Freedom to go where you want, when you want, is what makes RV travel so appealing. You can head south when snow is in the forecast, or stay a couple of extra days when you stumble upon somewhere amazing.
But with all that freedom comes unpredictability, and sometimes, you may find yourself cruising down the highway at dusk wondering where you’re going to park for the night. Enter: Cracker Barrel, an unlikely, but welcoming host to weary travelers in need of a place to park for the night (and a hearty breakfast to get them back on the road in the morning).
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That’s right, Cracker Barrel, the long-standing restaurant chain (founded in 1969), serves up more than an all-day breakfast and dishes like country-fried steak — it’s a go-to spot for road trippers who need a free and safe spot to park. The restaurants tend to be located right off the highway and are found in almost every U.S. state (except Alaska, Hawaii, Vermont, Washington, and Wyoming).
According to RV Trader, the key is to arrive before closing (usually 10 or 11 p.m.) and ask the manager for permission to park overnight. Not only is asking a good policy, but a few rare Cracker Barrels don’t allow overnight parking. The restaurant manager will also be able to show you where in the lot you can park overnight and answer your questions: Can I run a generator? Can I extend my awning and slide-outs? Can I put down my leveling jacks? Just make sure to sort out your own power and water as the lots don’t have hookups.
Once you’ve found your spot for the night, make sure to give the restaurant (or store) some love. It’s a great place to get a hearty (and affordable) meal or a gift for your friends or family back home. And, of course, be a good guest — clean up after yourself and keep your stay short (one night is the norm).