Editor’s Note: Brandon & Janet Hensley are members of LTV’s sponsored content team, The Leisure Explorers. Do you own a Leisure Travel Van and enjoy writing? Learn more about joining the team.
They say everything is bigger in Texas. When it comes to gas stations, that saying definitely holds up when you are talking about Buc-ee’s travel centers, with over 60,000 square feet and over 100 gas pumps.
Buc-ee’s gas stations (yes, they call themselves a gas station), are not just a place to get fuel and snacks for your travels, but an experience so overwhelmingly magnificent, you won’t soon forget it.
Founded in Lake Jackson, Texas, by Don Wasek and Arch “Beaver” Aplin in 1982, Buc-ee’s started with the idea of leveraging the “call of nature” by using billboards to advertise their super clean bathrooms, building a reputation that would have people pass multiple other gas stations and fast food places to get to their establishment. That marketing strategy is still in place today, and works like a charm.
Until 2016, Buc-cee’s only had locations in Texas, but now these gargantuan travel centers can also be found in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and soon Kentucky. So, if you’re traveling through Texas and the southeast part of the country, you should find yourself in close proximity to one. And if you are somewhat near, I would recommend experiencing it for yourself.
Big? They are HUGE.
So how big is Buc-ee’s? Well, they hold the world record for world’s largest convenience store at 66,335 square feet at their New Braunfels, Texas, location.
Not only are they a world record holder, but they also won the award for “cleanest bathrooms in America” (yes, Cintas held a contest for this). If you have ever been in a Buc-ee’s bathroom, you understand the men’s and women’s rooms are each the size of typical entire gas stations themselves, and very clean. The New Braunfels location actually has 83 toilets!
In addition to the enormous bathrooms, this mega travel center also has 120 fueling positions, 1,000 parking spots, 64 ice freezers selling 79-cent and 99-cent ice, 31 cash registers, 4 Icee machines, and 80 fountain dispensers.
With such amazing amenities and bathrooms, you might think that the place would be overrun with semi and commercial trucks, but Buc-ee’s is off-limits to over-the-road truckers, so don’t worry about battling the big rigs. The good news is Buc-ee’s is very RV-friendly. And Leisure Travel Vans fit like a glove in their large parking lots.
They have plenty of diesel and DEF pumps in their slew of filling stations, with big, wide-open parking lots. They even have designated dog-walking areas with bags and trash cans for your convenience.
Let’s Talk About the Food
There are countless fan sites (Such as @buceesenthusiast on Instagram) arguing over what the best Buc-ee’s treats, snacks, and meals are, and you may even have had this discussion with your own friends and family. While they offer national brands, their claim to fame are their own branded and in-house recipe delectables.
Let’s start with their massive jerky selection. With fifteen kinds of jerky, ranging from beef to turkey to even Japanese Akashi beef, their jerky counters stretch over 20 feet long with every flavor you can imagine.
If jerky isn’t your thing, then let’s move over to the savory section. Here you can see them chopping brisket, carving turkey, and slicing sausage for their amazing hot BBQ sandwiches. They even specialize in breakfast tacos with brisket, egg, bacon, and potato. All of this in their circular BBQ station in the middle of the store, made fresh before your eyes.
Then there are the roasted nuts. The moment you walk into the store, the aroma of roasted pecans, almonds, and peanuts blesses your nostrils with the smell of goodness. My personal favorite is the cinnamon pecans, wrapped up in a cone-like package and still warm. Absolutely addicting!
There are also the more interesting selections such as Pickled Quail Eggs, floating in a spicy brine spiked with peppers. You should also try their Mayhaw Jelly, made from the fruit pretty common in the south that is fantastic on crackers or toast.
And if you are feeling a bit on the spicy side, grab some Candied Jalapeños that you can eat straight from the jar. These are also delicious on burgers or with a cheese board.
And Now… The Fudge
With over 24 different varieties of fudge, your sweet tooth will be well satisfied. All made in-house, the fudge section will have you drooling over flavors as traditional as chocolate pecan, and all the way to seasonal flavors such as chocolate pumpkin. But you can’t go wrong with red velvet, orange cream, tiger butter, or cookies and creme.
The Buc-ee’s candy selection is enormous. There is a wall with any kind of dried fruit you can think of as well as pretty much every gummy candy known to man. Stock up on gummy worms or peach rings and get your sugar high for the drive ahead.
And finally, the usual winner of the favorite Buc-ee’s treat is Beaver Nuggets, their signature snack. If you live in Texas, there’s a good chance that you know exactly what I’m talking about. This delight is like a puffy kettle corn with a sweet, caramel taste. Once you bite into one of these, you may be enticed to pour some in a bowl with some milk and eat it like cereal. Absolutely a must-get when you visit a Buc-ee’s.
More to Buc-ee’s than Food, Fuel, and Clean Bathrooms
While the middle and one side of the store is dominated by food and drink, the other side is like a Cracker Barrell gift store on steroids. With every imaginable gift item such as housewares and stuffed beavers, you will also find an awesome selection of hot sauces, Yeti coolers (they also have a Buc-ee’s branded tech cooler), BBQ seasonings and supplies, as well as smokers, deer feeders, camping supplies, and everything in between. My favorite thing to get is Meat Church seasonings and rubs.
As far as Buc-ee’s merch goes, you can get basically anything you can wear, drink out of, or sit on with the Buc-ee’s Beaver on it. My personal favorite is the onesie pajamas complete with tail.
I can’t imagine ever passing up a Buc-ee’s if we are on a roadtrip, and we are fortunate enough to have one just a few miles from our home, so we get our Buc-ee’s fix even when we aren’t traveling.
If you are out on the open road, and see a giant yellow sign with a Beaver on it, don’t pass up the opportunity, even if you have a full tank of fuel. But get excited, because Beaver Nuggets and Candied Pecans make every road trip even better.
Please note: The recommendations and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and are not necessarily those of Leisure Travel Vans. This post is not sponsored by or in any way affiliated with Buc-ee’s – just one Buc-ee’s fan sharing his genuine enthusiasm for The South’s favorite travel stop!