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Old 09-13-2013, 09:33 AM   #1
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Delicate but serious Newbie question

First post. No AS yet, but wife and I are closing in on retirement and are considering getting a trailer for mostly weekend adventures. By way of explaining my questions, my wife is the sole caregiver to her mom, who has early stage dementia. We thought taking her on weekend getaways with quiet nature walks and fresh air might be therapeutic. That said, her condition causes her to be very anxious if there is a fair amount of noise, commotion, young children and/or pets at volume. My question is, not having been around the RV lifestyle, what expectations should we have for being the 'lucky' ones to find ourselves waking up next to "the Rowdy's". I'm sure everyone has a story (or three), but really - is this the rare occasion, or does it happen fairly often? Anything we can do to reduce that possibility? Or you just have to grin and bear it (and/or pack up early)? Any insights would be appreciated to help us avoid causing the MIL unintentional distress.
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Old 09-13-2013, 09:50 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forums!

In my experience, the more "off the grid" the campground is, the quieter it will be. For example, national forest/National Park campgrounds where there aren't full hookups, or even electricity, tend to be very quiet. KOAs are the opposite end of the spectrum. The campgrounds are basically low grade amusement parks, and as far from "camping" as I can imagine, short of sleeping on a busy street.

So strategy-wise, I would recommend outfitting your trailer to be comfortable boondocking, and learn to go for a weekend on just the water in your tank and the electricity in your batteries. This will minimize your contact with the demographic of people who are happy to surround themselves with roaring air conditioners, blaring music, and want to bring the city with them to the campground.

I also find staying away from places where motorized "toys" are allowed is a good practice. If there is a lake that allows power boats and jet skis, or a forest that allows motorcycles and 4-wheelers, then expect a lot of noise.

good luck!
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Old 09-13-2013, 09:57 AM   #3
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I'll attempt to share my experience. I really do not like waking up next to the rowdies either (or going to bed with them either). We are retired so we go camping whenever we want without concern about day of the week or time of year.

Summer, fall & spring break, and especially holiday weekends tend to be more family intense at the campgrounds and so more rowdy. Some campgrounds also seem to develop a culture of their own. We try to avoid the high volume times I have mentioned and campgrounds that tend to typically be more on the high energy side.

When planning a trip, post a question on the Airforum or the RV.net and ask about specific campgrounds. This has been a very good source of information for me over the years. I have found some wonderful places to camp by just asking my fellow campers about specific campgrounds.
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Old 09-13-2013, 10:05 AM   #4
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I don't know how it is for others, but in my case, I've had very good luck with Corps of Engineers campgrounds when I'm looking for peace and quiet. CoE campsites tend to have a reasonable amount of green space between them so you've got decent distance between you and your neighbors.

Plus, if you go in the middle of the week, most CoE campgrounds will be half empty. They do a lot more business on the weekends, especially holiday weekends. On the rare occasion when there has been a neighbor with an insanely loud motorcycle or a stereo that can't be turned down below 11, it has always been on a holiday weekend.

Very few CoE campgrounds have sewer hookups, but the number with electric-and-water, electric-only, and no hookups seems to be about evenly mixed.

The price is usually pretty reasonable, too. Even more reasonable if you have the National Park Service Senior Pass (over 65) or Access Pass (handicapped), since CoE gives you a half-price discount on your fee with the pass.

And given your mother-in-law's condition, it also helps that, unlike boondocking, most CoE campgrounds with any kind of hookups have a camp host who can help if you run into a problem, and you're usually not TOO far from medical aid if needed.
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Old 09-13-2013, 10:06 AM   #5
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We spend most of our camping weekends in Ontario's Provincial Parks. Many of these have a "no radio" policy, sometimes only in parts of the site, which means no source of amplified music is allowed.

Many also enforce quiet time from 9:00pm onwards, others from 11:00pm.

Pets have to be leashed. Children will run free.

Provincial Parks, like State Parks in the US, often offer larger, more secluded sites than private campgrounds. The payoff tends to be in services. We often camp with no services at all, or just power. For showers my wife and I use the Park's facilities, cleaning just the kids in the trailer.
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Old 09-13-2013, 10:16 AM   #6
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We've found that we could be literally the only ones there or among a crowd and everything in-between. In general though we find the places we stay usually are very quiet. If you avoid the family entertainment destination type parks you will usually find things calm and relaxed. Of course you are likely to encounter families and children no matter where you go but few of the " rowdies". And I suspect that they are the issue you're inquiring about.
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Old 09-13-2013, 10:32 AM   #7
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I have only once experienced loud and rowdy neighbors (well, not counting Airstream rallys), and that was at a lake where we had stayed all week and were leaving on Friday, and Thursday night hordes of children, drunken adults, and jetskis appeared. It was like a tailgating party had broke out!

Normally we stay at state parks and have no problems at all. It's actually surprising how peaceful it can be when the spots are big and spaced out well. If you did find yourself next to a rowdy group, you could always go ask the ranger if you could try another spot if one's available.

I say get the Airstream and enjoy, and I hope your MIL gets some enjoyment and relief from it. It is so kind of you both to be trying to make her life more enjoyable in her last years, and I personally couldn't think of a better way than camping.
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Old 09-13-2013, 10:50 AM   #8
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If you avoid the places where large families would go because they offer a wide range of activities for kids, like Jellystone Parks, then you'll avoid the noise. Stick to State Parks and County campgrounds, and you should be fine. National Parks are usually pretty quiet, but they are family destinations.
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Old 09-13-2013, 11:26 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Protagonist View Post
I don't know how it is for others, but in my case, I've had very good luck with Corps of Engineers campgrounds when I'm looking for peace and quiet. CoE campsites tend to have a reasonable amount of green space between them so you've got decent distance between you and your neighbors.
I agree. I have been very happy with Corp of Engineers campgrounds in the southeastern US. I am not sure there are any COE campgrounds in your area.
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Old 09-13-2013, 11:39 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justdav53 View Post
what expectations should we have for being the 'lucky' ones to find ourselves waking up next to "the Rowdy's".
There is considerable regional variation in campgrounds so the advice people are giving may not apply to you.

In my experience:

1) Problems with noisy groups are rare

2) When they occur they tend to involve multi-family gatherings, most often on Memorial Day, Labor Day, or around the 4th of July

3) Obviously this sort of thing is more of a problem at higher-density campgrounds.

4) In 3 years of traveling I have only once encountered a situation bad enough to merit contacting the campground host. The problem was quickly solved
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Old 09-13-2013, 11:41 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Ridgerunner3 View Post
I agree. I have been very happy with Corp of Engineers campgrounds in the southeastern US. I am not sure there are any COE campgrounds in your area.
Depends on how far you're willing to drive.
Two that I know of:
Robert W. Craig Campground on Jennings Randolph Lake in Maryland.
Tub Run Campground on Youghiogheny River Lake in Pennsylvania.

You can find any Corps of Engineers campground at:
Corps Lakes Gateway: Camping
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Old 09-13-2013, 12:42 PM   #12
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Aloha:

Pete and I are camphosting at Greenbelt Park in Greenbelt, MD. This is a very quiet campground about an hour away from you. It is seldom busy because there are no hook-ups. We sometimes get groups of scouts on weekends, but they have a loop of their own and are never rowdy. It costs only $8/night if you are a senior. You should drive down and check it out if you are interested.

Fall and spring, when the kids are in school are awesome times to camp in National forests and parks!
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Old 09-13-2013, 12:44 PM   #13
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Nice surprise

I stayed at a commercial campground in August. 1st night the neighbors were just a bit loud. Not really rowdy, just sharing good cheer around the campfire and laughing a bit loud. But it was after 11.

The commercial camp staff pulled up in a golf cart, had a quiet conversation with them and the issue was resolved. I had seen the ranger's cart swing by maybe every hour before I turned in. Was pleased to see they still were on "patrol" after hours.

So I like what everyone is saying about out of the way campgrounds but a well run commercial operation may have perks too.

Oh, and as a Scout leader I am a 12 month camper. I can tell you that as the temps drop so do the chances of encountering mosquitoes, rowdy yahoo's and other pests. If you want to camp on the 4th of July; do so with full acceptance that it is unlikely to be a quiet weekend. Unless do do like we do and head for Canada and some of those great Provincial parks mentioned above.

John
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Old 09-13-2013, 01:15 PM   #14
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The design of a campground can mean a lot when you are looking for peace and quiet. Spacing between sites is almost always much greater in National, State or Provincial Parks than in RV parks - in other words, your neighbour is a heck of a lot farther away - and often there is a buffer of vegetation screening the view between sites.
- that said - regardless where you are - pull through RV sites are almost always tighter than back-in sites.
- seek out a back-in site on the outside of a campground road loop where there is no one behind you.

Google earth is a great tool for checking out campground design, spacing between campsites etc. before you commit to reserving a site.

You might also want to consider only those campgrounds/parks that have night security.


Jay
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