Thursday, March 30, 2023



Let there be obnoxious lights in the RV park

By Chuck Woodbury

After reading this, please answer the poll below.

That’s a neighbor’s RV above. He turns on the lights every evening and leaves them on until about midnight. He’s a couple of sites away, so the light isn’t too bright on my plot of rented space. The only time I have seen him leave the RV in the evening was to escort his small dog on a peeing mission. The dog, by the way, wore a collar that blinked red and green.

The owner of this RV liked showing off his RV at night by keeping his awning light on.

Thanks to the miracle of LED lights, many RVs are now equipped with a variety of outdoor lighting. Many, like my current neighbor’s fifth wheel, have a string of lights across the awning. They are usually white, but sometimes they’re colored, adding extra ambiance to the scene that we fondly recall from our days of staying in sleazy motels with their blinking neon lights.

The lucky owners of Montana 5th wheels can light up the campground with built-in lights up front. 

If you happen to be next to a light-happy RVer then your options at night if you’re not into unwanted illumination are to close your blinds or leave them open and pretend you’re in one of those motels from your youth.

In one park where I stayed an RVer erected a flagpole above his motorhome. It had a bright, rotating beacon at the top. When I first saw it from a distance I thought “Oh, I didn’t know there was an airport so close.” 

This globe constantly changed shapes and colors! There’s no need for TV when free entertainment like this is available.

Another RVer, at another park, with the urge to entertain his neighbors, displayed a somewhat sophisticated device on his motorhome’s dashboard, as you can see in the photo. It changed colors and patterns continuously. I thought that perhaps if I were to concentrate on it Gail could repeat to me, “You are going deeper and deeper to sleep.” Maybe, just maybe, I would slip into a hypnotic state. Later, any time Gail said to me, “Remember cardiovascular disease,” I would immediately head off for a brisk two-mile walk.

And then there’s the RVer who wins my prize for the most obnoxious display of campground lighting. To be fair, I snapped this photo near the first of December, so Christmas was on the way. But imagine all those colored dots constantly moving, not only lighting up the RV but the tree above. If you were his neighbor and loved displays of multi-colored quickly moving lights, then you would be in a heaven. It would be a little bit of Times Square or Las Vegas right in your campground!

Ah. . . life in a modern-day RV park!

So what do you think?



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Morgan Jolly
1 year ago

This article was posted 3 years ago. I’m interested in knowing if anyone’s opinion has changed now that the majority of RV’s I see seem to be lit up at night. Our travel trailer has multi-colored LED lights under the awning and they’ve always seemed a bit obnoxious to me. We turn them off as soon as we head in, usually about 9 p.m. I’ve always had the fear it would annoy neighbors since it kind of annoys me too LOL

2 years ago

Unlike my home neighborhood, I know who I live amongst. Camping at those various RV Parks are strangers and not everyday neighbors. I light up my campground space to deter anyone or anything; including large wild animals, rodents and bugs that can be a risk to my Family or my Camper. Security first!!! I do personally like lightening up my Campground space.

3 years ago

As a kid in the early1950s I Iived in a city with a lot of lights, so I didn’t get a very good view of the stars at night. One thing I enjoyed about camping in state parks at that time, was that once people finished dinner, they turned off their Coleman lanterns, & it was really dark. One could see many many more stars than could be seen in the city. Now the campgrounds are about as brightly lit as the cities, & the view of the stars has been lost to light pollution.

3 years ago

I wonder how many people complaining in here let their dogs bark, don’t pick up their dog’s poop, smoke, run their generators for hours, have too many people in their sites, play music outside, walk through other’s campsites, let their campfire smoke blow into other sites, stay up late talking, watch their TVs outside at night, or whatever else might upset a neighbor.

2 years ago
Reply to  Brian

Hard to control the wind. I think the smoke is out of their hands.

Kom Dixon
4 years ago

RV Parks have rules about when one can run the generator, why not rules about lights. Just because you rent a space doesn’t give you the right to do what ever you want with it. It’s all about respecting your neighbor.

Kit Frost
4 years ago

I am in agreement that “live and let live” should include consideration of neighbors, at home and at the campground. I understand the need for personalization and decoration of our campers, but do NOT like when my camping neighbor overdoes the outdoor lighting past “quiet time”. Flashlights work and so does the on/of switch at my camper door so I can turn lights on before I step out and night, and turn them off again when I return to the interior.

As a camper I am sometimes reticent to approach my neighbors to ask that lights be dimmed or turned off.

Denny wagaman
4 years ago

we Don’t like closing our blinds as we don’t like living in a cave. We have our blinds open the majority of time night or day. Why live like a mole? Dressing or undressing is done in the bedroom or bathrooms. We are not that important to be watched or looked at. Security? Lock your doors. Please don’t leave your lights on all night.
Rudeness is the norm. It’s everwhere. Sadly. Older age crankeyness is because we remember when most people were nice, kind and considerate of others. ?

Denny wagaman
4 years ago

I don’t believe it. Your right to Invade my space includes your lights however and whereever you want and you can’t turn them off or on as you use or need them? Are you entitled to do whatever you feel you need to do without consideration for your neighbor? If I had problems with those critters guess what? I would darn well move to another CG, another city or state! Those are just excuses to do what you want to do.

Jay French
4 years ago

WoW !!
Read all the complaints, warnings, laughed at the “Light Pollution” & basically wonder why some believe they have a Right to total darkness while camping in a full hookup RV Resort with another RV parked 15 to 30 feet distant.
Here in Louisiana, non-bug lights attract mosquito’s by the thousands & are never used.
However, the only time I invade RV Resorts is to attend an LSU or Saints Party which is usually a huge TV set up, a bonfire, barbecues & such going with generally 30 invited & 40 attending since we welcome others to join us.
Otherwise I am camping out a week or longer at a time in a National forest where only during the Friday to Sunday weekenders are crowded.
Have never noticed many obnoxious light shows late at night after 10pm in the forests. Most use safety lighting around their areas & a few have motion lighting. Some go total dark as their personal preference.
However, I do not complain or feel violated, become upset or disillusioned unless their dog is left outside & continually barks or they believe in sharing their personal choice of music at high decibel levels.
Frankly, they pay the same $$’s for their space as I did & it is their Right to use that space as per Park Rules. Life is too short to sweat the small stuff.

1 year ago
Reply to  Jay French

This sounds very entitled. And maybe we’ll be on the same page here.

To me, if you take an action to impact someone else, that’s not a god give right, that’s simple ignorance and rudeness. I’m ok w lights at someone’s RV provided they don’t bleed into someone else’s area. Just cover the lit area, keep the light angle down and be courtesy to others. It’s that simple.

Also, no light has ever stopped an animal from eating your trash, and I highly doubt it’ll stop a criminal from stealing anything you own. Light does not deter. If that were the case, Chicago would be the safest place on Earth!

4 years ago

We live and RV in the Northwest mostly, and we have string of led lights around our class A to help keep mice and pack rats away, I do believe it works well, I do wonder if it bothers my camping neighbors , when they ask about our lights and I explain why we have them they seem very interested in getting some for themselves.

4 years ago
Reply to  Dean

The rats and mice thank you for lighting their way at night!

4 years ago

Just this weekend, I camped at a state park with my new RV for the very first time. I turned on the yellow porch light which includes blue lighting to the steps and handrails to take out the dog to potty one last time for the night. I found the lights unintentionally left on all night the next morning. Previously being a tent camper and respecting other campers desire for no light pollution, I felt apologetic. Fortunately the park was not busy and we were all spread out with a good distance between us. The light did not illuminate beyond my area. I feel the lights are there for our safety and for others whose purpose is to deter animals and insects. Other than that, i prefer to enjoy the dark night or I would rent a hotel and live in the city if I can’t escape the lights. No thanks! Feel free to remind me to turn mine off.

4 years ago

It’s just another “me too” thing.

4 years ago

We winter out in Tucson where there is a BIG PROBLEM with pack rats. This winter one chewed through a neighbor’s power steering cable ($400 repair); another site had their battery cables chewed to bits. Apparently the rats are attracted to rubber, electrical wiring insulation and whatever else they can get inside a vehicle..
However, they do not like light. Thus, many of us run strands of lighting around our RVs. We leave the lights on overnight.
Surprisingly, we can sit outside at midnight and still have a clear view of the sky.

4 years ago
Reply to  Trish

Have learned that wiring now may have a soy based insolating covering. SOY is a food and varmints have a hankering for it. Cotton tails have done $1000.’s of damage to our equipment and RV. Bought a couple strings of ‘5’ lights each and put them under hoods and in engine compartments. If they get into the computer wires you may never move again. BUT cardboard ‘blinds can help keep the light from being a nuisance to our ‘neighbors’. I prefer the dark to all the bling.

4 years ago

You needed one more option – ask him to turn them off!

4 years ago

I truely believe most of the ground illuimination is used to check the area for unwanted critters wandering/creeping around. We are in AZ with plenty of critters! Rattlers, scorpions, skunks, centipedes, and javalina’s to list a few. Some which could easily ” kill” a pet without emergency treatment. We, as well have rope lights on the ground lighting our dogs path.

4 years ago

LEDs are definitely an energy saver. However, the world is becoming more illuminated and it is having an effect on Mother Nature. You can check the light differences before and after the introduction of LEDs along with the many articles regarding their overuse.

We prefer boondocking and on a very rare occasion have we encountered obnoxious people. We travel mostly in Mexico so we have less developed camping areas than the U.S. I couldn’t imagine being parked next to security light, that would defeat the purpose of my rving.

So keep your habits to yourselves. You want string lightsand LEDs, go for it but use them inside your rv. No one cares how cool it looks, it only matters to you.

4 years ago

It seems everyone has a pet peeve, it is as though we can’t live in close proximity to each other. Some people go overboard with everything they do, and there are those who find something to complain about, even if it’s those darn jack boots the spider has on, as he goose steps across the roof. No one communicates, everyone complains to a higher authority. They get so many complaints, it is no wonder that many times their action is to do nothing but stare at the complaintant as though they are listening, while trying to remember what is the base number for 2,177.

4 years ago

I would love to see campgrounds and rv parks adopt “dark sky” policies.

4 years ago
Reply to  Don

Totally agree. We travel with telescopes and like to set them up to share the night sky with folks, and to do some astrophotography.

Outside lights makes it difficult to see, enjoy & share the night sky.

4 years ago

Bright lighting should fall under the same category as loud noise…. so when we are at music festivals it is no big deal but when we are in state parks solar lights should be the limit. Ours are dim & barely light up under our awning but are more than enough after eyes adjust to the beautiful darkness to enjoy the stars above.

Bob Godfrey
4 years ago

Once again it’s all about respect. Is is really necessary to have all those lights on? Are you saying “hey look at me I bought all these lights for my rig”? How can you enjoy the beautiful night sky when all the lights overwhelm your vision? Do you enjoy all the bugs that are attracted to those lights? In my opinion it’s not much different from allowing your campfire smoke to blow into your neighbor’s spot or playing music, watching loud TV or just simply talking too loudly. It’s about respect for others and I think if we had more of it we’d all be much better off in the long run.

Dawn Brown
4 years ago
Reply to  Bob Godfrey

Allowing smoke to blow into neighbor’s spot? How do you stop it?

2 years ago
Reply to  Bob Godfrey

Bad Smoke…. NO. Get back here.

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