Ask any road-weary Texan how they survive a rough travel weekend—like, say, Labor Day—and they’ll point you toward one homegrown chain: Buc-ee’s. Launched in 1982 by Don Wasek and Arch “Beaver” Aplin III, the sprawling rest stop is a beacon of hope with 37 stores across the state. The most ostentatious location of Buc-ee’s (rhymes with Chucky) is the New Braunfels flagship, pictured below, on Interstate 35 between Austin and San Antonio. At 68,000 square feet, it’s touted as the world’s largest convenience store and it lives up to that description with 120 filling stations, 80 soda fountains, 31 cash registers, and 83 of the cleanest toilets you’ll ever see outside Japan. Also: house-made jerky, fresh-baked kolaches, mountains of fudge, big honkin’ sandwiches, caramel-flavored “Beaver Nuggets” (don’t ask, just buy a bag), and tacky-terrific Texas souvenirs like rhinestone belt buckles, bejeweled crosses, pink lassos, beer kozies, and beaver-faced fuzzy slippers. Make America great again? Buc-ee’s already has.
Multiple locations; visit the Buc-ee’s website for details.