There are SO many things I wish I had known when Tom and I first started traveling by camper! It took me a year of RV travel to learn one of the MOST useful RV travel hacks- casino camping!
When traveling the United States and Canada by RV the majority of casinos will allow you to camp in their parking lots overnight for FREE. Below I’ll outline why casinos are some of our favorite spots for free camping.
Casinos are often easily accessible from major highways
In the US and Canada many of the free boondocking sites are off the beaten path on wilderness land. While we LOVE wilderness sites for visits of a week or longer they are often difficult to find in the dark and too far from the main roads for a quick overnight stop.
Casinos, on the other hand, are usually easily accessible from the main highways. Casino parking lots are enormous, level, and secure. This allows us to pull in after dark and park our camper with very little fuss.
There are generally no requirements for staying in a casino parking lot. In fact, you usually don’t even have to check in with security! This makes casino camping an ideal late night option if you just want to pull in, cook dinner, and go to bed.
Casino lots are large, which allows for more privacy than WalMart camping
WalMart camping has always been a popular go-to for RV nomads, but Tom and I find that casino parking lots are much larger than WalMart lots. This extra space usually allows us to find a spot far from other campers, which makes for a more comfortable, private overnight. The extra space in casino parking lots also allows us to avoid the traffic of the regular casino customers, so we tend to experience far less noise in casino parking lots than we would WalMart camping.
Casinos offer plenty of dining options
After a long day of driving it’s nice to simply walk into the casino buffet and feast on all you can eat crab legs (we’re total suckers for a good buffet). Casino buffets are not as cheap as they used to be, but if we know we’ll be camping at a casino we often skip lunch in anticipation of a huge buffet meal.
If buffets aren’t your thing, casinos usually offer plenty of dining options at a variety of price points. While we don’t always eat at the casinos we visit it’s nice to know that we can take a night off from cooking if we want to.
Casinos feature other amenities
Some of the larger casinos offer extra amenities like spas and fitness centers! While these are not free for campers, you can usually purchase a day pass to the facilities, which is still often cheaper than paying for a night in an RV park!
Some of the casinos we’ve camped at had other fun facilities like a movie theater and bowling alley! Tom and I very rarely get to see movies in the theater so finding a casino with a movie theater inside is a special treat for us.
And, of course, there is always gambling available in the casinos. We’re not big gamblers, but if you enjoy gambling you can join the free casino player’s club and hit the slot machines during your visit.
How to find casinos that allow overnight RV parking
There are a few excellent resources for finding casinos that allow overnight RV parking. Tom and I use an iphone app called Allstays that shows many of the free casinos. However, we discovered that Allstays doesn’t show every casino, so we also consult Casino Camper, a free site that lists casinos that allow free camping.
Then, if we have checked our app and Casino Camper without any luck we will check google maps as well. Occasionally google maps will find some casinos that are not listed on either of the other resources. If you do use google maps be sure to give the casino a call and make sure they allow RV boondocking in their parking lot.
Casino camping is a fun way to get free overnight parking when you travel. We recommend you give it a try on your next RV road trip!
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2 thoughts on “Casino Camping: Free and Convenient”
Very much enjoyed your post. When I was young, I camped in Europe and North Africa for two years. Now, many years later we are retired from our professional lives and are thinking about some RV traveling especially during Covid. Not interested in noisy,busy, congested campgrounds but want to visit our kids in Colorado. Is it safe to boondock here and there? We are in our 70’s. We want to avoid public restrooms at the roadside rest spots. Any thoughts? Thank you
Hi Gary! I think RV travel is by far the safest form of travel right now because you will be traveling with your own bathroom and kitchen. As far as safety in boondocking, we’ve never had a problem, and we boondocked all over North America for years. With that said, you should trust your instincts. It is EXTREMELY rare, but there have been a few times when we’ve pulled into an area, and felt uncomfortable with the people who were already camping there. In those rare cases we simply drive on to the next spot on the map.
Colorado is GORGEOUS, and there’s plenty of good boondocking there. If you have a smartphone, download the app “ioverlander”. It’s free, and shows tons of great boondocking spots! Once you get as far west as Colorado there’s SO much public land. For more information on finding free camping check out this article: https://therollingpack.com/tricks-for-finding-beautiful-affordable-campsites/
As far as public restrooms, you should be able to skip them altogether, and just use your RV bathroom. The smartphone app I mentioned above also lists dump station sites, and you can often find dump stations at large truck stops and state campgrounds. Also, many private RV parks will allow you to pay a fee to use their dump station even if you aren’t camping there. I have more good info on boondocking in this article: https://therollingpack.com/rv-dry-camping-and-rv-boondocking-guide/
I hope this helps! If you have more questions, shoot me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org