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Natural Bridges State Beach

San Francisco Peninsula + Santa Cruz, California

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Natural Bridges State Beach

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  • Looking out from the 20-minute parking area.- Natural Bridges State Beach
  • A single lifeguard tower looks over the beach. The eucalyptus grove can be seen in the back.- Natural Bridges State Beach
  • The picturesque natural bridge.- Natural Bridges State Beach
  • The picturesque natural bridge.- Natural Bridges State Beach
  • The picturesque natural bridge with a bit of seaweed in the foreground.- Natural Bridges State Beach
  • The picturesque natural bridge from the side.- Natural Bridges State Beach
  • Looking north at sunset. - Natural Bridges State Beach
  • - Natural Bridges State Beach
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Scenic views. Not too busy. Picturesque. Clean.
Cons: 
No dogs allowed.
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Region:
San Francisco Peninsula + Santa Cruz, CA
Congestion: 
Low
Location type: 
Sandy beach
Parking Pass: 
Pay to park.
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Contributor

Located just a short distance from scenic Highway 1, Natural Bridges State Beach is a secluded and picturesque beach with infrequent crowds and a clean, family-friendly area to spend the day. With a total of 65 acres to explore, you will find the famous natural bridge rock formation, tide pools, soft sand, and trails through a eucalyptus grove, which is a hotspot during annual monarch butterfly migrations. Between October and February you can expect to see around 150,000 monarch butterflies pass through the Monarch Butterfly Nature Preserve. Children and adults will be amazed by the thousands of butterflies covering the eucalyptus trees and milkweed each year.

At the beginning of the 20th century, there were three natural bridges that led to the naming of the beach. The outermost arch collapsed in the early 1900s, and the inner arch broke during a 1980 storm. You can quickly find images of this second arch online. Prior to the storm, visitors were able to climb up, walk over, and amazingly even drive cars on the "bridge." Unfortunately, the remaining middle arch is also being slowly eroded by the wind and waves, so a journey to see this natural wonder is highly recommended before it is no longer there. 

Note: Always monitor the tides, which can quickly close off some areas of the beach.

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(19 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(112 within a 30 mile radius)

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