Summer means road trips! And road trips, eventually, lead to pit stops; a chance to stretch your legs and stock up on snacks.
In Texas, the road trip pit stop has reached legendary status at a place called Buc-ee’s. You’re probably thinking of something like a truck stop, a roadside tourist trap, or a glorified convenience store. But, this is Texas, where everything is bigger. Buc-ee’s is a convenience store taken to epic proportions. Literally.
The local legend of Buc-ee’s began in 1982 in Lake Jackson, on the Texas Gulf Coast south of Houston. Since then, stores have popped up across central Texas, all the way up to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, mostly along busy highways and close to attractions – prime locations for road trippers needing a convenient stop. Having a lot of stores is not what makes Buc-ee’s special. Having a lot of big stores is.
On Interstate 35 near New Braunfels, the water world capital of Texas, is Buc-ee’s #22, the largest convenience store in the world. The 68,000-square-foot store includes 80 fountain drink dispensers, four Icee machines, 120 fuel pumps, and 83 toilets. Not just any toilets, mind you. Buc-ee’s has been hailed as having some of the cleanest facilities on the road. In fact, they are World Famous according to Buc-ee’s!
The latest location opened recently near Texas Motor Speedway, which is very near to our home base. Naturally, we had to stop by and make sure everything was up to snuff. Which it was. Spotless restrooms, an army of soda and coffee machines, ice cold Icee machines, and everything else Buc-ee’s has become famous for. Surprisingly, this haven for long haul travelers is not open to trucks. No 18-wheelers are allowed, which does make negotiating the parking lot it a little less intimidating.
Buc-ee’s is nothing if not Texan, and you’ll find a huge variety of souvenirs, housewares, décor and clothing emblazoned with the Lone Star and Texas motifs. “But wait,” as they say, “there’s more.” Need a whole line of camouflage clothing, literally head to toe, for the whole family? It’s at Buc-ees. Need some cow hide decor? You’ll find that, too, along with a whole section to keep the kids entertained, and areas devoted to grills, smokers, and cooking – whether over a campfire or in a kitchen.
And then there’s the food. Just as the kitchen is the heart of a home, at the heart of Buc-ee’s is the kitchen. This is where hungry road trippers come to fill up and stock up. Being Texas, there is a barbeque counter, backed by the sweet smelling fudge counter. Nearby is the deli counter which, in true Texas style, has more varieties of freshly cured jerky than you can imagine. (Don’t see what you want? Check the nearby ‘Wall o’ Jerky’ with many packaged varieties.) More sweets, bakery items, and sandwiches can be ordered here. There is a huge candy section, a wall of beverage coolers, and in between are shelves lined with jars of jams, pickled vegetables, and deserts.
If Texas is in your road trip plans, chances are you will pass (if not pull into) a Buc-ee’s. Grab a snack, some souvenirs, and get back on the road, because one thing you won’t find at Buc-ee’s is a place to sit and eat. After all, this is a road trip!
Have you been to Buc-ee’s, or another amazing road trip pit stop? We’d love to hear about it in the comments!