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Can You Park Overnight at a Cracker Barrel?

Can You Park Overnight at a Cracker Barrel?

Do Cracker Barrel and overnight parking go together? Think about the possibilities of that pairing. This would mean you could pull up in the evening, park your RV, sleep, and then wake up to a Cracker Barrel breakfast right outside your door. It sounds too good to be true. But is it possible? Can you park overnight at a Cracker Barrel? Find out.

What Is Cracker Barrel?

Let’s back up a bit. If you’ve never been to a Cracker Barrel, you might be wondering why Cracker Barrel overnight parking sounds too good to be true. What’s the fuss all about? Cracker Barrel is a restaurant, but this isn’t just any restaurant.

The first Cracker Barrel location opened in Lebanon, Tenn., in 1969 with the official title of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store. We’ll let their own words do the talking, “Our history has always been rooted in the warm hospitality and homestyle cooking that makes every location special.” 

Cracker Barrel is One of the Best Free Places to Park an RV Overnight!

Now with over 600 restaurants in 45 states across the U.S., it offers all-day breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But what makes them stand out from their competition is the country store on every restaurant. It sells homestyle goods that match well with its homestyle cooking and family atmosphere. And you can’t miss their iconic front porches, complete with rocking chairs.

But really, most of us know that Cracker Barrel is famous for its homemade cornbread, fried apples, and biscuits. But we also can’t forget their grits and country-fried steak and gravy. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Cracker Barrel overnight parking was possible?

Is Cracker Barrel Overnight Parking Allowed?

It is! Pack your bags, and get your RV ready to go. Most Cracker Barrel locations allow overnight parking. Some may fall under municipality-wide overnight parking bans, so we recommend always calling ahead and verifying before you settle in for the night.

Remember that dream we mentioned earlier? The one about waking up with a Cracker Barrel breakfast right outside your door? It’s not a dream. It’s real! Many RVers have spent the night at a Cracker Barrel. They’ve enjoyed home-cooked goodness for both dinner and breakfast. A dream come true.

Pro Tip: If you want to camp for free but don’t want to get caught, make sure to Avoid These 7 Things That Will Give You Away When Stealth Camping.

Cracker Barrel sign on blue sky background
Spend the night snoozing safely in a Cracker Barrel parking lot.

Tips for Cracker Barrel Overnight Parking

Let’s keep that dream a reality. Too many free RV parking places have been shut down due to a lack of respect for the property and business. Here are tips to follow to keep Cracker Barrel overnight parking going. 

Obtain Permission

Cracker Barrel is a great place to settle down for an evening of rest. However, it’s important to remember that Cracker Barrel is not a campsite – it’s a restaurant. Before parking in the lot, obtaining permission from the store manager or other Cracker Barrel personnel is essential. Once you get approval, you’ll be able to enjoy a peaceful night of rest before heading out again the next morning – after a hearty Cracker Barrel breakfast, of course.

Park in Designated Area

Cracker Barrel generally has around five RV-specific parking spots at each restaurant, making it a breeze to know where to park. Parking in these designated spots helps to ensure that you won’t be blocking other vehicles or, worse yet, getting towed away due to no available spots. Pulling in for the night and leaving the following day when overnighting at Cracker Barrel is easy to travel in an RV with these RV-specific spots.

Obey Posted Rules

As with anywhere you park your RV overnight, whether a campground or a boondocking spot in the middle of a national forest, obeying posted rules is a must. The same goes for Cracker Barrel overnight parking. Whatever rules it posts, follow them. The more we do so, the more these convenient RV parking spots will stick around.

Stay One Night Only

Cracker Barrel is not a campground. Even if they have parking spots specifically for RVs, these spaces are for parking throughout the day, not for multiple overnight stays. Yes, it’s a great place to pull in for the evening while driving to your final destination, but that’s all. Stay the night, eat breakfast, and move on down the road.

Cracker Barrel overnight parking sign for RV and Bus parking lot
Stay inside your vehicle and do not make noise while camping in a Cracker Barrel parking lot.

Don’t Set Up Camp

No matter how comfortable and safe you may feel when parked overnight at Cracker Barrel, you’re not camping. You are there for one night. There should be no campfires, outdoor cooking, camp chair, awnings, or picnic tables. Enjoy your evening, but do so knowing you’re parked overnight, not on vacation in the parking lot.

Don’t Use Hydraulic Jacks

On that same note, it follows that since you are not setting up camp, you should also not be using hydraulic jacks. Most parking lots are level enough for comfort for one night, even if you are not perfectly level. 

If you need to set up like you’re camping, stop at Cracker Barrel for lunch, and head down the road to your nearest campground. You can use leveling jacks there.

Enjoy a Cracker Barrel Dinner or Breakfast

This tip should be the easiest tip to follow, not to mention, also the most enjoyable. Think about it this way. You were allowed to park overnight for free in a parking lot owned by a business. 

Seeing how Cracker Barrel is in business to make money, it makes sense to pay them back for their kindness and free parking. Eat at their restaurant. That’s the best thing about Cracker Barrel overnight parking.

Leave No Trace

Again, it doesn’t matter where you are camping for the night, be a responsible camper and leave no trace. This means picking up after yourself, your dog, and your kids. The parking space you were in for that night should look like you were never there once you’ve left.

Cracker Barrel parking lot exterior
Most Cracker Barrels will have separate parking spots for RVs to spend the night in.

Is Overnight Parking at Cracker Barrel Safe?

Safety is never guaranteed, no matter where you camp. But overall, most Cracker Barrel overnight parking lots are considered relatively safe. The parking lots are often well-lit. There are generally other businesses nearby, meaning you are not tucked away in a dark corner. And, more than likely, you’ll have one or two other RVs parked in the lot with you.

As with any other overnight spots, trust your gut. Feeling safe when parked overnight is a must. If there is anything that makes you feel unsafe, you might be better off moving on down the road as long as it is safe to do so.

Aerial view of Cracker Barrel parking lot
There is nothing better than waking up to hot and ready pancakes just steps from your RV.

Are There Other Stores That Allow Overnight RV Parking?

As great as Cracker Barrel overnight parking is, sometimes there are no Cracker Barrels on your planned route. But, no worries. If you need to make a stop for a night, other stores also allow overnight parking.

One of the most popular stores known for overnight parking is Walmart. Not all Walmarts allow it, so follow any rules posted on parking lot signs. Always be sure to ask permission.

Other stores that may allow overnight parking are Cabelas, Bass Pro Shop, Home Depot, and Planet Fitness. Many other big box stores may also allow overnight parking. You just need to ask. And once you’ve gotten permission, you still need to follow the tips listed above for Cracker Barrel. You may not be able to grab a sit-down meal, but you can patronize the store.

Pro Tip: Can’t find a Cracker Barrel? No problem! Try staying at Walmart instead. Just make sure to know these Dos and Don’ts of Walmart RV Parking before you park for the night.

Overnight RV Camping in a Cracker Barrel PARKING LOT! - We’re Locked Out AGAIN!?

Is Cracker Barrel Overnight Parking a Good Idea?

Cracker Barrel overnight parking is a good idea for weary travelers who need a place to rest. The company is well known for its home-cooked food, family atmosphere, and affordable prices, making it a popular overnight stay for road trips. 

If you’re looking for a comfortable place to stay overnight in your RV while traveling, be sure to stop at one of Cracker Barrel’s many locations. Your stomach and wallet will thank you.

Have you ever spent the night at a Cracker Barrel? We want to hear about your experience in the comments!

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Tom & Caitlin Morton of Mortons on the Move gave up the stationary life for one where they are constantly on the move. They are full-time travelers, television hosts, and digital media producers.
They left their jobs, sold their house and possessions, and hit the road in September 2015 in their full-time “home on wheels”. Since then they have traveled the US, Canada, and even internationally by RV.
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Patton Bost

Monday 2nd of January 2023

We went to New Orleans this past season from the Charlotte area looking for a warm Christmas. So much for that! Still had a great time, though. On the way back we called ahead to the Cracker Barrel in La Grange, Ga. We told them we’d like to park for the night. “Come on in” they said. That was great. Soon though we realized we were running out of daylight and had been driving 7 hrs and were 2 hrs away. So we called the CB in Opelika, Ala. Informed them of our needs and “ Come on in” was their response also. She said just park behind the store. When we arrived I went in to confirm that everything was a go. I have a 30 ft tagalong so I leveled her up, dropped the stabilizers and put out the slide. We went in for a good supper, relaxed and got a good night’s sleep. At 7 am we went in for breakfast and was on the road by 8. This was our 1st long trip in our camper. All our previous travels had been 5 hour one way drives or less. We stayed at a Ga. State park on the way down so this was our 1st boondocking experience. I can’t say enough good things about Cracker Barrel. It was a large lot with a Comfort Inn beside it, very well lit area. Cracker Barrel’s are the place to stay if you need an overnight sleep. One tip is to look ahead on Google maps using the satellite setting and check out the size of the lot and surrounding businesses. Not every CB has a big lot. And be sure to call ahead. I would rather stay at a CB than a WalMart if able.

Ray Davis

Sunday 1st of January 2023

Fled NY last week for warmer climates. Cracker Barrel is such a great option. Dinner and Breakfast just a short walk away. No need to search for a parking lot, when seeking a meal, that will accommodate you and your rig in an unknown area. If you are sensitive to noise as I am, bring ear plugs. Although the parking is a quiet atmosphere after 10 or so, note that most Cracker Barrel's are located next to Interstate roadways. If you think about it, you exit your travel route and enter the parking lot in a minute or two and it allows for a quick start in the morning. Decent food at a bargain price. A lot of good in one easy stop.

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