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7 Red Flags of a Bad Camping Neighbor

| Updated Sep 2, 2023

Before you set up camp, you might want to check for these red flags of a bad camping neighbor…

You can pick out the best campsite in the best campground and plan to have the best vacation ever. Only to end up next to bad camping neighbors. 

It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen, especially since the surge of newbies that joined the RV community in recent years. Many of them dove into the lifestyle without learning about proper camping etiquette. 

We believe you should never judge a book by its cover, but a book cover does contain information about what to expect from within its pages. So, while you should never dismiss a camper immediately based on appearances, it doesn’t hurt to look closer for the following red flags…

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Are YOU a Good Camping Neighbor?

We believe that many campers (especially newbies) are bad camping neighbors out of ignorance, not spite. They simply don't know proper camping etiquette.

When it comes to camping, there is a set of rules that are posted and enforced by the park or campground. However, there is also a set of unwritten rules that good camping neighbors follow to ensure everyone has a positive experience. 

Breaking these rules can make you “THAT” camper no one wants to camp next to. If you're new to camping, we recommend reading the 15 unwritten rules of a good camping neighbor…

7 Signs of a Bad Camping Neighbor

Campground Etiquette for Campers (DON'T be THIS Camper!)

Don’t worry! After this list, we will discuss how to deal with a bad camping neighbor. Your campground may be full or you may be unwilling to change campsites, so we'll provide some tips on how to remedy the situation.

We’ll explain how to do that, but first, here are the red flags to watch out for.

1. You Hear Them Before You See Them

One major red flag of a bad camping neighbor is when you can hear them before you see them. We're not talking about pleasant sounds of laughter or the crackle of a campfire, but constant noise that disrupts the peace and tranquility of the campground.

It's not a good sign if you pull up to your campsite and hear loud music, rowdy conversations, or even arguments.

However, give them a few minutes to adjust once they see you. They may tone things down when they realize they have a camp neighbor to consider. If they do, you should be fine. If they don't… well, we'll talk about that at the end.

2. Their Campsite Isn’t Clean

Another obvious sign of a bad camping neighbor is a messy campsite that looks like a tornado just passed through. We all know that camping involves getting a little dirty and embracing nature, but that doesn't mean you should leave your campsite in shambles.

If you come across a campsite with trash strewn about, gear left out, or a general lack of organization, it's a clear indication that your neighbors don't value cleanliness or respect for the campground.

While you may be able to ignore the mess, you're not going to be able to ignore the wildlife and bugs their dirty campsite will attract.

3. Their Campsite Looks Like a Frat House

7 Red Flags of a Bad Camping Neighbor 1

Beer pong, anyone? While camping can be a fun and social experience, it shouldn't revolve solely around excessive drinking and partying.

If your neighbor's campsite resembles a frat house decorated with beer cans, they likely prioritize partying and their own fun over respecting others' enjoyment.

Sure, there's nothing wrong with enjoying a couple drinks while camping. But when it's the sole focus and leads to excessive noise and disruptive behavior, it can quickly ruin the camping experience for everyone nearby.

(By the way, some campgrounds cater to partiers. So, be sure to avoid or book those places based on your preferences.)

4. They Excuse Their Kids’ Bad Behavior

signs of RV neighbors when camping

Watch out for neighbors who constantly excuse their kids' bad behavior, such as running through other campsites or making excessive noise. While kids will be kids, it's the parent's responsibility to teach them proper camping etiquette.

If your neighbors consistently brush off their children's misbehavior without taking any corrective action, it can lead to frustration.

When you first pull up to your campsite, pay attention to how the parents of nearby kids react. Are they watching their kids? Are they instructing them to stay back and stay safe? Or are they oblivious to where and what their kids are doing?

5. Lots of Electronics Outside

13 Best Road Trip Movies for RVers and Camping

If your neighbors' campsite resembles a tech store with multiple electronic devices scattered around, it's a definite red flag. An excessive amount of screens, gaming consoles, or speakers indicates a lack of appreciation for the peaceful outdoor experience.

Some bad campers expect you to listen to what they listen to and watch what they watch on their outdoor TV. If they all have headphones, no problem! If they have a respectful outdoor theater setup, no problem!

But if they don't care about their noise and light pollution, you're gonna have a hard time being their neighbor.

6. Not Staying in Their “Lane”

Growing up, whenever a driver ventured over the line into our lane, my dad would say, “He’s taking his half of the middle.” It was a polite way of saying the driver was encroaching on our space.

Unfortunately, bad camping neighbors do the same thing. They take their “half of the middle” by allowing their stuff, hoses, awnings, or slide-outs to encroach on your site.

Sure, you want to maximize your camping area, but not at the expense of your neighbor. So, watch out for this red flag.

7. Don’t Take Pride in Their RV or Vehicles

It's a red flag if your neighbors' RV or vehicles are in disrepair or unkempt. Neglecting the appearance and maintenance of their RV suggests a lack of responsibility and care, which may extend to their behavior as camping neighbors.

A well-kept RV demonstrates pride in one's belongings which typically means they'll respect your belongings as well.

Just be sure that you don't mistake “old” for “uncared for.” An old RV may not be the most attractive but it can actually be a good sign if it has been well-maintained for many years.

How to Deal with Bad Camping Neighbors

If you see these red flags, 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 chained 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.

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. 

Keep reading… to see ALL the strategies for dealing with bad neighbors. We have an entire post on how to deal with many different situations, from loud campers to kids who run through your site, barking dogs, and more! Continue right here.

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7 Red Flags of a Bad Camping Neighbor 2

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Mike Wendland

Published on 2023-08-31

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.

5 Responses to “7 Red Flags of a Bad Camping Neighbor”

September 15, 2023at7:43 pm, Adrian Perez said:

If you want to control a shared space where people go to have fun and ENJOY nature and themselves… buy your own property. People go camping to escape the uptight hustle and bustle. This is one of the most ridiculous articles I’ve ever read. It’s about community, not putting up a wall to seclude and judge others. Especially children! Let them play, scrap a knee, cry a bit, climb a tree. Anything to stay off the streets. Unfortunately we live in a world where old people travel in their huge rvs and expect to have it to themselves and run their own rules. There’s no more community in camping anymore, just fenced in rvs with people who don’t even step outside. That being said, we all know when enough is enough when someone’s being too loud too late. Besides that, pull your wedgie out you cromudgin.


September 01, 2023at11:09 am, John Scotus said:

The issues ruining camping are generators and LED lights. WE’ve been trapped in sites between dueling geneators that run all day while the “campers” sit inside watching TV with the AC on. Then at night they leave thier supper bright light over their door on all night. So they ruin the day and night for all around them. Then when confronted they get all “its my right” about it. The park rangers say “there is nothing we can do, write your congressman”


September 02, 2023at9:05 am, Team RV Lifestyle said:

That can definitely be frustrating – we feel your pain, John – Team RV Lifestyle


August 31, 2023at8:31 am, Stella Otto said:

Ooopsie… someone missed a critical typo in point #1 – “It’s now a good sign if you pull up to your campsite and hear loud music, rowdy conversations, or even arguments.” NOT!


September 02, 2023at9:01 am, Team RV Lifestyle said:

Opps!! Thanks, Stella! We will fix that! Team RV Lifesytle


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