With the recent additions of extra batteries and solar panels, we are now able to dry camp very effectively. This makes utilizing casino RV parking areas for overnight stops quite convenient. Rather than hand over an RV Park 30-40 bucks for a full hookup campsite it’s more fun for us to spend the money on a little penny slot play and a tasty meal.
Most casinos are located along major highway routes with large easy to access parking lots. I find the ones located in smaller towns away from major urban areas tend to have the best food, looser slots and a welcoming attitude towards RVers. They have to try a bit harder to attract customers.
This year as we made our way up the west coast on Highway 101 we stayed in 4 different casinos. Each of them had large well-lit RV parking areas to stay in with security keeping an eye on things. We stayed a total of 7 nights. At each casino, we would go in and spend a little time on the slots and have some food or drink as a payback for the free overnight parking.
Casino Camping Advice
The first thing we do on arrival is to find the security desk and ask about the overnight RV parking policy. Most have a 3 day limit with some requiring registration and display of a parking pass in the window. Once that is straightened out we head over to the members desk to ask about current specials and if it’s our first visit acquire a casino players card.
Usually for first-time customers they give you $10 dollars in free slot play. Furthermore, the player’s card is useful for other casino discounts plus you earn points as you play. After collecting a set amount of points you can redeem them for things like a free buffet dinner or merchandise, etc. They are worth acquiring and so far I have never received any junk mail from them.
Our gambling policy is to have a set amount to play with like 10 or 20 bucks each and when that is gone we leave. Also, if we win a large jackpot we quit while we are ahead, rather than get greedy. It’s work well for us over the years, we are likely somewhere near the breakeven point after having visited dozens of casinos.
Money Spent While Casino Camping
Here is the actual breakdown of money spent his trip:
Robinson Rancheria Casino – (1-night stay) Up $5 on our slot play and spent $32 on dinners = $27 spent
Chinook Winds Casino – (3-night stay) Down $40 on our slot play and spent $36 on buffet dinners = $76 spent
Little Creek Casino – (1-night stay) Up $85 on our slot play and spent $30 on buffet dinners = $55 Earned
7 Cedars Casino – (2-night stay) Up $40 on our slot play and spent $80 on dinners and drinks = $40 Spent
So, the total spent for the 7 nights ended up being $88 for an average of $12.60 a night. Not bad! Of course, you could get really frugal and cut that down even more but we like the entertainment of a little low-level gambling and love the food! Most casino buffet spreads are fabulous. Plus if RVers start to take advantage we could lose the privilege.
Casino Camping Drawbacks
One drawback to casino parking is the lots tend to be fairly sloped so leveling the rig can be a bit of a pain. We travel and boondock a lot so are well used to it by now. But, just a heads up to those who are new to it, don’t expect a nice level spot. Other potential negatives are light and noise. Some folks may be bothered by the bright lot lights and vehicles coming and going. Lucky for me I sleep like a rock. My wife uses an eye mask and ear plugs. Parking at the far back of the lot helps too.
Finding Casino Overnight Parking
Two websites I use when scouting out a casino as a stopover possibility are Allstays.com and CasinoCamper.com. Allstays has a mapping function where you can filter out results to show only casinos. Casino Camper has an RV friendly casino map with updated reviews. Another resource is “word of mouth”. When in the parking lot I’ll strike up a conversation with other RVers there and ask what their favorite casino stopovers are.
We’ve used truck stops, Walmarts, rest stops, etc. as quick overnight RV stops but much prefer casino camping if available along our route. After a long day of driving, it’s nice to easily park the rig and head in for a bite to eat and a little relaxation before retiring back to our RV for an early night.
For more ways to be frugal while enjoying the RV lifestyle check out this past blog post.