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How to Deal with Bad Camping Neighbors (3 Examples)

| Updated Apr 8, 2024

Sometimes bad camping neighbors put a wrench in your whole vacation. But there are some things you can do to improve the situation…

It’s happened to all of us. You get all settled into a campsite only to realize your camping neighbor is less than ideal. Or just downright terrible. 

Your first thought is they’re going to ruin your enjoyment and spoil your fun. Their music is too loud. Their campsite is too messy. Their dog is barking nonstop when it's not pooping on your campsite.

Do you just have to suck it up and take it? Well, there is a chance that yes, you might have to put up with some of it. However! There are some things you can do to improve the situation.

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How to Deal with Bad Camping Neighbors

Have you ever read the self-help classic How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie? If so, its lessons can really come in handy when dealing with bad camping neighbors. 

If you haven’t read it, I’ll give you the moral of the story really quickly. Basically, if you make people feel important or show that you care about them, they’re much more likely to listen to you and even help you out. 

It’s essentially the “you catch more flies with honey than vinegar” strategy. 

I will save you from reading the whole book and trying to figure out how to apply it to camping. I will give you a few examples of how to positively influence these bad camping neighbors in the most common situations. 

various RVs in a campground - Bad Camping Neighbors?
Camping neighbors.

The Right Mindset

Before I jump into the examples, I first want to put you in the right mindset. I am a firm believer that most people are good. And a lot of people are more ignorant than bad-intentioned. 

It’s best in these situations to give the person the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they’re new to camping and don't know camping etiquette. Maybe they don’t realize what time it is. Maybe they’re having a bad day. 

If you go into it with a nice mindset, they’ll want to do as you ask rather than feel like they have to. That “want” vs. “have to” will make all the difference.

Example #1: Noisy Camping Neighbors

Perhaps the most common complaint in a campground is noisy neighbors. Either they’re watching a movie outside, listening to music, or just talking really loud too late at night. 

If it’s before quiet hours, try to be patient. Try to let them have their fun, and enjoy the fact that they’re having a good time. This may be the first vacation they’ve had in a long time and they just need to let loose for a bit. If it continues for too long, though, consider the following steps.

If it’s after quiet hours, I suggest a progressive approach.

The first thing I recommend is flashing your porch light or your interior lights that they can see through a window a few times. Most people will get the hint and quiet down.

If that doesn’t work, it’s time to nicely ask them to quiet down. The trick to this is to acknowledge how this might make them feel and then give a reason why it’s important to you.

For instance: “Hey all, I know you’re having a good time and I don’t want to spoil your fun, but we’re getting up early to go hiking in the morning. We’ve been looking forward to this hike for a long time and want to be well-rested. Would you mind bringing the noise down?”

This strategy can help you deal with a lot of problems, from noise complaints to overly bright lights to people’s stuff encroaching on your campsite. 

That should do the trick the majority of the time. But, alas, there are always the remaining few that are either too inebriated or too inconsiderate to listen.

That takes you to the third step: telling on them. Call the campground manager and tell them of the noise. They have protocols for this. 

music while camping - Bad Camping Neighbors?
Our Gathering in Natchez was very quiet and respectful.

Example #2: Inattentive Parents & Pet Owners

The second most common complaint is probably people who don’t supervise their kids or don’t properly care for their dogs. 

Kids are maybe running through your campsite, disrespecting your things, and so on. Dogs are maybe chained up inappropriately (for too long, don’t have shade or water, etc.) or not on a leash at all. Or, in a lot of cases, the dog owner isn't cleaning up after their dog. 

When it comes to kids, you might be able to address the kids directly. In most cases, the kids just don’t know any better. Nicely tell them to not run through your campsite or touch your things. Most of them will nod at you, all big-eyed and nervous, and steer clear from then on.

If the kids don’t listen, you could go to the parents and use a similar strategy as mentioned in example #1. Something like, “It’s really nice seeing kids having a good time out here in nature but could you please ask them to not run through my campsite? They’re just having fun, but it keeps making my dog bark.”

In a lot of these cases, though, it may be best to let the camp manager handle it. Like, for instance, the kids are purposely being disrespectful. There’s really no easy way to tell someone to correct some of this behavior without them hearing “you’re a bad parent” or “you’re a bad dog owner.” 

That’s why it’s sometimes better to come from someone with authority in these cases. At least they can refer to camp regulations rather than a neighbor telling them they don’t like what they’re doing.

Bo the RV Elkhound
Bo loves apples! And is well-behaved.

Example #3: They’re Downright Terrible

Alright, what do you do if your camping neighbors are downright terrible and you’ve done everything reasonably possible to improve the situation? You’ve politely talked to them and you alerted the manager, and they just refuse to be considerate of others.

Then, it’s time for a battle royale! NO, I’M JUST KIDDING! Sure, you’ll probably be fighting mad at this point but that is the surest way to completely spoil your trip. Even if you get them to acquiesce, there’s still going to be a lot of tension between you.

It's not worth it! 

Sometimes, it really is best to turn the key and drive on. Not because it’s the right thing to do (the right thing is for them to behave or leave!). But it is the thing that’s most in your control. 

At this point, meet with your campground manager and see if there are any campsites available far from those bad camping neighbors. If not, ask the campground manager to make arrangements for you at another campground. 

If you were calm and polite with the campground managers all along, they will likely help in any way they can. Even if that way is helping you move elsewhere.

As soon as you drive away, do some breathing exercises and some mental resetting so you can enjoy the rest of your trip.

photo about choosing a campground = bad camping neighbors?
Move to another campground?

Have You Encountered Bad Camping Neighbors?

How have you dealt with bad camping neighbors? Were your tactics successful or did you learn how to handle it better next time? Please share your experiences and advice in the comments below.

Or just want to read more about this topic? Here are a few more posts for you to explore:

New ebook from Mike and Jennifer Wendland – the Natchez Trace

How to Deal with Bad Camping Neighbors (3 Examples) 1

The Natchez Trace Parkway will capture your imagination, soothe your jangled travel nerves, open your mind and inspire you with the history that unfolded along its 444 miles.

Each of the 7 Days of the ebook has:

  • Suggested Mileposts to explore
  • Places to Eat in each area of the 7 sections
  • Campground descriptions and links
  • Links to all the special places and information
  • Links to videos that show more in detail
  • and a lot of highlighted information for each section

PLEASE NOTE: This is NOT a printed, hard copy guide.

Whether you want to follow the footsteps of explorers, discover natural beauty, or visit historic sites, the Trace has something to grab your attention and leave you eager to see what’s at the next milepost.

You can see why this is one of our favorite US routes to explore. We’ve traveled it a half dozen times!

Mike Wendland

Published on 2024-04-08

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

12 Responses to “How to Deal with Bad Camping Neighbors (3 Examples)”

April 09, 2024at10:18 am, Camper for life said:

We were at a state park with a maximum of 8 campers per site. The site 2 away had a party with over 100 people. Loud and drunk. Sheriff arrived at 10 pm and the partiers left. At 11 they returned with even more. Returning Sheriff started arresting them creating lots of screaming and fighting. We would have packed up and left but could not have driven out with all the extra cars blocking the road🥵😡


April 09, 2024at12:33 pm, Team RV Lifestyle said:

That must have been awful! Can’t image that many people squeezing into a campsite being loud and drunk. Sorry you had to experience that – Team RV Lifestyle


April 21, 2022at10:02 am, Eileen Brown said:

I carry a pair of “Sleep Phones”…very flat headphones sewn into a comfy headband. Important to me because I am a side sleeper and normal headphones are hard and uncomfortable to lie on. They connect via Bluetooth to my phone’s white noise app. Wouldn’t use it if I were a solo rver, because when they are on, every siren/alarm could go off and I wouldn’t hear them! But this works for us…dh can sleep thru any cg noise, and I have my white noise.


April 22, 2022at11:34 am, Team RV Lifestyle said:

Hi Eileen – Thanks for sharing this idea! White noise can certainly help a lot when dealing with noisy neighbors at a campground. Team RV Lifestyle


November 20, 2022at9:29 am, Lynda Tenbusch said:

Could you share the link or brand name for which ones you like. I’ve been looking for something to drown out the noise. Thanks.


April 15, 2022at2:11 pm, Pam Shook said:

Have done this a few times when had a really fit guy in the group. I went and made nice with the noise group and then asked them to turn it down. After their negative response, I pointed out our group who had been told to look firm and upset, that one of then was off duty and it would ruin his time off to have to deal with them. Worked every time.


April 15, 2022at2:03 pm, Pam Shook said:

Once a at small campground with a small lake, a group across was playing their music so loud around supper time, we on this side of the lake we getting quit upset especially after the management said they could not do any thing. We had a truck with a loud semi horn add on, so I started hocking it in a mad fit then changed it to pattern and then let the 4 kids 6 to 14 take turns plus got the 4 neighbors to start honking. Plus being on the edge of the lake, if you were not honking all the others were dancing and waving at them. They turned it down after a minute and then turned back on so we kept it up for about 5 minutes until they had it down for about 2. When we stopped took a bow and waved again. And they never turned it up again. Oh the management did come to complain to us afterwards that it disturbed them since they were only 40 yards where the others were about 150. As the ring leader I told them that should have taken care of it themselves. PS We did have someone up all night just in case. The noisy group left the next morning. Guess they did not like our music. Have heard of other who played loud county or such music to off set the hard rock music and that has worked also.


April 18, 2022at11:26 am, Team RV Lifestyle said:

Loud music really can spoil it for everyone. Thanks for sharing your problem and solution! Team RV Lifestyle


April 15, 2022at12:21 pm, K Carbone said:

I was a month into a 2 month camping stay at a campground in Madison WI. As I was sitting at my picnic table with my three little dogs in their expen quietly playing next to me, a motor home pulled into the next site. Of course my girls started barking. I got up to move them inside my Motorhome to quiet them and a woman literally SHRIEKS through the screen window at me to quiet the dogs and saying she wasn’t going to put up with the barking. Now I work hard to be a good, responsible dog mom but nobody gets to treat me like this. I stopped in my tracks & said, calmly, “Say please.” to underscore her rudeness to her. She reluctantly said “Please” and I put the dogs away inside & they calmed down. I sat back down at my picnic table and said to her husband, “I feel sorry for you having to put up with that.” 🙂 He was not happy with that comment, but I made my point that civility works both ways. I did call the office & left a message explaining the scenario to pre-empt them lodging a complaint against my dogs & was careful to keep the girls quiet for the rest of their (thankfully) overnight only stay.


April 18, 2022at11:24 am, Team RV Lifestyle said:

Sorry that happened to you. Civility definitely goes both ways. Team RV Lifestyle


April 15, 2022at12:01 pm, Sharon Whitmon said:

Open the windows and bake some cookies. When you offer your neighbor warm chocolate chip cookies, it will be hard for them to be bad neighbors!! It’s worked for me several times!!


April 18, 2022at11:22 am, Team RV Lifestyle said:

Great idea! Who can resist a warm chocolate chip cookie? 🙂 Team RV Lifestyle


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