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.
70 miles south of San Francisco, 35 miles north of Monterey, and unabashedly left of center, you'll find great surf, sandy beaches, redwood-covered mountains, laid-back towns, organic farms, and a burgeoning beer and wine scene. It's impossible to pick one place to visit in Santa Cruz County. Take a quick cruz of them all!