The rude couple in the campsite next door



    By Chuck Woodbury

    My motorhome to the left, my neighbor’s to the right.

    Sometimes you run into the perfect storm. I am not talking about running into one on the ocean, but in an RV park. It happened to me in Kingman, Arizona.

    Gail and I had stopped for two nights. We chose the KOA because it was the only decent place to stay with hookups that had room for us. Maybe we should have just stayed at the local Wal-Mart, where I saw a couple of dozen RVers holed up. They didn’t pay a penny to stay.

    Typical with KOA, the sites were packed close together, which contributed to the perfect storm. Here’s why:

    The local Wal-Mart offered more space between RVs than my site at the KOA, and for free. No wonder so many RVers stay there.

    First, our next door neighbors had created a nice campsite — awning with a screen to transform the area into very pleasant enclosed porch. They had laid out carpet and set up folding chairs facing the outdoor TV.

    They started watching the TV at about 10 a.m., and continued most of the day and evening. Even when they went inside for hours at a time, the TV remained on. Shortly after we arrived, I asked the man to turn down the volume. He seemed surprised, but obliged. But I could still easily hear it from inside my RV.

    The man smoked cigars off and on all day. This, of course, made my motorhome smell like a cigar.

    These light were on all day and night. 

    THE COUPLE HAD LIT UP THEIR SITE with a string of green lights on the ground completely around their RV. They never turned them off, even when they were asleep. The lights were bright. Gail and I had to close our windows at night or pretended we were in a sleazy motel.

    Now, the couple had every right to watch their outdoor TV and to illuminate their campsite with bright lights. And he had every right to smoke his cigars. But to do so in a campground without regard to close-by neighbors, well, that’s just plain rude.

    This sort of experience is not uncommon. It’s a big reason many RVers turn to boondocking, away from the crowds, where light is from the stars and the smell is sagebrush or pine.

    Leave a Comment

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    newest oldest most voted
    Notify of

    Thanks to most here for reminding me why I haven’t had my TT out for over 10 years.


    We have been to a state park where my neighbor had a 24 hr 7 day a week campfire burning or rather smoldering the whole time.
    I have trouble breathing. After the first night which I didn’t sleep very much I asked him if he wouldn’t burn it when it got real late.
    It smoldered all night, the trees made the air still and we were packed in like fish in a can.
    The next day I mentioned it to the pack Ranger, he said go talk to the camp host I’m sure he can help. Guess who was the CAMP HOST !


    The rope lights were probably there as a common way to keep very destructive pack rats away from the rig.

    BJ Lewis

    Oregon state parks have a 10pm quiet time. Rangers go around reminding people to turn their radios off. (Except one fellow then thought it was time to bring out his guitar). In Sedona, the RV park requires all lights off at 10pm. No porch lights, nothing. People grumble. The TOWN of Sedona has an ordinance against light pollution affecting their night sky. Personally, I don’t want your light in my window, I don’t want to listen to your music, and I sure don’t want to breathe your 2nd hand smoke. I’m with Chuck.

    J French

    We camp almost exclusively in the South.
    This means we welcome meeting new people & generally hold barbecue / football / fish fry & shrimp or crawfish parties. Neighboring campers are invited & we enjoy the social atmosphere.
    Campfires are normal, often someone has a TV playing & others listen to music. We are all not easily annoyed unless it is a car horn blaring at 2am.
    We also do not make a big thing out of 2nd hand smoke & no one I have been around acts like a smoke nazi, if they have a problem they can move 10 feet away.
    BTW – I am not a smoker.

    Diane M

    We’ve been RV’ing for over 20 years. Over 250,000 miles traveled, with 3 RV’s. Yes, rudeness at RV parks has increased, just like in general society. However, we haven’t had too many issues. I would place some of the blame on the RV parks. If they are going to publish quiet times (& turn off bright lights times) they should enforce. Whatever time, a park employee needs to go around at that time & make note of the violators & leave notes or visit the next day. Maybe if they even posted a sign or mentioned at check-in that someone checks that would eliminate some of it. We also have a TV (not from factory) in a lower bin. We are avid race/golf fans & record races, golf to watch at our choosing. If we are just hanging out & it’s a nice day will watch outside. However, we are very conscious of the volume level. Place are chairs close & keep volume down. We’ve also done lights….in the Keys, which seems to be a requirement :-). Never had a problem with others leaving on all night. Ours are on a timer so we don’t ever leave them on. When I think about it we had way more positive experiences that negative. Just that the negative is so annoying & disruptive.

    Carla Jean

    Maybe someone (not me) should come up with a list of general RV etiquette that we all hope would be followed by RVrs. I know it’s very subjective, but one could print it out and have available when needed to gently provide to the offender on their windshield. It’s all in education. Some people are not raised with any general etiquette, whatsoever, and maybe this would be a start in educating these rude campers. To us, it’s common sense, but to a few others……


    This type of behavior, of not giving a hoot about your neighbors, closely follows the general pattern of society behavior today.
    Nothing new on this earth..
    We try and set a good example for others, but some folks don’t see it or care.


    The very reason we don’t stay in RV parks unless we absolutely have no other choice. As full timers, our solar is very inexpensive compared to the annoyance and expense of RV parks.

    Bob Burton

    This why we like boondocking . If we get a neighbor hopefully they will be at least 150′ away. we have gone to the expense of installing solar panels which gives us the opportunity of boondocking. Plus we have found that the expense of staying in RV parks is one of our biggest expenses.

    David Scheeler

    As you have noted in many of your recent articles, there is an enormous influx of newbies into the world of RVing. Many of whom like to pack the “city” with them when they go camping. Bothersome to me when they play music or TV’s excessively loud. I personally like to have music on but I make sure that it can’t be heard beyond the boundaries of my site. I don’t mind a minimal amount of lighting around a campsite but find it most annoying when people decide to light up their campsite especially when they find the need to keep their security/scare lights on from dusk to dawn. I enjoy the peacefulness of sitting outdoors on a moonlit evening.


    I found this article interesting as to one’s definition of rude. We are full timers and have run into situations that we define as rude but it usually included kids or dogs. Lights would never bother me or cross my mind that mine would bother you. We have room darkening shades that are needed because many parks have very bright lights on posts. As far as smoke…. cigar or camp fires…. all the same to me. Actually I think the campfire annoys me more. Lastly, the tv outside. Did so many people request that feature that the RV industry decided to add one to all of their RV’s? I scratch my head….. but to noise, tv’s, radios, kids,and dogs, I tolerate them until quiet time. But if it drags past 10PM I leave the next day very grumpy and scratch that park off my list.


    So Diane; at night, you entered another’s campsite, uninvited, to place a note on their windshield? Not a very wise idea! Your NOISY NEIGHBORS could detect your intrusion, and view it as a danger and/or threat, The outcome could be disastrous. I sure wouldn’t want ANYONE entering my campsite, especially at night, unless they were invited.


    Hi Chuck,
    National Park Campgrounds in Queensland, Australia have just banned smoking in and around campsites, BBQs and Eating Areas. This helps those especially who do not want their children or even themselves exposed to passive smoking. We look forward to other states in Australia following this ruling. Thanks for the great newsletters.

    Diane Martin

    When I am annoyed by a neighboring camper’s loud TV, radio, etc. – which seems to happen with more frequency lately – I leave a note under their windshield after they have gone to bed at night, saying that I will start allowing my teenagers to play their rap and hip-hop music loudly the next day if the noise isn’t stopped. Actually, I don’t have teenagers, but since they don’t know who left the note, they think it could be anybody nearby. I have done this three times so far, and it has worked perfectly each time.