Are you thinking of heading to Cracker Barrel for a stopover during your next RV travel day?
It can be a nice place to stop overnight and get a few hours of sleep. However, there are some unspoken rules to know before going. You don’t want to end up getting blasted like these people on Reddit.
Why Was the Redditor Disgusted?
Reddit user Anonforresearch recently stayed at Cracker Barrel while traveling through the area. The Redditor arrived 30 minutes before the store closing, and they were disgusted to see that the parking lot resembled an RV park.
When they pulled in, they saw “several huge pull behinds with [all] their slides out taking up multiple [RV] spaces, and the trash cans were overflowing with full trash bags…”. When user Anonforresearch woke up to leave before the Cracker Barrel opened, every RV was still there, and it seemed like they had no plans of going.
Anonforresearch says, “There were two people standing outside their RVs chit-chatting in pajamas. Several huge pull behinds with ALL their slides out taking up multiple RV spaces…I’m sure I’m part of the problem by having even stayed several hours but can’t we do better than this and be appreciative that we have an “emergency spot” when rest areas aren’t an option”
Here’s a sampling of comments from the post:
“I’m still bitter about the time I pulled into a Cracker Barrel one night, after hours in the rain, to find a single travel trailer had parked across all five of the RV spots, had all of their slides out, and was running an open frame generator to watch TV.” – jestergoblin
“hard to believe people can’t grasp how this looks from the other side of the conversation. talk about overstaying one’s welcome.” -FlowStateVibes
“I’m learning it’s more losers in campers than not. It’s so trashy at campgrounds now. I hate camping in any campground. They pack you In And charge too much. Then do nothing with issues on site.” -dreamsthebigdreams
Pro Tip: Is Overnight Parking Even Safe? Here’s the Answer.
Can You Spend the Night in Cracker Barrel Parking Lots?
You can spend the night at Cracker Barrel in their parking lot for free. As the Redditor stated, you need to appreciate that you have an “emergency spot” when rest areas aren’t an option.
Cracker Barrel isn’t an RV park. It is a parking lot available for short-term stays as a stopover.
Rules to Follow While Staying at Cracker Barrel Parking Lots
There are some rules to follow before staying in a Cracker Barrel parking lot. Let’s go over them to make sure you’re ready before spending another night in their parking lot.
When you arrive – or better yet – even before you arrive, call ahead to make sure they allow overnight RV stays. Ask if there’s a spot in the parking lot where they prefer you park. You can also see if they want you to leave by a particular time.
It would be best to find out any other instructions they’d like to pass along. Even if online reviewers or camping apps say you can park overnight, it’s best practice to ask. Also, only take up one spot. If there are signs saying no overnight parking is allowed, heed their warning and don’t park there.
You’re Not Camping
Please refrain from doing anything that would make others ask,” …is this an [RV] park now?” like the original Redditor. There won’t be hook-ups at Cracker Barrel. This spot is for parking and sleeping, not for living. Don’t set up things outside your RV or pull out all your slides.
It isn’t a place to set up stabilizers or unhook your tow vehicles. It’s best not to run your generator (especially while the business is open), grill, or sit in lawn chairs outdoors. Pull in for the night and leave early to get on your way. Reddit user Anonforresearch worried that a failure to follow these rules would make it so that “…Cracker Barrel isn’t going to let people sleep in their lots out of necessity…” anymore.
WARNING: Is Cracker Barrel Going to End Free RV Parking?
Don’t Overstay Your Welcome
This isn’t a place to sleep in and stay into the morning or afternoon. It’s a courtesy for Cracker Barrel to open up their parking lot to you. In return, it’s best to leave before Cracker Barrel opens. The only reason you should stay after they’ve opened is if you’re waiting to order your breakfast.
Support the Restaurant
Please go ahead and buy something if you’re staying. Sure, you’re not getting hook-ups, but you have a safe space to park. Support the restaurant that’s opened up a spot for you. Order something before they close or order your breakfast before heading out in the morning, but choose at least one option
Is It Safe to Stay at Cracker Barrel?
Cracker Barrel stores are well-lit locations to park overnight. They may not have security or a gated fence, but they’re a safe place to get a few hours of shut-eye. Make sure your RV and tow vehicle, if applicable, are well within the lines and aren’t too long for the parking spaces.
Do Other Businesses Allow Overnight Stays?
Several businesses allow overnight stays in addition to Cracker Barrel. Walmart historically allowed overnight RVs, although many stores no longer have RV overnight parking. Sam’s Club and Costco are also reliable options. Cabella’s and Bass Pro Shops, Camping World, and home improvement stores typically allow overnight RV parking, too. Finally, casinos and truck stops usually allow RV parking and may even have RV-designated sites.
To find overnight parking options, use websites like freecampsites.net or AllStays. Some stores may have signs posted against overnight parking or may have city rules against overnight stays in vehicles and campers.
Be Courteous When Staying Overnight at Cracker Barrel
If you’re traveling to your next destination and need a quick stopover spot, Cracker Barrel can be a great option. Be sure to call the restaurant to get permission ahead of time. Leave no trace and keep a low profile while you’re there. Remember: this is a parking lot, not camping.
Have you ever stayed overnight in your RV at a Cracker Barrel?
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I would think that the only reason Cracker Barrel allows overnight parking is they expect they will get some business from us. You should add to your rules for staying at CB – do business with them. Yes arrive late and leave eary, but more importantly do business with them.
We have stayed at several Cracker Barrels and always Park in the designated lines,, always have a feed a cat fish for supper for myself ,,,and their chicken for my wife ,,and then breakfast the next morning ,,,I do not put the slide out unless I am parked at the edge and the slide goes over grass,,, . I never open a lawn chair while there either,, have never had a problem and don’t think I ever caused one ,,,t t y l ,,
I stayed at a Cracker Barrel in Wesley Chapel Fl. at the end of January ’21, and saw several RV’s not parked in RV spots with slides open and chairs out. It was only 6pm. I spoke to a manager and was told that management had relaxed their rules since the pandemic, that they understood that people just need to get out and relax.
I still kept parking lot etiquette, but it’s gonna be fun if that CB decides to reverse their current position…
Cracker Barrel is a restaurant not an RV Park. If you can afford high dollar RV’s then certainly you can afford to camp in designated areas. Forest Service Land, BLM, City, County, State Parks, etc. etc. Stay the hell out of Walmart, Lowes, Cracker Barrel and every other area that IS NOT a place for RV’s to camp overnight. Hopefully before long, we will see more signs in parking lots prohibiting overnight parking.
I’m not new to RVing, but I am getting ramped up to full time it. Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I have to agree with supporting Cracker Barrell with your business, it’ a win win when everyone does their part.
First of all that Reddit user was parking for free. Which means you have no say. If he doesn’t like it. Shell out the money for a campground. All the latest generations are pretty much rude and don’t care about anybody but themselves. So get use to this and expected to get worse. What he’s doing by complaining is called “LOOKING A GIFT HORSE IN THE MOUTH”.
Or “BEGGARS CAN’T BE CHOOSERS”
I wonder if that Reddit user who arrive just before closing got the next day and spent money at that Cracker Barrel or just drove on. Sounds like he expected something for free and was happy with it.
At the local Walmart I seen class a&c more than one have slides out . Obviously there’s a lot of Rich snobs out there.
Anybody that travels overseas knows everybody hates Americas except Switzerland they’re neutral. Why you ask because they’re snobs and always want things there own way . I seen it lots of times traveling overseas.
I suppose with all the increase in rvs the last couple years it’s every man for himself
Well, the world is full of lazy slobs and inconsiderate, trashy SOB’s. They’re everywhere from free spots at Cracker Barrel, WalMart, CostCo, etc to even the high end ‘resorts’ in Key West. Crank your tolerance knob up to the max as I do & try avoiding confrontations unless they get right into your space as if you had the awning out and were under it. And just like in the campgrounds, I’ll tend to pick up the trash around my site. But as always the good things like free sites is always ruined by a few slobs
I’ve stayed at dozens of Cracker Barrels over the past year and never saw any of the things described in this article. I’m sure it’s happened, but my experience has been the RVer’s are quiet, neat, and respectful. I’m certainly low-key and keep my spot clean. I’m in a camper van and rarely if ever open a door when I’m there unless it’s to go inside the building to eat.
This is nothing new. Walmart has been through all of this for many years, and has eliminated this service in many locations because too many people can’t, or won’t, follow a few simple rules. Looks like many of them have moved over to Cracker Barrel.
Undoubtedly many of these people are new RVers as well, part of the Covid-induced surge in RV popularity. But lack of consideration for others isn’t anything new, although it does seem to be getting worse.
I’ve been RVing for 30 years or so, and I learned a long time ago that if you want to avoid inconsiderate campers, you have to get away from people altogether. If you’re using freecampsites.net or Allstays to find free camping areas, just be aware that many others are too.
Between those sites as well as Youtube vloggers who want to share their every RV, car-camping or rubber-tramp experience online, peaceful and relatively unknown destinations are getting harder to find. I know of a few, but I’m not about to say where they are.
@Neil, more and more often there isnt any space in campgrounds to spend a few hours to rest. Too many campers, too few campgrounds. Sometimes all that is left is a parking lot. And do not try parking in truck stops! Truckers
cant find spaces either. Dont be so quick to judge. Safe places are becoming scarce.
Let’s be part of the solution to the housing crisis, not the problem!
@sdw, That Reddit user was not complaining about what he got for free, he was appreciative of that but worried that the people who were camping there would cause CB to eventually change their policy and stop allowing overnight RV parking. His complaint was entirely about the campers taking advantage, not with CB’s current policy.
My thinking is that the businesses you mention should restrict overnight parking to camper vans and class B campers no longer than 24 feet long and prohibit all towed vehicles and generators and all opening of slides. Also, they should require all guests to remain inside their vehicles whenever they are not inside of the business establishments.
We’ve never had to boondock anywhere, but if we ever do, I guess we’ll be out of luck. We have a big, honkin’ trailer with multiple slides, and every one of those slides has to be extended, or we can’t get into the trailer to sit down or sleep. That might be the case with some of the rigs people have commented on in this article. Also, the trailer can get very hot inside when the weather is warm. It takes a while to cool down after stopping, so that might explain why some people are sitting outside, sipping a cold one, while they wait for the interior to cool down. Also, after a long drive, it helps to stretch the old legs and walk the old dogs, etc. Most of the RV’ers I’ve met are kind and considerate people who don’t want to “ruin” anything for anyone.
I’m sorry to read about people acting badly at Cracker Barrel. We have used this over night RV parking a few times over the last couple of years. We go have seen people dumping transmission fluid underneath their RV and then driving away and leaving it we ended up cleaning it up the next morning because we felt so bad that anybody would do that they dump trash in the dumpsters and make a mess. I’m fed up with this behavior! The same thing happens at Walmart! We will loose this over night option if people continue to do this.
@Neil, Not all of us have high dollar rigs. I haven’t yet used a CB or other store for an overnight, but, if I needed to, it would be nice if I had that option.
In dozens of CB stays, I have never experienced anyone significantly abusing the privilege, but I can imagine that this happens some small percentage of the time. And that’s all it takes to lose a benefit. Sadly, we cannot always rely on campers to exercise common courtesy or common sense. CB will unfortunately need to publish and enforce rules rather than rely on etiquette. It is my favorite overnight in a pinch, and I always patronize, but as always, the few will ruin it for the many.
Had thought about buying another RV and listening, reading about the BS the thought has quickly evaporated, the price of RVs is ridiculous, trying to find a camp site, reserving, and paying the exorbenant site fees, nah I’ll pass.
Oh yea peeps can be asses.
There’s a fine line between a late overnight stop and free loading. Used to keep my trailer in Phoenix across from a couple of Casinos. Could arrive late and park for the night before starting our trip. Then I witnessed two campers parked side by side, unhooked, with awnings and furniture out while grilling dinner. It was obvious that this was not an overnight. When we returned a month later, the Casino had banned overnight RV parking. So think twice before you ruin a good thing to save a few bucks.
@photobro49, Don’t be hating on the slides. The only way I can get in my truck camper is to open the slides.
@photobro49, my camper has to have the slide open to used the bathroom. Are you saying I can’t pee or wash my hands? How about use common courtesy and common sense if you have to stop for the night in a parking lot. Kinda judge aren’t yo
We have stayed at Cracker Barrel many times as we travel. This is not a RV park. We park as far away from the building as possible we try to get there before they close, go in and have something to eat, always ask permission, only put the bedroom slide out (which we park so it is over the grass – not parking areas), get up early and have breakfast. CR is a great option for a over-nite stop. If we act accordingly, it will continue to be available. As noted only run generators after they close and use an inverter type so it is quiet.
Unfortunately some people will never give a damn about the rest of us. We should pick up the trash they leave and maybe by example a few will change their ways.