This Southern State Park Has A Little-Known Beach With Warm Winter Temperatures

Stunning beaches can be found in multiple corners of the U.S., from the famed beaches of Southern California to the renowned seaside destinations of Florida. But Texas, with nearly 3,400 miles of coastline, has some must-visit beaches of its own, including the seashore found in Boca Chica State Park. The park's Boca Chica Beach sits at the southernmost tip of the state, just near the Mexican border. It's not the kind of place you'd stumble upon by accident. The nearest major city is Corpus Christi, a nearly three-hour drive away, and even nearby vacation hotspot South Padre Island is separated by a bay and a one-hour car ride.

Still, the trek to the little-known beach is well worth it. Follow Route 4 through Boca Chica State Park until you reach the coast, where a hidden sandy oasis awaits. There, you'll find beautiful blue waters, pretty-as-a-painting sunsets, and plenty of diverse wildlife — look for (and be respectful of) the endangered sea turtles, a wide variety of birds, and the tentacled Portuguese Man-of-War, which can sting if you get too close.

One of the biggest perks of the beach: It's warm all year round. January, the area's coolest month, still has an average high of 70 degrees Fahrenheit, just balmy enough for kicking off your sandals and splashing in the beach's sparkling waters.

Head to Boca Chica Beach for a peaceful beach getaway

Boca Chica Beach isn't outfitted with loungers, drink stands, or souvenir shops. Rather, it's a mostly undeveloped natural escape, perfect for peaceful days in the sun, free of the partiers and tourist crowds found at some other beaches in Texas.

Despite Boca Chica's simplicity, it's easy to spend an entire day there. The eight-mile coastline offers plenty of space for aquatic sports, such as swimming, snorkeling, and kite surfing. You can generally expect calm waters safe enough for even beginner swimmers, though it's a good idea to check conditions before your trip, especially before and after storms. Boca Chica is also a prime spot for fishing, and you might make friends with some local anglers while casting your line.

Given the wildlife in the park, it also serves as an ideal place to do some birdwatching. Lie back on the soft sand and count the hawks, osprey, and other birds that soar past.

When you're done, turn your gaze down to the seashells carried to shore by the tide. Collectors, as well as newbie enthusiasts, will be enamored with the variety of shell colors, shapes, and sizes found in the park.

What to know before you go

Boca Chica Beach may be rustic and free of noisy crowds, but there's one unexpected guest you might encounter during your visit: SpaceX. Elon Musk's company already has a presence in Boca Chica State Park and has used the premises as a test launching site for its Starship rocket. This may expand in the future and could disrupt your beach getaway. Moreover, SpaceX has attempted to close nearby roads, and while protesters have stopped some of these closures, there's no telling what the status may be in the future. When planning your trip, check the Cameron County website for the latest updates.

Boca Chica Beach is free to enter and stays open to visitors during daylight hours. Camping overnight is prohibited, though some campers are still known to try (and do so at their own risk). Alternative campsites and RV parks can be found near the town of Brownsville.

Whether you stay for just a couple of hours or the whole day, remember that Boca Chica Beach and the surrounding park don't offer much in terms of developed facilities, so you must come prepared. Plan to picnic using your own packed food and trash bags for clean-up, as there are no beachside restaurants or food stands to hold you over if you get hungry. Make sure to also pack your own sunblock, towels, water gear, and any other necessities.