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How to File a Noise Complaint When Camping

You may be camping in the west, but it’s no longer the wild west. There’s a right and wrong way to file a noise complaint when you’re camping next to a noisy neighbor.

A situation can escalate out of control very quickly if you don’t handle it correctly.

Today, we’ll help you navigate this tricky situation so you can get back to being a happy camper.

Let’s get started!

What Is Typical Campground Etiquette Regarding Noise?

There are often written and unwritten rules when it comes to camping. During peak seasons, people flock to campgrounds for a chance to live a little bit differently for a few days. They typically want to hear the wind blowing, birds chirping, and the sounds of silence in the middle of the night.

However, this isn’t always the case, as some campers either lack etiquette or simply don’t care.

When it comes to noise etiquette while camping, this typically means you’re aware of those around you. When you’re aware of your fellow campers, you’re not going to blast music during the day, and you’re going to keep your fireside chats at a reasonable level.

Many campers will be a little more forgiving during the daytime hours, but some will have much less patience once it’s quiet hours.

Typical campground quiet hours are from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. While everybody’s perception of quiet may differ, this typically means turning off outdoor music, limiting conversations to a whisper, and turning off any bright exterior lighting.

While you may find these rules annoying, they’re in place to help ensure everyone has an enjoyable camping experience.

RV campsite set up
Noisy neighbors are never a pleasant experience when camping!

How to Deal With Noisy Neighbors (Before You Complain)

There are a few things you can do to deal with noisy neighbors, especially before you complain. The way you handle the situation can de-escalate things and avoid a formal complaint to the campground. Let’s take a look!

Pro Tip: Nobody can be perfect all the time! Do you need to repent from any of these 7 Deadly Sins of RV Camping.

Avoid Them in the First Place

One of the best ways to avoid a noisy situation is to avoid noisy people from the start. Whether this means boondocking or only booking sites with large amounts of room, the more space you have, the less you’ll have to worry about neighbors.

If you enjoy camping in private or state parks, keeping your distance can be rather challenging.

If a campground is empty, you may request to move to a more convenient site. This is most helpful if you haven’t set up camp, but some unique noise situations may warrant packing up and changing sites.

The extra comfort may be worth the hassle of packing up to move.

Woman shushing man.
Before you make a noise complaint, there are a few steps you can try with your noisy neighbors.

Introduce Yourself

Some campers will introduce themselves at the start of the trip. This helps make a connection and break the ice with your new temporary neighbors. You likely both have something in common and, if not, then you likely both desire a great camping experience.

Having a good connection with your neighbor can help avoid your first or only interactions with them being negative. 

People tend to be a bit more understanding and aware of their neighbors when they have a connection with them.

So while it may not prevent a situation from occurring, it can promote a much smoother resolution. 

Remind Them of the Rules

Time flies when you’re having a good time. Give people the benefit of the doubt and assume that they’re having such a good time with their fellow campers that they’ve lost track of time.

If you decide to approach noisy neighbors, a simple reminder of the time and the rules may be all that’s necessary. There’s a good chance that most campers will accommodate your request and quiet down.

Start with being polite from the start by being gentle when reminding them of the rules. You don’t want to come across as rough or angry as this can escalate the situation, especially if your neighbors have been consuming alcohol as part of their fireside fun.

If the situation does escalate, you should immediately call the campground staff or even local law enforcement, if necessary.

Multiple cars set up at campsite.
When in doubt reach out to a campground host for help.

Who Do You Complain to When the Noise Won’t Stop?

If your noisy neighbors refuse to quit, there’s typically a certain progression to follow. You’ll likely want to reach out to a campground host or an after-hours number provided by the campground.

They probably have previously experienced these types of situations and have the authority to resolve the matter.

However, if you’re not getting any assistance from the campground or the situation escalates, you may need to call local law enforcement. You don’t want to put you or other campers in danger by trying to stabilize an unstable situation. 

Don’t forget that you can always leave if a situation becomes too uncomfortable or unstable. It’s better to remove yourself from a situation, even in the middle of the night than remain in an unsafe situation. 

Pro Tip: Make sure you’re not the annoying neighbor by avoiding having these 7 Traits of Bad RVers Who Think They’re Good RVers.

What Are The Repercussions of Breaking Noise Rules at a Campground?

Any time you break the rules at a campground, there can be repercussions. Your first offense will likely result in a warning and a reminder, but the campground could force you to leave if things don’t calm down.

A premature ending is not the way you want to end your camping adventures. So make sure you follow not only the noise rules but other campground rules as well.

Be a Good Example

If you spend time in campgrounds, there’s a good chance that you’ll eventually have a noisy neighbor. How you handle yourself during these moments can minimize a negative response from your neighbors and be an excellent example for younger campers.

Have you ever had a bad experience as a result of noisy neighbors while camping? Tell us about it in the comments below!

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