ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – When news broke that Buc-ee’s was coming to Florida, the reaction around the News 6 newsroom was something like this:
“Why is Gov. Ron DeSantis at a gas station groundbreaking?”
“What are Beaver nuggets?”
Many of us were not in the know, but the ones with Texas ties immediately embraced the beaver.
That was September 2019, fast forward to 2021 and Florida has it’s first Buc-ee’s. I had the pleasure of visiting the newly-opened St. Augustine location, and if you’ve never been and plan on going to either St. Augustine, or the soon-to-be-opened location in Daytona Beach, let’s just say, don’t plan on it being just a quick stop for gas.
With a towering sign next to Interstate 95 featuring the grinning beaver in a ball cap, Buc-ee’s is hard to miss. With over 104 fueling positions, it explains why a big space next to a highway was needed. Located on World Commerce Parkway, the location sits on nearly 14 acres, with a 52,600 square-foot building. Besides the pumps, there is plenty of parking too -- 392 spots.
After walking into the convenience store, I highly suggest you take a moment to take it all in. Right away, you’ll notice gifts and food. A huge part of the gift shop is a home décor section. If you’re a fan of the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, you’ll be impressed with the selection here.
All kinds of swag
Sure, you could go for a T-shirt, but why stop there? Especially when you’re so close to the beach, and could buy a Buc-ee’s boogie board. I’m a koozie collector, so I had to pick up a couple of beaver beverage sleeves. Other memorable merchandise includes shot glasses, swim suits, pillows, travel mugs, coolers, and a Buc-ee’s onesie. All the swag alone, makes me see why Buc-ee’s has a cult following.
Food for thought
If you skip the gas and just travel for snacks, we won’t judge you. For hungry first-timers, I recommend picking up one of the barbeque brisket sandwiches.
As far as snacks, Buc-ee’s has a wide selection from sweet to savory, and also meat. There is a wide selection of bagged jerky, but if you’re a true jerky connoisseur, you have to check out the jerky counter. Buc-ee’s is also famous for its fudge, roasted nuts and kolaches.
No trip to Buc-ee’s is complete though without grabbing a bag of Beaver nuggets. I describe the sweet corn puff snack as like a gentler caramel corn. You can buy them through Amazon, but just know they are a little cheaper in the store.
The bathroom breaks are good for man and man’s best friend
The closer you get to Buc-ee’s on Interstate 95, the more signs you’ll see. And my favorite one had the words “Potty like a rock star”. Buc-ee’s prides itself on having the world’s cleanest bathrooms. So even if you don’t have to go, you owe it to yourself to go. For dog owners, you won’t have any trouble finding a designated potty spot for your pup. The Buc-ee’s in St. Augustine had three relief areas, and my dog gave them a five-paw approval rating.
Know before you go
I visited the new Buc-ee’s on a Saturday and Monday, and the crowd was significantly better on a weekday. Buc-ee’s is a travel center, not a truck stop, so you won’t find any 18-wheelers pulling in.
The Buc-ee’s in Daytona Beach is slated to open March 22. Bring your snack money!