Saturday, December 2, 2023


The joy of camping next to a neighbor’s electric palm tree

By Chuck Woodbury
I am often amazed in RV parks about how so many RVers are consumed with lighting up the park at night. They spread LED lights on the ground around their site or hang them on their awnings. Some put a flashing light atop their personal flag pole, even though I don’t believe there’s a big danger from low-flying aircraft. Many leave the lights on all night.

And as you can see above, sometimes they bring along their own electric palm tree. It’s cute, yeah, but once you’ve seen one, I say, the joke is over. (BTW – The description on says: “Great for parties and game rooms, poolside or outside your RV.” And it’s only $107!)

At last count, there were five electric palm trees in my park.

RV makers encourage displays of lights by installing them on the outside of RVs. Very often they line the lip of an awning. Honestly, sometimes there are so many RV lights in a park you need to pull your shades at night to avoid sleeping in a room with flashing red, green and yellow lights, like back in the days of sleazo motels.

Do you leave your porch light on? Some people do. Maybe they’re just trying to be helpful so when their neighbor gets up at night to use the potty he or she doesn’t need to turn on any lights.

This is a fairly common scene these days in RV parks.

I know a lot of RVers enjoy lighting up their RVs. Maybe I’m just a fuddy-duddy because I am not crazy about it. In my book, illuminating an RV at night in an RV park is right up there with hanging wind chimes or building a campfire 12 feet from your neighbor’s window.

If you are the kinda person who loves to “share the light,” please do me a kindness and leave a comment to let me know why you do it. Is it to deter crime, or maybe critters? Or is it just fun? Do you ever wonder if your neighbors may not appreciate you lighting up their campsite without asking them?


Chuck Woodbury
Chuck Woodbury
I'm the founder and publisher of I've been a writer and publisher for most of my adult life, and spent a total of at least a half-dozen years of that time traveling the USA and Canada in a motorhome.



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Lighty (@guest_151518)
2 years ago

Lights are part of camping. Nostalgic patio Lights are part of my childhood camping memories (owls). Children love to walk (and myself lol) and see decorated campsites. You may be too full-time to enjoy camping anymore or you should enjoy the local state park of which some don’t allow light pollution for astronomy viewing purposes. PS there is a great one in PA if you look😘

Lauire (@guest_111290)
2 years ago

I don’t use a lot of lighting but I don’t mind it either. As an avid RV traveler, I cannot even begin to list all the annoying things that go on with our neighbors in RV parks across the country. Being tolerant is a must if you’re going to park in a campground. It would have to be over the top for me to complain because everyone is just trying to have fun. Get some shades.

Gordy (@guest_101255)
3 years ago

An observation, people who do not like the lights tend to say “it’s all about you” to those who have lights. Couldn’t that be reversed and be applied to those who want it dark? Seems that the phrase applies to both sides…… just saying. By the way, I am 75, hard of hearing, and can fall asleep anywhere anytime light or dark. I have slept in parking lots at truck stops and not been woke up……just saying. HAPPY TRAILS TO ALL.

Bonnie (@guest_101164)
3 years ago

The only time our outside lights are on is when we are outside before quiet hours to enjoy them. If the dog needs to go out after dark we’ll turn the door light on so that we can see to get up and down the stairs then it’s off again

David Clark (@guest_72247)
3 years ago

Yes we have lights around our 5th wheel. Lights on the ground are supposed to deter critters. To be patriotic ours are red, white and blue. We also fly our American flag 24/7 and we have white lights shining on it all night long and a light on top that flashes red, white and blue. It’s all in the picture of being lovers of our great land.

Bob Stellmaker (@guest_101193)
3 years ago
Reply to  David Clark

It is also being an inconsiderate neighbor.

Buck (@guest_101909)
3 years ago
Reply to  David Clark

In other words, you’re an inconsiderate xxxxxxx.

James LaGasse (@guest_68644)
3 years ago

Outside lights should be turned off by 10:00pm and when it comes to color changing lights or flashing lights those are just annoying and very distracting. I would rather a light be left on all night than a flashing or color changing light be used at all. It may be attractive to some but it can cause headaches and or dizziness in many people. When you have had a long day on the road and just want to relax outside bright lights or flashing lights make that difficult especially in open or crowded campgrounds. I think it’s just a matter of respecting your neighbors. Like many I don’t have good night vision so I turn on an outside light when needed or use a flashlight but in many cases the neighbors lights are all I need.

Travis (@guest_68620)
3 years ago

I do not mind the lights if they turn them out by 10-11pm. I had one guy that would leave the blue LEDS on the front of his fifth wheel on all night. I was camped perpendicular to the front of his rig. My RV which is hybrid lit up inside like I was camping in a strip club parking lot. I did kindly ask him to turn them off the next night and he did. Unless its Halloween weekend or Christmas in July weekend turn them off at bedtime.

Nels (@guest_68616)
3 years ago

I like the idea of lights on the ground around my RV, but lights out at 10:30 PM, which is about a half hour before quiet time in most parks.

Rusty (@guest_67372)
3 years ago

Will admit the light up the night types seem unconcerned if your annoyed by their all night lights. 10 PM seems a reasonable turn out the lights the night is waiting. I believe a camp fire is in order which it seems is also an annoyance.

Wayne (@guest_66867)
3 years ago

Excessive lights are annoying, but since we are all “enjoying” the life, learn to tolerate. Perhaps the great whiteway should be turned down to 50% at 9. For those who need total darkness, perhaps lowering your shades is the solution. Don’t be so sensitive, ask your neighbors to turn down the lights, via the camp host.

Sharan Harrison (@guest_66729)
3 years ago

I’m with you – leaving bright lights on all night (especially blinking ones) is sooo inconsiderate of one’s neighbors. It displays a sense of entitlement – of “it’s all about ME” – an attitude prevalent in today’s society. Usually the RV Park has enough security lights for Fort Knox anyway.

Pamela Watson (@guest_66693)
3 years ago

I don’t like a lot of light at night, but the comment you made about someone putting a flashlight on their flag and you saying that there aren’t low flying planes around is wrong. Flags are to be lit at night or taken off the pole, folded and put away until the next day. That is probably why they had the flashlight on it. It would have been just as easy for them to take the flag in, but they do have the right to fly our flag in the correct manner. Just sayin’.

RV Staff
3 years ago
Reply to  Pamela Watson

Thanks for your comments, Pamela. However, Chuck said they put a “flashing” light on their flag pole, not a flashlight. Not quite the same. 😉 —Diane at

Roger (@guest_68615)
3 years ago
Reply to  RV Staff

Military retiree here. This is a special interest item for me. We’ve been camping in all kinds of parks for 5 years now and have seen lots of lit flags at night – for proper display as Pamela mentioned. Not once have I seen a “flashing light” on a flag. It is far more likely that that Chuck’s autocorrect changed “flashlight” to “flashing light”.

RV Staff
3 years ago
Reply to  Roger

Thank you for your service, Roger, and for your comment. I know flags are supposed to be lit at night (I remember learning that when I was a Girl Scout for 10 years). I can’t imagine that Chuck would object to a flashlight shining on a flag at night — that probably wouldn’t affect any neighbors. So he might have seen a flashing light on one at some point. But I don’t know. It certainly could have been his autocorrect — it’s interesting to see some of the changes spellchecker suggests. Have a great day. 😀 —Diane at

Mel (@guest_66405)
3 years ago

I really don’t see the issue. If you have night shades, how do outside lights get in? Besides I sleep with my eyes closed so no light gets in there either.
We do have Boogey lights under our RV and awning LED’s but they go off at 9 when we head to bed.
I enjoy seeing others lights at night when I walk the dogs.

Riley (@guest_66436)
3 years ago
Reply to  Mel

I frequently see this comment when this issue is discussed. If you want to enjoy the breeze through an open window, the shades prevent that. If you enjoy reading in bed before closing your eyes to sleep, while enjoying a breeze through an open window, excessive outside light is a problem. We try to run our AC as little as possible, and since we mostly camp when the weather isn’t too hot, there are many nights when an open window is very important.

If you enjoy a nice walk at night to enjoy the stars, garish light displays make that almost impossible.

I appreciate your thoughtfulness in turning yours off at 9 PM, but many leave theirs on all night, some because they forget, many because of a lack of sensitivity. I am generally a live and let live kind of a guy, but I really get steamed when people disregard others for no discernible benefit of their own, ie leaving lights on all night while they are inside, asleep or watching TV with the AC on and their shades down.

Jim (@guest_66305)
3 years ago

I do like awning lights. That is my choice. What you choose is up to you. People enjoy there rv and want to keep a light on. If total darkness is what you choose then you should camp further into the woods. People have become so touchy about everything these days.

Don Baker (@guest_66303)
3 years ago

I also do not like all the lights but have resorted in using the brightest ones I could find in a few parks due to raccoons getting into the engine compartment of our Class “A”. I had over $300 in damage done when they tried to make a nest and that did not count all the sleepless nights from their scratching and noise or the nasty fact that they crapped while in there. This has happened in several parks in different areas one park was very helpful and trapped the raccoon the next night and hauled it to a different area. Another park would not do anything and I resorted to several different deterrents and several sleepless nights before finally leaving the area.

Rita M. Black (@guest_66287)
3 years ago

I don’t like to leave my porch or awning lights on overnight or have any reason to do it, usually. But, there are times I will forget to shut them off. I feel embarrassed in the morning, but don’t mention it in the morning unless someone mentions it.

Nanci (@guest_66262)
3 years ago

We keep a string of LED rope lights tucked tightly under the motorhome that are timed to go on at dusk and off at dawn. Didn’t have under the car and got a pack rat or two.Guess we will keep them on. Oh, guess the other eight Motorhomes lined up with the rope lights will keep theirs on too. It is illegal to set traps for the pack rats in this desert southwest regional park so at least the lights seem to discourage them. And yes, I do have a string of dragonfly solar lights in our canopy tent.

Paul Goldberg (@guest_66252)
3 years ago

Adding to the noise 🙂 When we are in our winter home base we have fairly extensive lighting. Most of it is ground level illumination from solar powered garden lights. Under our permanent hard awning we have a string of lamps that are dimmed to 50% or less to provide visibility of anyone approaching our place. Another solar lamp lights up the sign with our site # – required in the park to aid first responders. Finally a motion detector solar lamp, away from our coach, to illuminate everything when someone comes on to the site after dark. This provides safety for us when moving around and will at least send an intruder to someplace less well lit. We have had problems with squatters in our area and sometimes they find a way past our gates and fences. When we are on the road either boondocking or in campgrounds we minimize lighting and turn it off once we are settled in for the night.

PJ Nyvall (@guest_66244)
3 years ago

How about a 100 watt bulb in a white 5 gallon pail, if you want to really light up the park!
I could see this guys pail from six block away, and boy could they party late into the night!

Brenda (@guest_66226)
3 years ago

At least lights don’t make noise. The curfew time should mean lights out, noise off. Go outside, use a flashlight. Can’t find your RV, use reflective materials on your “welcome” sign at the post.

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