Boca Chica Beach
Federal and state protection has helped ensure that Boca Chica Beach remains undeveloped and untamed despite it being the southernmost point in Texas. It’s Spanish name also hints at its location on the Texas-Mexico border where the delta of the Rio Grande meets the Laguna Madre salt flats.
Part of Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge, those who visit will find a spectacular stretch of wild and unspoilt sand stretching for eight miles. If this sounds like too far to walk, don’t worry, as long as you’re driving a licenced vehicle you are permitted to continue on the sands. But specifically heading to Boca Chica Beach for an off-roading experience is strictly off what’s permissible.
Boca Chica Beach is open from sunrise until sunset and is free to enter. There is no opportunity for staying the night. As well as the beach, visitors are able to explore clay dunes known as ‘lomas’, wetland and the salt flats.
In spring and summer, Kemp’s ridley sea turtles come ashore to nest and lay their eggs – with this being pretty much the only construction of any kind aside from a handful of ocean-facing homes. Birds of prey including osprey and peregrine falcons are relatively common. After storms the beach is sometimes dotted with the air-filled sacks of jellyfish-like Portuguese man o’war. Don’t be tempted to touch them or their multi-metre tendrils.
Somewhat at odds with its natural credentials, Boca Chica is home to the “SpaceX Starbase”. So, if you time it right (or wrong) you may get to see one of Elon Musk’s “spaceships” blasting off and hopefully not blasting down as happened in 2021.
Despite the lack of facilities, it’s still possible to surf, swim, snorkel, kiteboard and birdwatch at Boca Chica Beach. You will however need to bring all the gear you may need with you, alongside enough food, drink and sunscreen to last your stay. Alcohol is not permitted to be drunk on Boca Chica Beach. Pets must be on a lead at all times.
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