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RV gives you the feel of the home on the wheels while being away from your house. It brings joy, delight, and glee to a regular, boring road trip, when you can move around, relax and even nap, while your partner drives.
You can travel to your favorite destinations, enjoy the scenery, visit new places, and meet new people, and much more but most of this is not free. Wouldn’t it be lovely if you find a few things that you can do for free, such as overnight RV parking?
Many RVers know that numerous stores offer overnight parking for free in their parking lots, but not all of them are aware that Cracker Barrel does that for you too!
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store is an American chain of restaurants and gift stores with a Southern country theme. It’s an immensely popular store with over 650 outlets all over the United States.
What’s better than a free overnight RV parking?
Free overnight RV parking at Cracker Barrel, with its tasty food and country-themed store and interior!
Find everything you need to know about Cracker Barrel overnight RV parking down below:
Does Cracker Barrel Allow Overnight Parking?
Yes, it does.
Most of the outlets of Cracker Barrel allow overnight RV parking at their parking lots. However, some don’t.
You can call the manager before you arrive to check and confirm if they allow free overnight RV parking. Usually, it’s at the outlet’s manager’s discretion to deal with such permissions.
Mostly the managers at Cracker Barrel not only allow you to stay overnight but are very welcoming as well. But in a few cases, they may deny your request as a manager has to consider a variety of factors before they allow you such a privilege.
You must know that sometimes the local ordinances don’t allow overnight parking or stay at any parking lot, taking the authority from the manager.
RV Parking Lot At Cracker Barrel
When you plan to stay at a Cracker Barrel’s parking lot, look for a silhouette of a bus under the restaurant’s sign on the highway. The sign usually indicates they have 40-foot long parking spaces for buses and RVs.
If you have talked to the manager at Cracker Barrel and he allows you to park and stay overnight, you can drive to the area specified for RVs, which is mostly (not always) at the backside of the restaurant.
This parking area can have three to ten parking spaces marked for large vehicles. However, every cracker barrel is different, while some may have ten wide parking spaces, and others may provide three narrow designated areas.
The parking lot is well-lit, which is a favorable point.
Why Do Some Outlets Do Not Allow Overnight RV Parking?
Some of the outlets do not allow overnight RV parking due to various factors. Some of which are discussed below.
- At Cracker Barrel, the 18-wheeler food delivery truck usually arrives in the morning to stock up the supplies. If there is less room for the maneuverability of the vehicle in the parking lot, either the manager won’t allow you to park overnight or request you to move early in the morning before the truck arrives.
- The prohibition of overnight stay and parking by local jurisdiction at many states takes the authority from the manager to allow such an act.
- The crime rate at that particular town is high, due to which the manager doesn’t allow overnight parking at their parking lot, to ensure your safety and to avoid any unforeseen situation.
- Due to the misconduct of some people who don’t understand their foul behavior can take privilege from them and others in the future. For instance,
- Staying more than one night or the time allowed by the manager
- Making the area dirty by littering or leaving the trash behind
- Damaging the restaurant’s property
Are There Any Prerequisites?
There are no prerequisites written in stone for you overnight RV parking at Cracker Barrel. However, we would recommend you to call the restaurant’s manager before your arrival.
You can ask if that specific Cracker Barrel outlet allows overnight RV parking. Moreover, ask if there are any particular requisites you need to meet for your stay through the night.
Don’t forget to ask the following questions as well:
- Can you extend your awnings?
- Are you allowed to run your generator?
- Can you spread out your slide outs?
- Are you allowed to put your leveling jacks down?
Another essential thing to discuss is the time of your expected arrival i.e., whether you’ll be arriving during the restaurant’s timings or after the pack up.
It is always better to arrive before closing time, so you can meet personally and introduce yourself to the manager.
Be Responsible and Courteous
Even though there are no restrictions from the management of Cracker Barrel during your overnight parking and stay at their parking lot, you must abide by few rules with your own free will.
Some rules to follow:
- Be courteous and stay away from any dispute or quarrel whatsoever.
- Do not lower your leveling jacks down without permission.
- Turn on your generator only if the manager allows you to do so.
- Don’t make any unnecessary noise.
- Clean up after your pets, if you have any.
- Don’t litter or leave any trash behind.
- Avoid extending your awnings or slide out.
- Don’t forget you’re just staying overnight, it’s not camping, avoid lounging on your chairs or taking out your grills to barbeque.
- If the manager has allowed you on the condition of moving out before the delivery truck arrives, respect his trust in you and keep your word.
- Last but not least, stay for one night and hit the road the very next morning.
Are there any Security or other Concerns?
Generally, the area, specific to RV parking is at the back of Cracker Barrel. It is a well-lit place that poses no immediate danger.
Nevertheless, it is always better to be extra cautious at a new place. You know nothing about the people or the site.
Get done with your errands, finish all you need to do before the restaurant closes for the day, and get inside the safety of your RV. Lock all the doors, windows and storage compartments and be safe.
Are You Alone in the Parking Lot?
The answer to this question is variable.
Sometimes you are alone with no one parked beside you while sometimes you can see other RVs parked near you or somewhere else in the parking lot. It indicates that you are not alone and other people are spending the night at the parking lot as well.
You can also check if there is a security guard at the parking lot. If yes, we would recommend you introduce yourself and kindly ask him to watch over you.
Furthermore, since Cracker Barrel outlets are mostly along the highway, you can always hear road-noise, which wouldn’t let you feel lonely.
What to Do In Case of any Unforeseen Activity?
If you happen to witness something sketchy, refrain from going out of your RV, never take the matters in your hands, call the police if necessary.
Mostly the Cracker Barrel restaurants are located on highways. If in any situation, you feel something vague or just don’t feel right, you can always drive away and stay somewhere else for the night.
Nothing is more important than your safety.
Do Your Research and Know About the Place Ahead of Time
Sometimes, an outlet is present in an area with a high crime rate. As you are traveling and can’t possibly know that beforehand, we would recommend you to take some precautionary steps.
Ask the manager directly and discuss your concerns with him.
You can also call the local police and enquire about that specific outlet. They can give you a better idea or can recommend a better option if the one you’re looking for is not feasible.
Does It Cost Money?
Overnight RV parking at Cracker Barrel is free. They don’t charge you anything for your stay. However, the permission is strictly for parking only, and you cannot camp there.
Don’t think about extending your awnings or lounging on your chairs while grilling in the parking lot. Park your RV as if you are another customer who has come to enjoy a delicious meal and will be going afterward.
Are there any Hook-ups Available at the Cracker Barrel Parking Lot?
No, there are no hook-ups available at the parking lot. You get a place to sleep, reboot, and refresh. It’s not a camper’s area where you get all the facilities.
Please keep in mind; there is neither electricity or water hook up nor dump station facility available. You wouldn’t get anything to charge your gadgets, prepare yourself accordingly.
In addition to that, you can only run your generator if the manager allows you. If you get permission, please ask if there is any quiet time that you should abide by? The quiet time is to ensure that your generator’s noise isn’t disturbing the other folks present in the parking.
What’s in it for Cracker Barrel if the Parking is Free?
The management of Cracker Barrel wants your business. They won’t charge you a penny for your overnight stay, but deep down, expect you to buy a meal or two in return.
Why not have dinner at Cracker Barrel or buy some amazing and cool items from their store, it is only fair as you are getting a well-lit and safe place for free. Nevertheless, their food is scrumptious, and the country-themed store has some exceptionally sporadic items available.
At most of the locations, the stores have a Book-on-Tape subscription service where you can join, then pick-up and drop-off new audiobooks at any other site across the country.
It’s a win-win situation for you. Stay for the night, have a delicious dinner, sleep sound, and hit the road after having a delightful breakfast.
How To Find The Closest Cracker Barrel That Allows Overnight RV Parking?
Isn’t it extremely frustrating to find out that unexpected expenses almost ruin your budget?
You plan to stay at a location, assuming it would be free only to find they don’t allow overnight parking at all. In such a situation, how can you check if the specific outlets you’re going to visit offer one or not?
Well, here are some ways that can help you find an answer to your questions:
Visit the Website
You can visit Cracker Barrel’s official website and check the location of the closest outlet. Their locations section will show you a TRIP FINDER/ STORE LOCATOR page that allows you to see Cracker Barrels along your route.
Call the Manager
We have mentioned earlier in the article that you should look for a silhouette of a bus under the restaurant’s sign if you’re looking to stay overnight at Cracker Barrel. However, you must know that the sign doesn’t necessarily mean you can park overnight.
It is still at the manager’s discretion to allow the stay. The sign can only indicate the presence of 40-foot long parking space, which could be for their delivery trucks. Thus calling the manager and asking him is always the best thing to do.
Another factor to keep in mind is the fact that not all the employees are aware of the restaurant’s policy on overnight RV parking. Please ask for the manager specifically and discuss the need. Don’t forget to inquire about any prerequisites.
Overnight RV Parking
A trendy and authentic way to know about overnight RV parking is through an app known as OvernightRVParking. This application provides data of over 14000 overnight parking spots for RVs in both the United States and Canada.
You can get the exact status of an outlet, be it ‘RV parking allowed’ or ‘No RV parking.’ The approval and the disapproval eliminate any doubt what so ever, therefore prompting you to act accordingly. Moreover, you get to know about any rules regarding overnight parking at a specific location.
The membership costs $29.99 per year, and you get real-time updates and reviews from many RVers as well.
What Are the Alternatives to Cracker Barrel Overnight Parking Like Wal-Mart?
What if you get to a Cracker Barrel only to find the parking is full or the manager doesn’t allow overnight RV parking?
Don’t worry. There are plenty of other options available that allow almost similar facilities. You can stay there for free as well. Some of these places are Costco, Wal-Mart, Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shops, Flying J Truck shop, and many more.
Costco stores are available at numerous locations in the United States and Canada. Most of the sites allow free overnight parking for RVs. However, some don’t. Always call the manager prior to arrival and confirm if you can stay there overnight.
The reason for denying the permission could be due to the ban from local ordinances or some other factors due to which the manager decided not to extend this facility.
Although you need a membership card for shopping and refueling, overnight RV parking is free. You must keep in mind that there are no hook-ups available at Costco.
Wal-Mart stores are available all over the United States and Canada. You don’t have to go entirely out of your way to find one. Some of these locations allow overnight RV parking.
You can use the OvernightRVParking App or Wal-Mart Locator to check which location allows overnight RV parking.
We would recommend you call ahead and talk to the manager to eliminate any ambiguity. It is always the manager who has the final say in the matter if there is no restriction from the local authorities.
No hook-ups are available for your RV at Wal-Mart parking lot.
Cabela’s offers free overnight parking space for your Rv. They have an area designated for RVs, mostly at the back of their store. However the spots are limited and are available on first come first serve basis. Call the manager beforehand to confirm the store’s policy and book the place.
Cabela’s offers a dump station facility for your RV. You can dump your gray water or black water on a payment of five dollars. Moreover, you get a water connection, which is not potable, though.
No electricity hook up is available.
Are any of the Alternatives Better Options?
What if you don’t want to stay overnight at a dull parking lot with no hook up available? You still have a variety of options available. These alternatives don’t come completely free, but they are worth it, after all.
Harvest Host brings you access to more than 650 locations all over the United States through their website and App upon a subscription of $79 per year.
These splendid locations include wineries, farms, orchids, and hundreds of other amazing spots with scenic views. You can get access to more than 300 golf courses around the United States if you get an additional subscription of $20 as well.
RV owners in the United States have formed a club known as Boondockers Welcome. They assist each other by listing their property and offering it to fellow RVers for free overnight parking.
There are more than 1000 locations all over North America under Boondockers Welcome.
The owners may provide you free electric or water hook up as well.
Cracker Barrel is a great place to park your RV overnight and have delicious food for dinner or breakfast. The parking lot they offer is spacious and well-lit.
Plan ahead, save hundreds of dollars, and enjoy your free overnight RV parking at Cracker Barrel. Be thankful for their courteous offer and have a meal at their restaurant or make a purchase from the country store to show your gratitude.