Since we started traveling full time in an RV, we have relied on the friendliness of businesses like Cracker Barrel to reduce our RVing costs. Full and partial hookups are a luxury and we try boondock where ever we go. One of the best overnight RV parking options is at Cracker Barrel. We’ve had very pleasant experiences and the staff is always welcoming, friendly and helpful. Boondocking at Cracker Barrel is a good alternative to paid campsites when passing through a city.
Boondocking at Cracker Barrel
RV/Bus Parking. Pick up a map at any Cracker Barrel location to see which stores have RV/Bus parking. Another option is to call the store and ask the manager about their RV parking availability. When you pull into the parking lot there is always a sign for RV/Bus parking. The parking is usually behind the store with spaces are long enough to accommodate a large motorhome. The number of spaces will vary depending on the store. We’ve seen some with three narrow spots and others with over ten spots wide enough to put a slide out.
Talk to the Manager. We always call the store and speak to the manager before we drive to the Cracker Barrel. This allows us to ask questions about the store’s RV parking. Is overnight RV parking allowed? Where is the parking located? How many spaces are available? Are the spaces on a steep hill? Once we receive the green light from the manager, we will drive to the Cracker Barrel, setup and head inside to introduce ourselves. Unless you arrive after hours, it’s good to let the store know you’re going to park overnight.
Jacks, Slides and Generators. Ask the manger about putting the jacks down, slides out and running the generator. One manager asked us not to put the jacks down without using jack pads. We’ve found all Cracker Barrel managers to be more than welcoming and accommodating. Unlike overnight parking at a Walmart, we’ve never had a manager tell us we couldn’t park overnight.
Safety. Once Cracker Barrel closes for the evening, the parking lot becomes empty. Unless you have a fellow RVer parked next to you, it’s going to be a quiet night. Some stores have security patrol at night, others have local police that will drive by. We’ve never been concerned about safety while boondocking at Cracker Barrel. If it’s something that you’re worried about, bring it up when you speak to the manager.
Hearty Meal. Depending on when we pull into Cracker Barrel, we will either grab dinner or breakfast. No matter the time of day, we will always get their hashbrown casserole. It’s the type of dish that will stick to your ribs and fuel you for the day. According to one of the waitresses we met, some regulars come in just to have a plate of the casserole. The restaurant offers a $5.99 lunch special which we hear is quite popular. Besides food, they also have a store filled with an array of items from ornaments to jam to clothes. It’s quite fun to walk around and check out all the trinkets.
For us, Cracker Barrel is a good backup plan when we arrive in a new city and need a place to park overnight until we get our bearings. There have been a few instances where a Walmart does not allow overnight parking, but the Cracker Barrel down the street does. Keep in mind, every location has different rules so it’s best to call ahead and speak to the manager. The one down side we’ve discovered to boondocking at a Cracker Barrel is the smell of food will get into the RV when we run the fans. However, the perk is getting a hearty meal before hitting the road.
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