With the confirmation on August 4, 2014 that Space X is going to build a launch facility on Boca Chica, we were happy we had made the trek to visit the area before the rockets arrive. With a Civil War battlefield, nearly abandoned settlements, and a big open coastline, the area was sure to change.
An earlier blog was about the Battle of Palmito Hill and John Jefferson Williams (1843 – May 13, 1865), the final Union soldier to die in a skirmish that happened 37 days after Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox. That skirmish site is just a few miles from Boca Chica.
Back in the Mini Cooper and headed for the coast down TX SH 4, signs of habitation became more and more sparse. Boca Chica means “little mouth” in Spanish and is a sandy peninsula separated from Mexico by the Rio Grande River and detached from South Padre Island by the Brazos Santiago Pass. Aside from a few stilt homes near the pass, which can be seen from South Padre Island, and a jetty protruding into the Gulf of Mexico, Boca Chica Beach has no development. The State of Texas own the land on Boca Chica which, technically speaking, is a state park. However, there are no park facilities which is just fine with the one couple we met a mile or so from where the road ended. We parked the car on the last few feet of paved road and started walking south along the beach to Mexico. To the north, towards the jetties, is the area where the few visitors that come here usually end up. We left that area for a day paddle from South Padre Island.