Nude Beach Report
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[For private use only, not for re-publication in any mass media. Copyright 2005 by El Dorado Hot Springs. No part of this report may be reproduced in a public forum or printed in multiple copies without the express permission of Camilla Van Sickle & Bill Pennington.]
Just south of Mile Marker 11 on U.S. 1 in the Florida Keys, turn east on Boca Chica Road and go to the end, about 3 miles. Walk past the barrier; immediately south of the culvert, the nude area begins and stretches for two miles. Trails to the right lead to tidal pools, ideal for nude sunning/exploring. Use footgear or extreme care when walking on the coral.
Boca Chica nude beach was something we'd spent years looking for in the Florida Keys and we didn't actually find it ourselves. We've John Gaston of Key West, long time Naturist and nude charter boat pilot to thank for it. Boca Chica Beach has virtually all the qualities we look for before computing an area onto NUDISK--plenty of parking, a long established tradition of nude use, well balanced attendance, hassle free and accepted by the community, out of public view, and if possible, gawker free, all of which Boca Chica is, and then some. There are two added bonuses; Boca Chica is a fisherpeoples' and bird watcher's paradise! Several times, we've seen The Great White Heron, The Snowy Egret, The Lesser Blue Heron, The Reddish Heron, and a very large Osprey overseeing the fishing activity of the other birds, possibly waiting to steal someone else's catch, all at the same time! Two bald eagle nests can be seen in the trees. Add the usual pelicans, seagulls, and sandpipers, and one can look forward to a real treat at Boca Chica, watching so many of Mother Nature's beautiful creatures at work. And at night, of course, the raccoons come out to visit and investigate anything in sight.
Another big advantage is that Boca Chica is more than two miles long, but the BIG negative is it's by far the most incredibly trashy beach we've EVER seen. It's not trash brought in by beach goers though; as one would expect, the nekkists are a clean lot, bringing out more than they bring in. The trash comes compliments of our seagoing sisters and brothers who jettison it, rather than disposing of it properly; subsequently, it's washed ashore on the high tide, remaining there, except for small areas cleaned up by natural folk. Let us add, in all fairness, that we're purists, and if we see three or more pieces of litter on 100 ft. of beach, we consider it trashy. Some might consider Boca Chica only mildly trashy; others might consider it normal.
Another disadvantage of Boca Chica is for the first hundred feet into the water, the bottom, though made mostly of ground up white coral, can't support one's weight, resulting in ankle deep ooze until one reaches solid sand a few feet offshore. Many wear shoes or use a small float to reach the breathtakingly beautiful warm and shallow azure waters of this calm Atlantic side beach.
Back to the positive, Boca Chica offers free RV parking; locals tell us on VERY rare occasions RV's are asked to move, but aren't ticketed for overnight parking, the case on U.S. 1, the ONLY road through the Keys. At the dead end where the beach begins, we were able to turn around our 27' motor home with ease after unhooking the car, and park for several nights. A 40' foot rig could also turn around if the pilot was really clever. Those towing trailers are advised to leave them at any of many dozen legal daytime turnoffs on U.S. 1 and go explore with the tow vehicle; it's a very short drive on a good road. All other vehicles can turn around and park normally.
There's no tent camping north of the barrier at Boca Chica, but south of it exists two miles of spots--just pick yours. In the memory of all the locals, no conventional vehicle has ever been asked to move or been ticketed for parking overnight. On the Keys, the big thing is to force RV's into the many campgrounds to pay exorbitant fees, like $50.00 to park, with NO hookups! We stayed for a week and paid $00.00. Look around; they're plenty of options. For instance, if you belong to The Elks, Moose, V.F.W., or American Legion, all these fraternal organizations have grounds in various cities down the length of the Keys. Bill is a 27 year member of The Elks, and we spent one night at the Tavernier Elks in the upper Keys, and two non successive nights at the Marathon Elks in the lower Keys, after asking ahead of time. If tent camping or parking an RV is your choice of overnight lodging at Boca Chica (or any other site near water), BE SURE to have good screening! From just before dusk and for the next 90 minutes, the bugs are brutal. After the heat of the day goes down, so do the bugs.
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