What’s the Big Deal About Buc-ee’s Anyways?

published Jun 6, 2023
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Buc-ee's store front.
Credit: Patty Catalano

If the journey is as important as the destination, then why are long stretches of highway dotted with grimy gas stations that put the pit in pit stop? This summer, if your road trip travels take you through Texas or the Southeast, there’s a good chance you’ll pass a smiling beaver on your way to wherever it is you’re headed. Miles of billboard announcements lead you down the asphalt lanes towards a chain of convenience stores like no other. 

After the quiet hum of the highway, the vibration of visitors inside Buc-ee’s can be jarring. This store is so much more than a place to get gas and a little relief. I’m not alone in thinking that Buc-ee’s is detour-worthy no matter where your final destination is. But for those who need more convincing, here are 15 reasons why Buc-ee’s is the best gas station around.

What Is the Big Deal About Buc-ee’s?

Buc-ee’s began in 1982 in Lake Jackson, Texas, by Arch “Beaver” Aplin III. As the grandson of entrepreneurial mercantile store owners with a degree in construction science, Beaver, as Arch has been affectionately called since childhood and who inspired the chain’s mascot, dreamed of building a roadside destination of epic proportion for weary travelers. Today, Buc-ee’s has 45 locations in Texas, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, and Tennessee. 

The concept expanded quickly, adding even more gas pumps, (notoriously clean) restrooms, on-site kitchens, and inexpensive ice. When you walk into a Buc-ee’s today, you’ll find that the large-format roadside store sells hunting and fishing gear, souvenirs, branded clothing, and a whole lot more. The walls are lined with private-label packaged snacks and queues form for freshly made food.

Credit: Patty Catalano

1. Warm Glazed Nuts, $4.49

A nutty aroma fills the entrance of Buc-ee’s where almonds, pecans, and cashews are coated in a sweet and spiced glaze and served warm in a paper cone. Skip the cloyingly sweet Beaver Nuggets, because if I had to pick just one snack to buy at Buc-ee’s this would be it. 

Credit: Patty Catalano

2. Beaver Chips, $2.29

The Beaver Chips from Buc-ee’s aren’t the standard gas station fare. These homestyle potato chips are freshly cut, fried on the spot, and sold warm in a paper bag. 

Credit: Patty Catalano

3. Hot Texas BBQ Sandwiches, $8.49

Listen for the call-out “Fresh chopped brisket on the board!” to ring out through the store. In the center of it all is the Texas Round-Up Station where you can watch smoked brisket be chopped for signature BBQ sandwiches. The meats are also served on biscuits and as tacos. Still hungry? Order sliced or chopped brisket, sausage, and smoked turkey by the pound. 

Credit: Patty Catalano

4. Wall of Jerky, $8.99

Buc-ee’s sells jerky by the pound and prepackaged on the wall. The dried meat snacks are tender and tasty with a range of flavors, including teriyaki, bohemian garlic, Korean BBQ, and ghost pepper. 

Credit: Patty Catalano

5. Toys

If a chorus of “Are we there yet?” is sounding from the backseat, make sure to stop by Buc-ee’s toy section. Alongside stuffed beavers you’ll find fidgets, puzzles, books, and games for kids of all ages. 

Credit: Patty Catalano

6. Buc-ee’s Merch

Just as shoppers visit Piggly Wiggly for the T-shirt, you’ll see Buc-ee’s beaver logo on your favorite merch grabs, including bathing suits and blankets, swimsuits and sunglasses, and more. Even the coolest Gen Z-ers can be seen walking to class in oversized Buc-ee’s sweats. 

Credit: Patty Catalano

7. Sausage, Cheese, and Jalapeño Kolaches, $3.19

Czech foods, like kolaches, aren’t uncommon in Texas, thanks to an influx of immigrants to the state in the 1800s. Kolaches are a Czech pastry made from yeast dough often filled with fruit or cheese. While this Texas chain sells cream cheese and fruit kolaches, the best variety is spicy and savory. A jalapeño-studded sausage is surrounded by gooey cheese and encased in a pillowy dough — it’s best when ordered warmed.

Credit: Patty Catalano

8. Chocolate Pie Cup, $3.99

This single serving of chocolate pie tastes so close to homemade, you’d never guess that it comes from a gas station. The cup is layered parfait-style with chocolate and creme cookie crumbles, rich chocolate pudding, and whipped cream. 

Credit: Patty Catalano

9. Homemade Fudge, $3.78

There’s an entire section at the center of the store devoted to sweets made in-house. Top prize goes to the display of fresh fudge. Flavors include classics like rocky road, peanut butter, and chocolate and fun flavors like red velvet, banana pudding, and salted caramel. Order fudge fresh off the block or pick up a box packed with a variety of flavors. 

Credit: Patty Catalano

10. Fresh Fruit and Salads

If the only fresh produce you’ve seen on your journey is a lonely banana beside the cash register, a visit to Buc-ee’s can’t come soon enough. The cooler case stocks a variety of freshly cut fruit (including fruit salad, cubed watermelon, and grapes) and hearty green salads. You will pay more for these fresh foods ($4.98 for the fruit, and $5.99 for the salad) here than at a grocery store, but sometimes the convenience is worth it. 

Credit: Patty Catalano

11. Old-Fashioned Candy, $3.48 to $5.98

Candy connoisseurs will find all of the sweet treats they expect at Buc-ee’s, but don’t pass by the wall of old-fashioned candy. Here you’ll find candies from yesteryear including wax bottles, salt water taffy, watermelon sours, cherry sours, candy blox, and burnt peanuts.

Credit: Patty Catalano

12. Souvenirs

In addition to Buc-ee’s merch, snacks, and drinks, the mini-mart carries a variety of home goods, gear, and gifts. Look for local-ish goods, like the Savannah Bee Company’s honey from one of the Georgia locations, mugs, ornaments, and charcuterie boards to celebrate your journey to (or through) the state. If you prefer souvenirs of a more utilitarian variety, don’t miss the shelves of Lodge cast iron pans and accessories. They make great gifts to give (and to keep). 

Credit: Patty Catalano

13. Pork Rinds

Another not-to-be-missed find: pork rinds. This snack rivals potato chips with its salty, savory crunch. Pork rinds, or chicharrones, are dried and fried until they become light and airy. Like all of its offerings, Buc-ee’s sells a variety of flavors; my favorite is the Chili Limon.

Credit: Patty Catalano

14. Bagged Ice, $1 to $1.99

Fill up a new beaver-faced cooler (there are a variety of Buc-ee’s branded coolers on sale inside) or refresh an older icebox after hours on the road. Since the beginning, the convenience store has sold inexpensive ice and the tradition hasn’t stopped. Pick up a small bag for just $1 or a large one for $1.99.

Credit: Patty Catalano

15. Gas

You aren’t getting to your destination without fuel. Buc-ee’s locations have up to 120 gas pumps, so that you won’t have to wait to fill up. Electric vehicle chargers are also available in most locations too. 

What’s your favorite thing about Buc-ee’s? Tell us about it in the comments below.