The Don’ts of Cracker Barrel RV Camping

By Kyle & Olivia Brady | Founders of Drivin' & Vibin' | We use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases.

The Don’ts of Cracker Barrel RV Camping 

We’ve all needed a place to crash unexpectedly while on the road. There are Walmarts, dispersed camping sites, and a few other places we know we can turn to when the sun is setting, and we haven’t quite made it where we needed to go. But there’s also Cracker Barrel camping, that can offer a brief respite for a night if necessary.

Like all overnight camping spots on private property, each location has it’s own rules to follow. Cracker Barrel is one of our favorite choices, but these ‘don’t’s’ are essential to understand.

Here’s everything you need to know about RV camping at Cracker Barrel.

The Basics of Camping at Cracker Barrel

When you decide to set up shop at a Cracker Barrel, you should always remember that the parking lot of a restaurant isn’t a campground. 

You may be able to stay overnight, but it’s not appropriate to set up camp like you would at a state park or campground. You won’t be expected to pay anything to stay overnight, but you should understand that the Cracker Barrel parking lot, or any parking lot for that matter, isn’t the place to get warm and cozy. 

As with any overnight parking spot, even at Walmart, you should call ahead of time and ask if it’s okay to sleep overnight. Cracker Barrel is a place of business, so be courteous and respectful, even if they say no, as you’re asking for a favor and not vice versa.

Don’t Expect to Park a Big Rig Here

Even though there might appear to be room for a big rig in the parking lot, you shouldn’t park a big rig here. 

Often, there are spots in the back of a Cracker Barrel that are good for 25-foot trailers or Class C RVs, but large motorhomes probably won’t fit in the designated spots. 

Additionally, these large RVs may have a difficult time getting in and out of the parking lot. 

Don’t Overstay Your Welcome

It can be comfortable to sleep in and rest up after a long night of driving, but you should never stay longer than 12 hours at any overnight camp spot. 

Cracker Barrel is not a campground with check-in and check-out times, so be ready to get up the next day and hit the road as you won’t want to overstay your welcome. 

Don’t Worry About a Sleep Mask

The nice thing about Cracker Barrel is that most of their parking lots are much darker than your usual overnight spot, like Walmart. The designated RV and trailer parking is usually behind the restaurant, which keeps the light at a minimum. 

Don’t Forget a Hot Breakfast on Your Way Out

Whether you only stayed for a few hours or slept overnight, it’s always best practice to stop in and patronize the business itself if you stayed there for free. 

There’s nothing better than hitting the road with a full belly and cup of coffee, but it’s also a way of saying thank you to the establishment before you head off to your next destination.

Don’t Set Up Camp at Cracker Barrel

By now you’ve read it several times, but do NOT set up camp at Cracker Barrel. It’s best to leave your RV slides in, if possible, when staying here to avoid drawing too much attention to yourself or the restaurant. 

Also, resist the temptation to bring out camping chairs and avoid turning your generator on to keep noise pollution down. As a best practice, you only want to look like you’re parked there, not sleeping there. You are staying at a business, not a campsite, so be courteous of the restaurant patrons and staff.

Can’t Find a Cracker Barrel?

If you can’t find a Cracker Barrel nearby, you can always look to Walmart, truck stops, and even dispersed camping for a one night stay. We use an app called Harvest Hosts to help us find free camping spots during our trips, so if you can’t seem to find a place to stop, whip out your phone and do some searching there. 

The best part about Harvest Hosts…the camping spots are at vineyards and breweries!

Here’s Our 20 Favorite Free Campsites of 2020

To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy). You should give it a try! As a matter of fact, these free campsites are yours.

Every time you pay federal taxes, you’re contributing to these lands.

Here’s our list of the 20 Best Free Campsites in the USA.

Become a FREE CAMPING INSIDER and join the 100,000 campers that love to score the best site! Simply enter your email below.

One comment

  1. We have a 33′ MH, tow a CRV and have used Cracker Barrel extensively. We always call ahead and I let them know how big we are, after I have looked on the satellite map to see if we can get in. I have never had any one of them say no, although we did have to wait at 1 in North Carolina that was at a Mall, until they closed so that we could go in and park in the lot. We have usually arrived before dinner time and had dinner and sometimes breakfast the following day depending on what time we are going to leave. When we headed east to stay with our son in New York after the outbreak of covid-19, we used Cracker Barrels exclusively coming back across the country from Arizona. By then they were closing at 8 p.m. and opening at 8 a.m. and we were driving long days so we were parking in empty lots when they were closed. We had to go out to Iowa at the end of April for repairs, and spent two nights on the road each way. Once again we used Cracker Barrel and only twice were we there in time to get a meal, which at that point were take out. In every location, we’ve been down the Eastern seaboard and across the country both North and South, we have been warmly welcomed. At each place we’ve been invited to make ourselves comfortable which means that we have put out the bedroom slide at night. in some we have been able to keep the car connected, and others we park it separately. We have even been told by some managers that the designated sites for RVs are not level so we are welcome to go park in a more level location when the parking lot is empty. We did this before c-19 and simply left first thing in the morning. We completely agree that they are the best of the overnight places. And from our perspective, since we use them when we are trying to get somewhere fast, they are even more convenient than Harvest Hosts. Key of course, is having permission and not abusing the privilege.

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