oblige. If they refuse to move you or adjust your bill, you’ll have to either deal with the mess or leave.
However, I suggest taking the time to post reviews about your experience on as many camping and RVing websites or forums as possible to alert others travelers to the park’s poor attitude.
7. The Intoxicated Neighbors
People who get high or drunk and misbehave are not the camping neighbors you need. It’s easy to get carried away and over-imbibe when taking a little vacation, but it also can lead to fights with other guests, loud partying, foul language, and other issues.
If your intoxicated neighbors aren’t causing harm try to overlook it the first time because they’ll typically calm down in the following days. However, if it keeps happening, you’ll need to have the campground management or even local law enforcement come to deal with them.
Yes, you can bypass campground management if they aren’t helpful and call the police if anyone is disturbing the peace. You also can pack up and leave.
Encountering bad camping neighbors is rare, but always keep the numbers for the campground office, manager, ranger, or after-hours emergency line so you can contact someone if your visit takes a turn for the worst.
The information above helps you deal with problematic camping guests safely and efficiently, so you can return to enjoying your trip!
"Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore."
-- Andre Gide