Pitch a Tent and Pass The Dice : Casino Camping South Lake Tahoe

The Grinders Visit South Lake Tahoe Casinos and Campgrounds

Posted by Richie Raviolis

Camp Richardson Campground has 333 sites in a scattered pine forest, all with picnic tables and fire rings. There are bathrooms and showers. No pets allowed. During our stay we spotted a big brown bear with two cubs right next to our campsite, so be sure to keep all your food in the bear-proof bins provided at each site. Despite the bear sighting, this is not "outback" camping. During the peak summer months the camp can be full and crowed with families. But, then again, so are all the hotels. Considering that you have the beach, the General Store, and The Beacon all within arm's reach, this location is second to none.

Stay in the Badger's Den section of camp, on the east side of HWY 89, to be closest to Camp Richardson Beach. We stayed in site 327, which has easy access to the "secret" path to the beach next to site 313 at the northeast corner of the campgrounds.

The Camp Richardson Resort also has cabins along the lake or rooms at the resort hotel. But your best value is at the campground where you'll spend only about $25 -$30 a night for up to four people, (extra vehicle charges may apply).

Getting Around South Lake Tahoe Campgrounds

As far as getting around, like the Campground By The Lake, there is public transportation to take you straight to the casinos. Hop the Nifty Fifty Trolly line and be sitting in front of a slot machine in no time. Since the trolly stops running at about 8pm, you'll probably have to drive after that. But there is a big free parking lot outside the Montbleu Resort and Casino at the far end of the strip. It will take you about 15 or 20 minutes to drive the 7 miles to the state-line casinos from Camp Richardson.

All this for a fraction of the cost of a peek season hotel room. Not bad, right?

South Lake Tahoe Casinos

We won't go into a lot of detail here about the casino's because there are only a few, so it's not like Vegas where you really have to pick and choose which casinos you'll have time for. Since all five of the casinos are on a single block, you'll have plenty of time and energy to check them all out yourself.

MontBleu Lake Tahoe Casino

MontBleu is the newest casino, (formally Caesars - recently been bought by Columbia Sussex Corporation in 2005), and shows what the future of Tahoe casinos may look like. The fresh, open and glamorous casino floor is way hip, and way nicer than any other casino on the lake. But Miss Melody and I got the feeling that it was a bit too hip, or that it was trying a little too hard to appeal to the younger, vegas-type crowd. All the restaurants and clubs are upscale, and the slots seemed pretty tight. But overall, I think MontBleu is good for Tahoe, hopefully inspiring more renovations in the area.

Harrah's Lake Tahoe Casino

Harveys Lake Tahoe Casino

Harrah's and Harveys give you about what you'd expect; good gaming in a fun atmosphere. Both casinos are, of course, owned by Harrah's and are directly across the street from one another, and there is an underground tunnel that passes below the street for easy access to both without going outside, (great in the winter). Sammy Hagar's Cabo Wabo Cantina lives down there at the mouth of the Harvey's tunnel and seems to be hopping at all hours of the night.

Horizon Lake Tahoe Casino

Horizon is a plain, wide-open room with lots of loose slots. We had some fun here, and the waitresses are quick with a drink. You'll also find a big movie theatre which is quite easy to sneak into. While we did pay for our movie, it would be easy to sneak in because there are no ushers, and the box office is off to the side of a huge hall that leads not only to the theaters, but to the casino restrooms, as well. It's quite impossible for the person behind the glass box office to see who's going to the movies, and who is simple going to take a crap. (Disclaimer: this website does not condone any illegal activity, including sneaking into movie theaters. We will not be responsible for your shenanigans, so sneak at your own risk).

Bills Lake Tahoe Casino

Bill's Casino is a tiny casino wedged between the big boys, and will remind you of O'Shea's in Vegas. Great spot for cheap food and beer.

For more general details about Harrah's, Harvey's, Horizon, and Bill's Casino, go to the Lake Tahoe section of RenoTripping.com

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