In summer, the whole Reno / Tahoe area is packed with opportunities for outdoor activities; hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, kayaking, skiing, trout fishing, boating, even scuba diving, and more. There’s also plenty of sight seeing and exploring to do, along with shopping, dining… the list goes on.
We’re currently in south Lake Tahoe. This is our first time at Lake Tahoe, but it won’t be our last! The weather here in summer is wonderful! Highs are in the 70’s and 80’s, lows in the 40’s. There are many days of clear blue cloudless skies and fairly low humidity. The scenery is breathtaking! And speaking of breathing, you’ll be above 6000 to 7000 feet here so be aware of potential altitude-related physical problems if you’re coming up directly from near sea level.
What have we been doing? We drove our toad all the way around the lake, driving clockwise so we’re on the inside lane next to the lake, and we stopped at many scenic viewpoints including Emerald Bay (see the lead photo above). Plan to spend at least 4 hours if you do this, and it could take all day. Watch out for hikers and bicyclers! We also took a sightseeing cruise on the Tahoe Star, a 57 foot boat that belongs to Harrah’s Casino, so Chris got it comped. There are many other boats of all variety that do dinner cruises, sightseeing, and so on. We also shopped, ate at some interesting local places, and of course we gambled a little bit.
The Reno area has a good selection of RV friendly casinos including several with RV parks. South Lake Tahoe has only one casino that allows RV parking, but there are many commercial, federal and state RV parks all around.
At the three locations where we parked the situations are quite different from each other, and this creates a good example of how RV travelers need to be flexible and adapt to the policies at each new place we visit.
Boomtown has a Full Hookup RV park, and they also allow free overnight parking for RV travelers. Truckers are also allowed in a section of the parking lot. 18-wheelers have to park east of a blue line painted on the pavement. RVs are allowed in the next two or three rows.
Security is very active in enforcing the parking rules, and will quickly ask you to move if you’re in the wrong place. Staying a few nights is usually OK, check with Security. There is no formal signing-in process, just park in the right place and don’t cause problems. Jacks and slides are OK, please put blocks under your jacks to protect the asphalt. No BBQ grills or other “setting up camp”, no big awning, no patio furniture, etc.
On any given night there might be 30+ trucks and 20+ RVs. During major events that attract RVs their parking situation can get very crowded. One example is Hot August Nights, a large region-wide, week long car show that takes place all over Reno and Sparks. This year it was August 3 – 10, and we headed to Tahoe!
While Boomtown opens the door to all RVers and says “come on in” the Peppermill is on the other end of the RV friendly spectrum. I hesitated to mention this casino in the blog; however, it does give me the opportunity to illustrate the wide differences in casino policies.
You must either be a registered hotel guest, or a Platinum or Diamond level player to park an RV overnight. The Peppermill has limited parking because of a major construction project. We’ve visited there for several years, and since we’re known gamblers they accommodate us. It’s one of our favorite casinos.
We always check in with security, either look for one of them on bicycle patrol, or ask an employee inside to direct you to the security office. Typically, you may park an RV in rows G and H only of their North parking lot. During the day, construction workers park in this same area, so I recommend arriving after 5:00 PM on a weeknight Monday through Thursday. Weekends the lot can be very crowded. There’s very little room to maneuver, so motorhomes should arrive with the toad unhooked. Parking here is not recommended for RVs over 40′ and Class 7 and 8 trucks are not allowed.
Horizon Casino, Lake Tahoe
Compared to the RV policies of the previous two casinos Horizon is right in the middle. Like Boomtown they have plenty of parking, and there’s an open invitation for us to all come visit. They do have some formal, written rules, and although enforcement varies we found it easy to abide by them, and we urge others to do so too. They require RVers to register at Security and obtain a parking permit which is good for 4 nights. You’ll need drivers license and RV tag number. Security is located on the casino floor, if you walk in from the back parking lot, past the pool, past the hotel desk, then turn right and look for a large elevated booth up ahead along the wall.
To understand their rules, just follow the Good Neighbor policy that we practice at Wal-Marts, with the exception that you may stay up to 4 nights.
See you on the road!
We leave today for Carson City. Happy travels to you, and good luck at the casinos!