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Sandy beach
Yes
Hike-in Required
No
Surfing
Yes
Snorkeling / SCUBA
No
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

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. 

Always remember to monitor the tides when visiting Natural Bridges State Beach, which can quickly close off some areas of the shoreline.

Additional information about visiting Natural Bridges State Beach can be found here

Logistics + Planning

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

Pay to park.

Pros

Scenic views. Not too busy. Picturesque. Clean.

Cons

No dogs allowed.

Address

W Cliff Dr
2531
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
United States

Features

Picnic tables
Surfing
Tide pools
Wildlife
Whale watching
Bird watching

Location

Field Guide

Comments

10/22/2014
In addition to being a beautiful beach, Natural Bridges State Park is also a major migration destination for the monarch butterflies. In the fall, 100,000 of these beautiful insects arrive to winter in the eucalyptus groves of the park and can be observed quite closely.
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