It’s Summertime and I have been Ooohhhing & Aaaaaahhhing over the past month at all the great vacation pics my friends and family have been posting on Facebook. It is definately the time of year to take that much needed break and let loose. With that in mind, my husband and I decided to take a short (as in really short….1 day) mini vacation from the everyday stresses of life.
The first question I asked myself was where we could go without spending a lot of money and is just a few hours away at the most. I know you will be surprised by my answer here…Choctaw Casino in Durant, Oklahoma (Gasp!). What could be Frugal about a Casino, right? Well, after some digging I was able to find out that we really could have a ton of FUN on a Budget using a few great tips. (See Frugal Tips below)
Now, if your wondering if Choctaw Casino is Worth the Trip, here is what I have to say….
FYI… Upon arrival I realized my phone had a cracked camera screen (you can tell from the hotel photos below). Sadly, I didn’t even attempt to take my own pictures at the Casino Resort because I knew they would be less than great.
We enjoyed the fact that the drive was just a short 2 hours away from Fort Worth and 1 hour away from Dallas! When we arrived around 9:30 pm we checked into the Hampton Inn & Suites (definitely would stay there again) in Durant which is about 5 miles from the Casino. After getting refreshed, we called to the desk and asked for the FREE Casino shuttle. The shuttle arrived within 5 minutes and we were on our (bumpy) way. Just a side note… Shuttle rides always make my husband and I laugh. I really think shuttle drivers are just retired race car drivers!
Upon arriving at the entrance of Choctaw Casino, we took notice of how clean the grounds were. It was night at the time of our arrival so the entrance was lit up beautifully with the ring of fire out front. When you walk in the doors you will see a grand statue of a white buffalo surrounded by a beautiful 22-foot tall waterfall. There is a waterfall music show every 30 minutes from 2pm – 4am but we were never at the right place at the right time to experience it for ourselves (darn, darn, darn!).
As we entered Choctaw Casino, we also noticed all the fun happening in Gilley’s Bar which is visible from the Casino floor. Live music flowed and the dance floor seemed like it was a hit with young and old alike. I will definately take time to stop in, have a drink and listen to the music on our next visit!
Choctaw Casino is spread out in a very nice arrangement with plenty of space. Ventilation must be great because it wasn’t even smokey. We immediately signed-up for a Reward’s Card and were told by the friendly staff where things such as restaurants and FREE Drink Stations could be located. We were also given $10 in free download play for the slot machines just for being new members. I fell in love with the ease in which it was to navigate. The Casino is large enough to explore but not too large to feel overwhelmed (ahem…cough, cough.. Winstar). Yes, I am admitting that Choctaw is in my opinion a much better place to visit than it’s neighbor Winstar. There are many reasons for this but mainly because it is more relaxed, brighter, less crowded and the machines actually pay enough to let you play at Choctaw. I never won a large jackpot but as a friendly gamer, all I wanted to do was have fun playing slots. The slot machines allowed me to play for hours on the money I brought and even paid out pretty well.
We did get hungry around 4am and were able to choose from food at Dixon’s grill or Jackpot Java which are both open 24 hours. We chose Dixon’s grill and decided on a hamburger. The food was nothing too fancy but it was good and satisfying. I did eat a pre-packed cranberry chicken salad sandwich on croissant the next day from Jackpot Java that was delicious! Next time, hopefully we will have discount coupons from our rewards card to try Butterfield’s Buffet.
We really did enjoy our experience at Choctaw Casino and found out you CAN make it a Fun and Frugal trip. I can’t wait to go back next time we need just a little getaway!
FRUGAL TIPS from our experience……
#1 ~ TRANSPORTATION – We chose to drive but FREE Casino Resort Tour Buses run Daily from Dallas and on Thursday’s from Fort Worth. You must be a player’s club member but you can sign-up upon arrival. Click HERE to reserve your spot (by 5pm the previous day) and see pick-up locations.
#2 ~ ACCOMADATIONS – Choctaw Casino does have a very nice hotel resort, but the rate was completely out of your budget ( I would have loved to have been able to write a review for them)! After searching hotels in Durant, Ok. though, I found a nice rate at the Hampton Inn & Suites (FREE casino shuttle provided 24/7). Always start by going online to book your reservation and checking to see if they have any special online discounts available. Go even one step beyond and call the hotel and politely ask for a manager and see what is the best discount they could personally give. I saved over $30 on my room rate this way and you will never know unless you ask!
Frugal score #1 for our trip…woot-woot!
#3 ~ PLAYER’S REWARDS CLUB – Sign-up for this FREE Reward Card and immediately receive $10 FREE to play at the slot machines ( you will download the $10 via card to the slot machine you are playing). The rewards system is set up allowing you to receive special offers for complimentary rooms, show tickets and exclusive events based on the amount of time you spend playing. These offers are mailed out monthly.
Frugal score #2…woot-woot!
#4 ~ Always, always, always BUDGET! As with any other vacation destination, set a spending limit and stick to it. When visiting a casino location, you can easily be tempted to spend over what you have set in the budget. Think Self Control! Leave your bank card or credit cards in the hotel safe if your will power is weak. (No Joke)!