Exactly How to Overnight Park at Cracker Barrel

Cracker Barrel has a reputation for its southern-style cooking and hospitality. As a result, it’s no surprise that many travelers use their parking lots as convenient places to stay the night.

However, it’s critical to know that there’s a certain etiquette that guests should follow when staying. If not, you could be in hot water with the management or local law enforcement.

Today, we’ll share tips for overnight parking at a Cracker Barrel location.

Let’s get started!

About Cracker Barrel

Cracker Barrel is a famous American restaurant chain started in Lebanon, Tennessee, in 1969. Since opening its doors, it has won guests’ hearts with its Southern charm and homestyle comfort food.

Their rustic-themed restaurants and merchandise stores are typically found along interstates and other major thoroughfares.

Today, they have almost 700 locations throughout the United States. No matter which one you visit, you can bet they’ll have plenty of biscuits, a wrap-around porch, and peg games for you to enjoy.

You’re missing out if you’ve yet to experience their delicious food, top-notch service, and quirky decorations.

Old farming and cooking products hanging from the ceiling inside a Cracker Barrel

Do All Cracker Barrel Locations Let You Park Overnight?

Unfortunately, while many Cracker Barrel locations allow you to park overnight, not all do.

Despite its Southern hospitality, each location must follow the rules and regulations for their area. They would likely receive severe fines and permit issues with the local officials if not.

As a result, you must confirm ahead of time whether or not they allow overnight guests. You don’t want to waste your time, energy, or fuel only to arrive and discover that they cannot accommodate you.

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Can Cracker Barrel Fit All Size RVs for Overnight Camping?

The legality of parking overnight at Cracker Barrel is incredibly challenging. That’s because we’ve seen an increase in recent years of local municipalities and governments creating restrictions on overnight parking. 

This means that you may be perfectly legal in one spot and breaking the law in the next. Unfortunately, you must know when and where you can and cannot park.

Some local authorities will be more forgiving than others. However, you’re taking a significant gamble by being on the wrong side of the law.

The entrance to a Cracker Barrel lined with rocking chairs and old signs.

Is It Safe to Park Overnight at Cracker Barrel?

Parking overnight at Cracker Barrel is generally safe. Many of these restaurants typically have lit parking lots and security cameras that keep an eye on things.

Additionally, their staff often arrive very early because they serve customers at 7 AM.

Overall, you typically have nothing to worry about when staying the night at a Cracker Barrel. If you secure your stuff and stay aware of your surroundings, you’ll likely have an enjoyable and quiet stay.

However, it doesn’t hurt to research before getting too comfortable.

It’s a good idea to park so you can leave quickly if you doubt your safety. We always recommend leaving and finding a new place if you feel unsafe. No free overnight parking spot is worth risking your safety.

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If you’re a woman traveling alone, check out the Safety Items Every Single Female Fulltimer Needs.

5 Tips for How to Overnight Park at Cracker Barrel

We’ve compiled our best tips to help ensure you have an uneventful overnight stay at Cracker Barrel. While these spots can be unpredictable, you’ll stack the odds in your favor by following our tried and tested tips.

1. Call Ahead

Despite what you might have heard, only some Cracker Barrel locations can accommodate RVs. While rare, we’ve pulled into a handful during our adventures that were not designed with recreational vehicles in mind. This can throw a wrench in your plans, especially if you plan to stay the night.

A simple phone call ahead of time is the easiest way to avoid this sticky situation. Whoever picks up on the other end of the phone will likely be able to provide you with the information you need.

If you plan to stay the night and not just park, confirm that it’s an option. This quick and simple phone call can save you a tremendous amount of stress and anxiety.

A truck camper and a toy hauler parked in a Cracker Barrel parking lot.

2. Park in the Designated RV Area

Before hanging up the phone, asking where you should park is a good idea. Typically, Cracker Barrel locations have RV-specific parking spaces.

However, some will reserve these spots for guests coming and going for meals.

The staff may ask that you park at the rear of the parking lot to avoid being in the way of guests coming and going.

To make it easier, we suggest having a co-pilot use the satellite map feature on Google Maps to scope things out ahead of time. This will make it easier to know what to expect and navigate the parking lot when you arrive.

3. Don’t Make Yourself at Home

It’s important to remember that you’re staying in a Cracker Barrel parking lot and not an RV park or campground. This isn’t the time or place to get comfortable and make yourself at home.

It’s also not a good idea to open slides that may be in the way of vehicles coming and going.

You also must remember that you likely will be one of many staying the night. It’s not uncommon for these spots to host several guests each night.

Running your generator or making excessive noise won’t help you make friends with other guests or others living nearby. Always be courteous and respectful of those around you. Make sure you’re not being rude when overnight parking.

A toy hauler parked in a Cracker Barrel parking lot with their slides out.
Don’t be this guy who had his slides out in the roadway and ran his generator all night.

4. Eat or Buy Something from the Gift Shop

The best way to show appreciation is to grab a bite to eat or buy something from the gift shop. We normally roll in late, so we like to have breakfast instead of dinner. We love to get their biscuits and gravy!

You don’t have to drop a chunk of change, but at least purchase something. If you want to make someone’s day, grab a cup of coffee and leave them a generous tip.

The gift shop inside a Cracker Barrel loaded with a variety of items.

5. Leave Early

Finally, you should leave early after a solid night’s sleep. They’re likely not going to come knocking on your door or anything, but it’s still the right thing to do.

Get breakfast or a coffee, then head to your next destination. There’s no use in taking up their space or being in the way when you don’t have to be.

Enjoy Southern Hospitality and Park Overnight at Cracker Barrel

We’ve always had a good experience staying overnight at a Cracker Barrel.

Not only are their locations typically right off the highway and easy to access, but their food has always hit the spot.

Preparing a meal after a long day on the road is one of the last things most travelers want to do. So, let them show you what Southern hospitality looks like.

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