Boca Chica beach is a place you would never find on your own. I’m guessing even a lot of locals don’t know about it (or if they do, they have never been there). Boca Chica key is a few islands up from Key West and you have to drive past it to Big Coppitt Key (mile marker 10.5) to turn onto Boca Chica Road which will lead you back, back, back to this secluded beach. You will finally get to the end of the road and the beach will be directly on your left and the Naval Air Station will be on your right. There are some good shade trees here, a few picnic tables and directly ahead the road is blocked off and then crumbles away. From here you can begin walking the shoreline.
Looking at a map, the road appears to go all along the shoreline, right up to US1 but it’s all washed away (by Hurricane Wilma, I’ve read). This is good news and “bad” news. The good news is not many people come to this beach. The “bad” news is if you want to explore this part of the island you do a lot of walking – sometimes even in the water on a pretty rocky shoreline, in some places, depending on the tide. It’s remote enough that dogs can be off leash and they can freely romp in the water and nose around the back woods. We’ve come here many times to give Mick the freedom he likes, Michael some good photo ops and all of us a chance to explore.
At low tide, there are a lot of tidal pools which can be fun to examine. There are also numerous trails that go into the woods and open onto marshes and small bodies of water. We’ve seen some great birds here and I’m sure this is a favorite migration stopover.
Some of the really fun things you can discover are: the flip flop memorial – a portion of chain link fence with lots of discarded shoes attached; a beautiful structure of driftwood, rocks and found objects that look like a castle – with multiple rooms that have tables and beach chairs; and the shoreline path which goes right past the end of the Naval Station runway. We spent one morning watching someone learn how to maneuver a large helicopter. It was fascinating watching the person try to master hovering which has to be a lot harder that it looks from all the gyrations the ‘copter was going through. I’ve got a much deeper appreciation for the skills our pilots have to master.
For most of the time we’ve been here, there has been heavy reddish seaweed coating the shoreline but this is a seasonal thing and should be gone shortly, hopefully before we leave. You need to be watchful at all times because there are a lot of rocks, coral, trees, etc. to maneuver around. Usually we walk until we come to the first small channel that opens onto a salt marsh but this time we brought extra shoes so we could wade across and continue along the coastline.
I was surprised that the shallow water actually felt hot, very hot. Last Sunday, the beach was the busiest I’ve ever seen it – maybe 10 cars (!) and most of the way we were by ourselves. We saw a few people photographing birds and a couple of gentlemen fishing, but mostly it was a solitary, lovely walk along the beach.
Boca Chica beach is a slice of natural heaven.