In my first post of the Camping Mishaps series I talked about the weather and what you can do to avoid, or at least minimize the impact, that bad weather can have on your camping trip. In this post, I’m going to talk about something that is much harder to predict and yet can have a huge negative impact on your camping experience: noisy neighbors.
One of the great aspects of camping is getting away from the hustle, bustle and, yes, the noise of our Monday through Friday lives. There is almost nothing worse than arriving at the campsite of your dreams, only to discover that you are camped next to an RV that wants to run their generator all night.
You can run into other kinds of problems, too, if you are camping somewhere new and are not familiar with the area. You could discover, after the sun goes down, that the campground of your dreams turns into the local high school hangout, with enough loud music and drinking to make a frat house blush. Here are some steps you can take, in order to minimize the risk of a ruined camping experience.
Pick the Right Site
Yes, it’s true that a noisy generator can resonate throughout the entire campground, but you can minimize the risk by scouting-out the campground before making a reservation. To demonstrate this strategy, I threw a dart at a map of the United States and it landed near Pine Bluff, Arkansas. So let’s see if we can find a decent campsite near there.
The first thing I did was log onto Recreation.Gov and do a quick search for all campgrounds around Pine Bluff, AR. The very first listing is almost what I’m looking for – a campground with no electrical hookups. RV’s tend to avoid these campgrounds with no hookups.
Unfortunately, this campground is only five miles outside of Pine Bluff. That is much too close to a city of 50,000 people, for me. I don’t know the area at all, but that is all the more reason to avoid an area that could potentially be the local high school hangout (or worse).
Continuing on down the page (and further away from Pine Bluff), I rejected numerous campgrounds that had all electrical sites, until I came across the Crystal Springs Campground, on Lake Ouachita. Granted, I’m now some 80 miles outside of Pine Bluff, but I’ll drive a couple of hours for some peace-and-quiet, if that’s what it takes.
This campground has 52 sites with electric and water hookups, but it also has 22 sites without hookups. These sites are located on both ends of the campground, but the ones on the left (circled in red) are the most attractive. The sites on the right side of the campground are located next to two group shelters, two “comfort stations” (I have no idea what that is, but I know I don’t need it), and the boat ramp – definitely too busy for my taste.
Now that I’ve narrowed my search down to a particular area of the campground, it’s time to click over to Google™ Maps and user its satellite view to get a better feel for the terrain. Those three campsites on the far-left look pretty good, to me, since there is some high ground and trees between them and the rest of the campground. Having never been to this campground, I would feel good about reserving one of these campsites.