Casinos Cash-In with RV Resorts

Southern California casinos are betting big on RV campers by catering to that demographic with full-service campsites, like the one at Pechanga Resort & Casino

RV camping is on the upswing.

In a report released last August, the RV Industry Association forecast that 505,900 RVs were expected to be shipped to dealers in 2018, “capping nine straight years of growth and resulting in the highest annual total for the RV market.”

And demographically speaking, with both boomers and millennials expressing an affinity for RV camping, it’s no wonder casinos have found a new market to woo.

Pechanga Casino RV Resort © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

As a result, casinos are now setting aside precious marketing dollars and physical space on their properties to attract the growing RV-campers-who-like-to-gamble clientele.

In southern California, two casinos—Pala and Pechanga—have carved out big chunks of their casino land to cater to RV campers. Here’s a look at Pechanga.

Pechanga Casino RV Resort © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Pechanga Resort & Casino

Location: 45000 Pechanga Parkway, Temecula

Opened: March 1, 2000

How big: 16 acres

How many sites: 210, all full-service

Pechanga Casino RV Resort © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Site details: All sites have 12 feet of grass on either side with electrical, water, and sewer hookups and free Wi-Fi and cable television service. Of the 210 sites, 112 are deluxe back-in sites, 24 are deluxe pull-through sites, 17 premium pull-through sites, and four luxury sites. In addition, there are larger spaces—the “Chairman” is 2,400 square feet—that include fenced sites, each equipped with a gazebo and picnic table. For those camping with other RV enthusiasts, there are 22 buddy sites, which allow campers to position their RVs so their doors are facing.

Pechanga Casino RV Resort © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Amenities: If you want to relax beyond the RV, near the clubhouse you’ll find a swimming pool and two spas. The clubhouse is available for use for an extra fee. RV resort guests can use the driving range at the Journeys golf course for free. There’s a 24-hour Laundromat, and throughout the campground, there are three restroom facilities, two with showers. Outdoor amenities include a fenced dog park and a guest pavilion with outdoor seating for campfires or just relaxing.

Old Town Temecula © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Pets: The resort allows three pets per RV at a fee for $5 per pet per stay, up to seven days.

Forgot something?: The remodeled Pechanga Mini-Mart, adjacent to the gas station, has been remodeled and carries everything you might need while you’re camping at the resort—from produce to snacks to beer and wine. Inside the Mini-Mart is Baja Express, which serves traditional Mexican food.

Old Town Temecula © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Tip: Forget about making fresh guacamole. Let the folks at Baja Express do the work—just order a pint for $7.

Shuttle service: Shuttles are available 24 hours a day from the RV resort to the Pechanga hotel and casino.

Temecula Wine Country © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Discounts: 10 percent discounts available to members of Good Sam, AAA, AARP, and military.

Accolades: Good Sam has awarded Pechanga RV Resort perfect 10s for five consecutive years. In 2017, both Trailer Life and MotorHome magazines gave the resort a Silver Award.

Temecula Wine Country © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Dining tips: Those who don’t want to cook in the RV don’t need to go far for other dining options. Pechanga has everything for every taste—from grab-and-go and casual fare to fine dining.

The Lobby Bar & Grill, located in the atrium, serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner with prices that won’t deplete your gambling budget. The mostly American-centric menu serves up everything from soups and salads to burgers and seafood, but don’t miss the steak and fries (hanger steak, $27) and the crispy Brussels sprouts with apple glaze and asiago cheese ($6).

Temecula Wine Country © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Outside of the main hotel and casino area, there is Journey’s End. It has beautiful views of the golf course and serves breakfast and lunch. If you’re looking for something light to munch on for happy hour, swing by after 3 p.m. The happy hour menu has a varied appetizer selection—from quesadillas and nachos to wings and pot stickers—as well as wine from Temecula wineries ($5).

Old Town Temecula © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Worth Pondering…

Casino gambling is colorful and dramatic and theatrical.

—Steve Wynn