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 sets, and we haven’t entirely 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 never forget 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 beforehand 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, spots in the back of a Cracker Barrel 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 difficulty 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, like Walmart, are much darker than your usual overnight spot. The designated RV and trailer parking is usually behind the restaurant, keeping the light minimal.
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 patronize the business 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 heading 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.
7 Tips for Camping at Cracker Barrel
Check Cracker Barrel’s camping policy: Before you plan your camping trip, it’s essential to check Cracker Barrel’s camping policy. Not all locations offer camping facilities, so make sure to verify if the specific Cracker Barrel you plan to visit allows overnight parking for RVs or camping.
Call ahead for reservations: Some Cracker Barrel locations may have limited camping spots available, so it’s a good idea to call ahead and make a reservation if possible (not common, but not unheard of). This ensures that you have a spot secured when you arrive and prevents any disappointment.
Arrive early (like right before closing): If reservations are not available, try to arrive early in the day to secure a camping spot. The earlier you arrive, the better your chances of finding an available spot.
Follow the parking guidelines: When parking at Cracker Barrel for camping, it’s crucial to follow their guidelines. They may have designated parking areas for RVs or specific rules to ensure the safety and convenience of all customers. Adhering to these guidelines shows respect and consideration for the establishment.
Be mindful of other customers: While camping at Cracker Barrel, keep in mind that it is primarily a restaurant and not a dedicated campground. Be considerate of other customers by keeping noise levels down, avoiding excessive use of outdoor camping equipment, and maintaining cleanliness around your camping area.
Enjoy a meal at the restaurant: One of the advantages of camping at Cracker Barrel is having access to their delicious food. Take the opportunity to enjoy a meal at the restaurant and savor their homestyle cooking. It’s also a great way to show appreciation for their hospitality and support their business.
Show gratitude: Remember to express gratitude for the convenience and hospitality provided by Cracker Barrel. A simple thank you goes a long way in acknowledging their efforts in accommodating campers. Leaving positive feedback or a review can also help other campers decide.
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.
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.
What about rv camping at southern California beaches
Wonder if the author is an RVer. I say no because RVers understand you cannot camp at a Cracker Barrel. However, overnight parking in an RV is allowed at most Cracker Barrel locations. Probably just another pay by the word poorly written piece.