Wednesday, November 30, 2022


How to deal with noisy campground “soap opera”


Dear RV Shrink:rvshrink
I think you need to schedule campground office hours. We just spent a night in Rocky Mountain National Park next to a couple in a large tent. Their campfire circle was directly out our motorhome bedroom window. They spent a few hours around the campfire discussing their relationship loud enough so that we could not help hearing the whole sordid mess very clearly. It was a warm night so they had to know everyone around them had their RV windows open.

I think they needed a confessional more than a couch. Things escalated into yelling. We were not going to pull out and move at midnight, but we were hoping we weren’t going to end up in the middle of a domestic violence scene.

I tell my husband we should stay in private campgrounds where the management might be on top of this type of drama before it gets out of hand. He says the parks have law enforcement, but I have never seen them ask a noisy group of people to quiet down.

Do you think I am overreacting to an uncommon event? I do use ear plugs but they don’t block out the loud voices or noises. Maybe we have just been in the wrong places at the wrong time in our short stint on the road so far. —Not fans of Rocky Mountain soap opera

Dear Non-Soap Fans:
I think your campfire confession couple is rare indeed. It is not uncommon to find a campsite neighbor that is annoying, but often it is just rude people making too much noise. I have recently commented on those with automotive alarm systems. Domestic disputes are less common and could become violent. They are also often alcohol fueled.

I would advise staying completely out of those situations. Moving would not be out of the question if the scene started looking ugly. Campground hosts have the ability to contact law enforcement as would private campground management. It is not a perfect world and those things do not always happen in government or private campgrounds.

You have to gauge your comfort level and make your own decisions to relocate or stand your ground. I can guarantee that these annoyances will be a small percentage of the campground experiences you will have in your travels. Most campgrounds will be filled with wonderful people, many of which will become lifelong friends. —Keep Smilin’, Richard Mallery a.k.a. Dr. R.V. Shrink

Can’t get enough of the Shrink? Read his e-book: Dr. R.V. Shrink: Everything you ever wanted to know about the RV Lifestyle but were afraid to ask or check out his other e-books.


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Magee Willis
4 years ago

I know such can be annoying, but my first thought is – Just laugh at the fools that don’t care who knows their private problems.

4 years ago

We were camping at a state park in Washington and there was a loud, drunken party going on nearby late into the night. The rangers came and asked them to tone it down, which they did for awhile. Then the noise resumed. The rangers came back about 3 in the morning and booted the whole group out of the campground. There were loud cheers from the surrounding campsites.

Thinking back I wonder who got behind the wheel and what condition that driver might have been in.

4 years ago

I agree that these “noise” situations are annoying. But they can also be dangerous-for the neighbors and the participants. If you believe the situation has escalated to violence, please call 911. It may be the help of a stranger/neighbor that gets someone out of a violent relationship.

Fred P Burns
4 years ago

We just left a St Mary, MT private campground in Glacier Nat Park today. Last night the local bar had a live rock band playing outside about 2 blocks from our small park. The sound was awful & you could feel the vibration in the rv till well after midnight. Fortunately, we have a sound machine & it drowned out most of the noise after we went to bed. I called the park office but they said there was nothing they could do. I did leave a negative comment on the bar’s Facebook page.

Mike Sokol(@mike)
4 years ago
Reply to  Fred P Burns

In that sort of situation your only hope is a local sound ordinance which limits outside noisy events to specific hours. For instance, at one of the local charity events where I recently ran sound, the producer of the outside concert was instructed by the sheriff’s office that the music had to stop at 10 pm sharp, not a minute later. I read the riot act to the last band, telling them they wouldn’t get paid if they didn’t have a hard stop by 10 pm, so they agreed to finish their final song, by 9:45, say a few goodbyes for a few minutes, then perform an encore song which lasted to 9:58. I took the announce mic and told the crowd the concert was over (the standard “you don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here”), then killed the PA system at 9:59pm. The sheriff stopped by later to say thanks. Now while the show was on the music was kicking, but I had cleverly arranged the subwoofers into a cardioid array, which allowed me to direct most of the bass energy at the crowd, and not as much going towards the houses several hundred yards away. So the crowd got the bump they wanted, the houses got much less bass energy than a standard PA system, and we stopped 1 minute before the sound ordinance deadline. Not a bad gig.

Bill Clement
4 years ago

We camp host three to five months a year. Two comments based on past experience. The first is do not get involved in domestic violence. The second is to dial 911. Law-enforcement will respond. It may not be quick, but they will respond.

4 years ago

Lol. This is what car alarms are for. Every time they get loud the car alarm goes on. When they’re quiet it goes off.

Magee Willis
4 years ago
Reply to  BuzzElectric

Love this idea!

4 years ago

Couldn’t you just call the local police? Even if they can’t respond- you’ve made an official complaint and they may contact the correct authority on your behalf. I bet your other less noisy neighbors would appreciate your efforts.

4 years ago

I agree situations like this r rare, but in the future if u experience a situation like this and it continues for sometime or u think could escalate into violence contact the Campground Host. They would assess the situation while keeping ur contact confidential and then if need be, alert a Park Ranger who would be in a position to best management it. No one should have to put up with a situation like u describe especially if there r children present.

Alaska Travelers
4 years ago

We’ve run into one or two since we’ve full timed since 2008. We grumble and vow to never stop there again….but they all run together and we don’t remember where it was. We do the same thing with noisy neighbors as we do with smoky neighbors (cigarettes or campfires). We close all our windows and turn on the air…. muffles the sound and/or stops some of the smokiness..

Magee Willis
4 years ago

Thumbs up!

4 years ago

Not trying to be negative, but when people suggest putting in ear plugs, you should consider whether you would be able to here your smoke/CO detector should it happen to go off during the night.

Angela Krause
4 years ago
Reply to  TP

I have no doubt that I would be able to hear my detectors’ alarms with earplugs in. They’re way louder than voices outside.

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