If there's one thing you can absolutely count on during a road trip (other than driving to a new destination), it's having to make a couple of rest stops. My family has always loved driving rather than flying to our destinations. Not only is it cheaper for the entire family to buckle down in the family car, it's also a great way to discover hidden towns and treasures along the way. Not to mention it gives the perfect excuse to stop at some of the incredible convenience stores this great nation has to offer, namely Buc-ee's and Wawa.
While both of these stores are located on different sides of the States (Buc-ee's is only located in Texas, Florida, and soon-to-be Tenessee while Wawa locations span New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Pennslyvania, Virginia, and a few locations in Florida), it's possible to hit both on a trip from the Lone Star state to the Big Apple or vice-versa.
So we thought, why not compare these American convenience-store chains and see who reigns supreme? In the end, there was a clear winner, but let's not jump ahead of ourselves just yet.
If you've ever taken a drive anywhere in Texas, you've probably seen a Buc-ee's sign above the highway. With 40 locations across Texas, this retail convenience store has won over Texans with cheap fuel and good eats. Some locations have over 120 fueling stations, making it always easy to fill up at the gas pumps, grab some prepared food, and go.
The convenience store with the beaver mascot was founded back in Lake Jackson, Texas in 1982 by "Beaver" Aplin and Don Wasek. You can still visit the original store, taking a step back on memory lane.
What makes Buce-ee's special is the colossal size of the store. Think of the size of an average grocery store. Now fill that with chips, drinks, a deli, coffee shop, jerky bar, fudge counter, wine section, Texas mech and "world famous" restrooms. This travel stop is a must on any Texas road trip.
And if that's not enough, Buc-ee's has some special drinks and treats you can only get at one of their stores. The soda fountains include favorites like Big Red and Dr Pepper. And let's not glaze over the famous beaver nuggets. No, they aren't made from beavers but rather Beaver Nuggets are caramel-coated corn puffs. Just try to stop yourself after a handful.
Headquartered in Greater Philidelphia, this convenience store and gas-station got its start all the way back in 1964 by Grahame Wood who started selling milk and other food items at the first Wawa food market. The markets were at the forefront of the convenience store trend, opening and closing later than traditional markets. Today there are over 800 locations in the United States with a majority of them in the East coast area.
With a clean and relaxed interior, customers entering a Wawa store are first greeted with a touch-screen menu located beside or in front of the kitchen. It's fun to be able to look in and watch the employees create your sandwich or hoagie right in front of you. The touch-screens are fun to use and allow you to fully-customize your food order which includes menu items like hot sandwiches, soups, macaroni and cheese and a long list of breakfast sandwiches.
Along with a wide arrange of hot coffee, customers may also order specialty coffee drinks such as lattes, cappuccinos and creamy fruit smoothies for those hot days. Currently, the store is offering a special Jolly Ranchers shake which was created by a Wawa associate.
The convenience store also offers mobile ordering off the Wawa App along with paying from your phone (using your Wawa credit card of course), checking fuel prices and earning Wawa rewards like free coffee. And if you need some cash, check out the surcharge-free ATMs located in every store.
It really comes down to what you want in a convenience store. Buc-ee's takes the lead on bathrooms, the sheer size, and multiple food counters. Wawa, on the other hand, takes over the number of locations, the ability to order sandwiches with a touch of a button and specialty drinks.
However, I believe Buc-ee's will always take the lead. I mean they did win number one restroom.
While these two stores are located states apart, there's one state that will soon house them both. Wawa recently opened up stores in Florida and Buc-ee's is scheduled to do the same in the next year. So perhaps one day soon you'll see a Buc-ee's and a Wawa sharing the same block.
How do these convenience stores add up against other regional pit stop favorites such as Casey's General Store, Sheetz, and Cumberland Farms? Is 7-Eleven better than Wawa or Buc-ee's?