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What to Know About Overnight Parking at Cracker Barrel

FMCA: What to Know About Overnight Parking at Cracker Barrel

If you’ve never eaten at a Cracker Barrel before, you’re really missing out! The restaurant is famous for their delicious home-cooking style of food, country farmhouse atmosphere, and novelty gift shops. However, many non-RVers don’t know that Cracker Barrel is also well-known in the camping world for being friendly to overnight RV parking.

With many of their restaurants designating spots specifically for RVs, parking at a Cracker Barrel can be an unconventional but helpful solution for those who need somewhere to park overnight while traveling. To help you know when it’s allowed and what to expect, FMCA, in partnership with RV Trader, is breaking down what to know beforehand, plus tips for parking overnight at a Cracker Barrel.

What to Know Before Parking Overnight

Do they allow RV parking?

It’s important to note that not every Cracker Barrel restaurant allows overnight RV parking. You always want to get permission from the restaurant manager before staying overnight. If you do get permission, you’ll likely need to ask these questions as well: 

  • Can I run a generator?
  • Can I extend my awning and slide-outs??
  • Can I put down my leveling jacks?

What can I expect?

Cracker Barrel generally designates an area of their parking lot for RV and bus parking so that it does not interfere with general customer parking. The spots are around 40-foot long and do not have any hookups, so plan your power and water needs accordingly. 

You can expect the restaurant to be busy during mealtimes, especially during the weekends. Most stores are open at 6am and will close at 10pm or 11pm. It is not recommended to arrive after-hours unless you have already received permission.

FMCA’s Tips to Ensure a Positive Experience

Make sure it is allowed

This is worth repeating: you need to get permission from the restaurant manager to park overnight, even if you’ve heard from fellow RVer’s that it is allowed. While most Cracker Barrels allow overnight parking, there are some that do not. You can either call the restaurant ahead of time or go inside and ask when you arrive. Make sure that the person who gives you permission is a manager who has the authority to make the decision.

Be respectful of your surroundings

Remember that you are staying in a business’s parking lot, not a campground. That means keeping your noise to a minimum and not disturbing customers or disrupting employees from their normal business. Do not set up lawn chairs and grill your dinner in front of your RV. 

Show your appreciation

Make sure to be very polite and thank the restaurant for letting you stay overnight. In the morning before you hit the road, fill up on breakfast or at least buy something from their gift shop. It is a good gesture to show you are thankful for the service they provided you. 

Only stay for one night

Don’t get greedy and take advantage of Cracker Barrel’s generosity. Stay for only one night before you continue on with your RV adventure. There might even be some other travelers who will need your parking space the next night, so don’t hang out all day.

Leave the parking lot in better shape than when you arrived

Clean up after your pets and pick up any trash you may create. Even if you see some trash that isn’t yours, help them keep their parking lots looking nice by taking that to the nearest garbage can or dumpster as well. 

Stay safe at all times

If you feel like the area is not safe or it makes you feel uneasy at all, do not stay there! There are plenty of other options for free overnight RV parking, so don’t risk it. There will be no security on site, and no employees between the end of the evening shift and the beginning of the morning shift the next day. 

Final Thoughts

When you think about it, it’s pretty amazing that there is a business willing to let RVers park overnight on their travels without asking for any payment in return. It’s a very generous service provided by Cracker Barrel, and you certainly don’t want to be the one to mess it up. Always get permission, respect the business and its property, employees, and customers, and leave your parking lot spotless. And, of course, don’t forget to actually go into the restaurant to eat some of that delicious food and shop in their unique gift shop.

 


 

FMCA educates, equips, and empowers RV owners in their journey to creating, experiencing, and benefiting from the outdoor lifestyle they dream of and deserve. FMCA is your ally to the outdoor lifestyle you love and enjoy.

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Ethan Smith
Ethan Smith
is the Content Manager at Trader Interactive, managing marketing content development for ATV Trader, Boatline, Commercial Truck Trader, Cycle Trader, Equipment Trader, RV Trader, and more. Ethan believes in using accessible language to elevate conversations about industry topics relevant to marketplace buyers and sellers.

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5 Responses

  1. At least one of our local Cracker Barrel stores allows overnight RV parking. But, recently my wife and I went there for lunch. We entered the lot from the rear because we had been in the shopping center behind that restaurant. We were blocked from the parking lane by a bumper pull rig. The trailer was in one of the RV parking spots, but it was quite long and the dually pickup remained connected and stuck out so far that it closed off entry to that parking lane. The only way to reach those parking spaces was to go all the way around and enter from the other end. I considered complaining to the manager, but decided not because I wouldn’t want all RV-ers to suffer just because one person is incredably inconsiderate.

  2. The RV sites are also meant for buses. They are very narrow so do not plan on putting any slideouts out. And putting your levelers out is generally a no-no in a parking lot. Your neighbor will only be about 3 feet away from you so generator use would not be at all wise. If you are towing a trailer or pulling a toad, you will not fit in one of the sites unless you are extremely tiny.

  3. My wife and I have stayed overnight at many Cracker Barrel’s over the 20 years we have been RVing. Our kids even make fun of us saying that we have visited so many Cracker Barrel’s they should name a dish after us. The food is wonderful. We always have breakfast in the morning honestly don’t need to look at a menu as we both have our favorites. We love dinners too. Thanks Cracker Barrel for being a friend to RVs and to serving some of the best food you can find on the road.

  4. I for gosh sakes make sure you eat at least one meal there either at night or in the morning that’s the right thing to do 🤷‍♂️

  5. CB is the ONLY business I know who provides special parking spaces for RVs and Buses, other than a few casinos here and there. They are not always long enough, but the parking lot can usually manage us. We rarely use them, however, given the CB lots are so big as a rule that we park in back or on the side, rather than stick out of the RV slots. We usually arrive after hours, in which case we park in rear or on the side, and plan to get up early for breakfast and then move on before the crowds arrive. And we ALWAYS eat at the CB at least once when we stay there.

    We are constant CB diners, at home and on the road. And we frequently hit their parking lots when traveling, both for the ease, the price, AND the food.

    We agree with seeking permission to overnight, and it helps to do so from the dinner table if you arrive in time to eat. We personally don’t worry about arriving after-hours and staying without permission, but we’ll always check for signage that disallows overnighting.

    When at Cracker Barrel, we disagree with putting out awnings and getting too settled in, like putting out chairs etc. Sometimes you must put out slides to use the rig properly. Gensets are a special call each time, considering the area, how close residences/apartments may be, how noisy your genset is, etc. But the idea is, you’re already “big”, don’t make yourself bigger than you need to be. Leveling jacks are often necessary for stable life, and are low impact to the asphalt, and the remaining question is how late and how noisy to deploy them? I use an impact drill on our little trailer, and it’s noisy, so sometimes I forego it.

    Always remember also that 99% of the non-RVers dining at CB are NOT familiar with CB’s RV-friendly policies, and act diplomatically!

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