So you’re heard the stories about Buc-ee’s? Sometimes known as “Gas Pro Shops”… And you want to know what the fuss is all about? I’ll do my best to explain it but it’s a place that’s better experienced than explained. However, before your visit, there are some things you may want to know.
At the time of writing this article, I have now experienced three different Buc-ee’s locations. Currently, I live nearly 30 minutes from two of them. Yes, one would consider me lucky. When you think of your town as an up and comer because you just had a Wawa open near the highway, just know that you’ve hit the big time when you have a Buc-ee’s open locally.
The Buc-ee's Store (or Megastore)
Buc-ee’s started in 1982 with their first location in Lake Jackson, Texas. Being from Texas, you probably already get the impression that Buc-ee’s is going to be bigger and better. You’re right, on both accounts. However, this is not a “truck-stop”. Strike that preconceived notion from your mind.
With a limited number of locations, you can expect to find the largest gas stations on the planet. In fact, the New Braunfels location in Texas is the largest convenience store in the world at 66,335 square feet. This location will be eclipsed by the Sevierville, TN location that will have 120 pumps and 74,000 square feet of space.
In addition to the largest store, they also boast the longest car wash with 255 feet of conveyor. The Records
Granted, it’s not all about the size. Although Buc-ee’s does take this to the next level. The selection of available products and services are unmatched. You will find an extremely well kept store that is always stocked with whatever you can dream of.
I would like to say that the size allows you to maintain Covid style distances between people but, with thousands of travelers a day wanting to experience this place, it can get pretty busy. Not to mention those of us who live close enough to stop there to pick up our favorite stuffed chickens for dinner.
At the time of writing this, Buc-ee’s has 55 locations and they are continuing to grow. Personally, I live between location #46 in Saint Augustine, FL. and location #47 in Daytona Beach, FL. I have been to both of these as well as location #53 in Florence, SC.
Unfortunately, we stopped at the Florence location the day after it opened while traveling and you would have thought an NFL game broke out along I-95.
You will find the stores sprinkled through the south in Texas, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, and South Carolina. I’m sure one may be making its way to your state.
Each location provides plenty of parking and areas for you to walk your pet while traveling. Keep them on a leash though. With all the traffic, it could get overwhelming.
The Product Selection
In normal Buc-ee’s style, the product selection is far beyond what you would find at your local Wawa, Racetrac, Sheetz, or that model of convenience store.
At Buc-ee’s, you can find everything from a barrel smoker to a fire pit to even a Buc-ee’s beaver christmas blow-up lawn ornament.
Buc-ee’s has relationships with vendors that rivals that of Cracker Barrel. But, I will say the product placement is for above Cracker Barrel since I can avoid the rugs and pillows and head straight to the beef jerky.
The only disappointing part of my Buc-ee’s journey is that they don’t sell their hand soap that they provide in the restrooms. I LOVE THIS SOAP!!! And Buc-ee’s, if you’re listening, I WANT SOME!!!!
The ice that you might need for your coolers is far less expensive than the local store. You can pick up a new folding chair if you forgot yours for the trip. Heck, you can even buy a top notch cooler as well. Candles, wind chimes (not sure who needs these), funny (and not funny) signs, clothes, blankets, rugs, and even Buc-ee’s pajamas. If you forgot it, they have it. If you just want it, you’ll find it.
At each Buc-ee’s location you will find a wide variety of fuel types. At nearly all locations, you will be able to find DEF and ethanol-free fuel for your situation. Octane availability varies at each location.
Rest assured, you will not have to wait long for a pump. With hundreds of pumps at each location, there will always be one available.
The Buc-ee’s at LPGA in Daytona Beach has 104 gas pumps with plenty of space at each which absolutely crushes the neighboring BP and Sam’s club.
With this much volume, you can rest assured that you are going to be able to get the best prices locally.
This one is hard to explain. Buc-ee’s provides you the option for their own label of snacks and the basic rival brands. But, get the Buc-ee’s brand. And don’t forget the fudge. NEVER FORGET THE FUDGE.
For meals, every Texas BBQ staple is available cooked fresh each day. You never have to worry how long that brisket sandwich or smoked turkey sandwich has been sitting under that heat lamp. You can watch them cut and build your sandwich if you wait a few minutes. And they even announce when a new piece of meat is being cut. I can’t begin to tell you how many cuts they go through a day but it has to be in the 100’s.
And no, your eyes do not deceive you. It is definitely a wall of beef jerky. Any flavor to fit your style. Hot, mild, Bohemian Garlic, peppered, and many more. Once you’ve gotten over the goosebumps of staring at this wall, probably because your wife or someone who doesn’t love beef jerky interrupted you, you’ll notice that all of those same flavors are available deli-style! You can buy it by the pound! You could buy 10 pounds if you want.
Wipe away the meat sweat and you’ll find the cooler of Buc-ee’s own selection of sausage and stuffed chickens. The shrimp and sausage jambalaya stuff chicken is amazing. It’s frozen, partially deboned, and ready to cook. Once thawed, an hour and a half in a 375 degree oven, you’ll have a full dinner for your family.
Breakfasts are also done right at Buc-ee’s. Burritos, breakfast sandwiches, and a wide selection of massive muffins and baked goods are available for you.
When I say that I love the hand soap and I’m disappointed in the in ability to purchase it at the store, I’m dead serious. Even if I don’t have to go to the bathroom, I visit there just to wash my hands.
Each stall is its own room and each urinal has its own wall divider. And no, you won’t have to ask the lady at the counter for the key. Walk in and expect the cleanest restroom you’ve likely ever experienced at a gas station. And no, you don’t need to worry about tipping an attendant. This is part of their core business model.
It’s your throne and you’re royalty. Or as they say “Potty Like A Rock Star”. And don’t forget to wash your hands.
When I was a Buc-ee’s rookie, I didn’t initially get it. But once you dig in a little, you start to understand why so many people go nuts over Buc-ee’s. If you show up and act like it’s something you’ve seen before, you’re full of crap.
If you’re traveling, take 30 minutes to fill up your car and your stomach, and maybe the back of your truck with an awesome new smoker or fire pit. Wash your hands and enjoy the relief of the cleanest restrooms available to you.
I haven’t mentioned the employees and service in this article. I’ll save the best for last. When you walk in and you’re welcomed by the counter folks, it’s important. And when you can tell that these folks actually appreciate and enjoy what they are doing, it’s so much more fun. Granted they are paid well too. With a store that never closes, they have a position to fit any schedule with opportunities for everyone to advance. They post their rates at the gas pumps for hourly employees. You’ll understand why these folks are smiling.
See you there!