Why We Love Free RV Camping at Casinos

We used to despise everything about casinos; the stinky smoke, slot machine granny zombies, throwing money at games of chance, and because the house always wins.

I always wondered why fellow frugal road trippers Sean and Louise stay and dine at casinos around the country.

Other than the large parking lots that can accommodate their magic bus, why would they actually go inside, when, like us, they’re rarely willing to pay for campsites? What could possibly lure them in?

Last year when we saw Willie Nelson at Morongo Casino Resort and Spa in Southern California, we understood why. Casinos not only welcome RVers, but many reward us for sticking around.

Why Try Casino Camping?

  • Lots of casinos have dedicated RV parking
  • Multi-night stays are often fine
  • Unhitching is tolerated at many places
  • Parking lots are usually well-lit and patrolled by security
  • Most have restaurant discounts if you join their “Player’s Club”

We never thought we would surrender our IDs to a casino to join their stupid gambling discount club (did I tell you I hate gambling?).

But when we stopped at Morongo recently, we were hungry and didn’t feel like cooking. Eating out is a rare treat for us, but Morongo has several eateries including a good lookin’ buffet restaurant.

The normal price to eat-till-you-puke at Morongo’s buffet is $15. Join their Winner’s Club and  you can get one $10 voucher per person toward dining or gambling (guess what we chose), plus another $4 off your meal total each time you dine there. We ended up paying $6 for an all-you-can-eat orgy! Six bucks!

All casinos have some kind of discount club to keep the gambling junkies coming back for more. Although you’ll need to hand over your ID and allow them to cram your mailbox full of stupid promotions, you’re bound to get some free meals and overnight spots in return. It’s a win-win for everyone!

Casino Camping Tips

Always follow casino parking etiquette, which is similar to behaving at Wally World:

  • Ask security. Find the guy on patrol and ask if it’s OK to park there, where you should park and for how long.
  • No setting up camp. That means your generator stays off, your jacks remain up, your awning’s rolled in and your crap stays inside.
  • Keep it neater than you found it. Don’t dump your trash there, save it for the gas station that’s ripping you off at $4.50 a gallon.
  • Give them some of your cash. Gambling’s stupid in my book but it’s your choice. There are other ways to thank the casino, like dining inside or even just having a beer at the bar. Remember, join their Player’s Club to save tons!
  • And if you win big because you tried casino camping as a result of this post, send some our way!

I’ll never bash casinos again, we’re hooked on casino camping! From now on, if we have a choice between a WalMart or a casino with a restaurant, guess where you’ll find us?

16 thoughts on “Why We Love Free RV Camping at Casinos”

    • Hi Rick, good question. Some casinos actually do, and I’ve even heard that these spots are free. You just have to look around for them. Most times it’s parking lot camping without hookups though.

  1. Oh I’m glad you wrote about this. I love casino camping! No need to feel guilty Christy, they are raking in plenty of money from others and have more than enough cement to lend out for a few nights! I’ve never felt safer than when casino camping and we have managed to get some rockin deals!

    The best casino parking spots we have found include Spotlight 29 in Indio. We arrived on a Friday and enrolled for a member card which came with a free buffet, which I had already decided I was eating at, free or not. Brian wasn’t ready to pay 19.99 for the seafood buffet, so finding out the card got us in for free was a true delight! We’ve found a number of casinos down the coast of WA, OR and Northern CA also give $10 towards gambling or food.

    One of my Favs though just might be behind Ballys on the strip in Vegas. While it is the filthiest parking spot we’ve ever seen location on the strip just can’t be beat! You can also go just down the road to the Rio parking lot as well. We spread out over 20 days of free parking this last year in Vegas between those two spots and the Orleans. Not as many free perks with these casinos, but sometimes free parking is good enough for me!

    • Hey tripper, good to see you here! Dang, we passed right by the Spotlight 29, never heard of it. Now it’s a toss up between Morongo or going to Indio! Cool info on Vegas too. We’re considering doing the Rock & Roll Marathon in December, so this is great info.

      Free parking is definitely good enough for us too!

      • Yea no kidding! I use casinocamper.com to find all our safe spots. They typically keep it updated with user reviews telling you where to go and where not to go.

  2. I also hate gambling and smoky casinos but the AVI outside of Laughlin NV came highly recommended, so we tried it. Good air quality, nice Italian restaurant, amazing pool and spa. It was right on the Colorado River and they have a big beach with palapas & water sports if you go in the spring. Huge RV boondocking area, and I think you can stay 3 days and even more if you rack up points on their “card”.

  3. You know, I’ve never really thought of staying in Casino’s. I must say you might have changed our minds….we’ll probably check some out! Nina

  4. We’ve stayed overnight at a number of casinos and enjoy them as well. The biggest pain was the one in Miami, FL that required us to register each day, but thankfully they didn’t seem to care that we stayed multiple nights. 🙂

    We rarely go inside, though – we don’t gamble, the buffet isn’t cost-effective for us (I don’t eat much in one sitting, so normally we share one entree when eating out) and I HATE the smell of cigarette smoke. I feel kind of bad for not supporting casinos after using their parking lots, but we just haven’t found a good way to do so.

    • Christy, thanks for reading and commenting. Yeah, the cigarette smoke can be awful in older ones but newer casinos have incredible smoke filtration systems (at least out west, not sure about the East). Don’t feel guilty though, eventually I’m sure one of them will lure you in! Check out Morongo if you get a chance, it really was a pretty good relatively smoke-free experience for a casino!

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    How does the bandwidth of your MotoSat compare with your Verizon MiFi backup?

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  6. We have only stopped and camped at one casino but we had a similar good time. We were near the Algodones, Mexico border and camped for a couple of days at the casino campground.

    We had steak and lobster for $9.99 and it was a good experience. We’ll have to find more.

    Great post!


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