Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores and Restaurants are familiar to anyone who has traveled in the Eastern two-thirds of the USA. It’s a chain with a successful history that began in Lebanon, TN in 1969. They say that their mission is “to please people. Nothing more. Nothing less.” It must be working because and they now have more than 570 stores in 41 states.
Many Cracker Barrels have from three to eight 40-foot long, marked spaces in their parking lots, for the use of buses and RVs during business hours. When you see their billboards along the highway, look for the silhouette of a bus in the lower corner, which indicates that this Cracker Barrel has these long-vehicle parking spaces. The Bus/RV spaces are typically (but not always) located behind the store, as shown in the aerial view here. If your rig exceeds the length of these spaces, you may need to unhook a toad, or park (with permission, of course) in another area of the lot.
To many RVers, Cracker Barrel is a place to find home-style comfort food meal, nostalgic merchandise, and often a place to park overnight. Some RVers interpret the presence of marked long-vehicle spaces to mean that overnight RV parking is allowed, but this isn’t always the case. At a 2006 FMCA Rally, an RVer discussed this with a representative of Cracker Barrel’s corporate office, and was told that RVers who would like to park overnight in a Cracker Barrel parking lot should enter the store (or telephone ahead) and ask permission from the store manager. The manager may grant or deny permission, for any of a number of reasons.
Some Cracker Barrels are in areas where overnight RV parking isn’t permitted by local ordinance. In other cases the store manager has established a “no overnight parking” policy for that store. I’ve also been told by RVers that some managers will ask them to park in a different part of the lot, not in the 40-foot long spaces. One manager said it was so there’d be more maneuvering room for early morning delivery trucks, and another said that a different area of the lot would be quieter for the RVers when the garbage collectors came at 4 AM. If you’re planning to park overnight at a Cracker Barrel store and you’ll be arriving after the store closes, you should call ahead for permission.
Personally, I’ve parked overnight at only one Cracker Barrel, in Junction City, KS in October, 2006. The food was great and so was the hospitality! I was also able to purchase some things I hadn’t seen in years, including hard to find, “made in Kansas” Valomilk candy bars.
You may want to consider a Cracker Barrel as a place to park overnight, and get a good dinner and breakfast besides. Cracker Barrel’s website has a “store locator” page listing all of their locations.
Safe travels to you!
Moderator, OvernightRVParking Yahoo Group