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Natural Bridges State Beach is world-renowned for its yearly migration of monarch butterflies. It's situated 5 minutes driving from Santa Cruz. Visitors can see thousands during the butterflies' peak season. The best time to see monarchs in the park is usually from mid-October to late January. (Dates the butterflies arrive and leave can vary widely from year to year. Call ahead to find out if the monarchs have arrived in mid-October, and to make sure they are still in the grove in late January.)

This beach, with its famous natural bridge, is an excellent place to view shore and ocean birds, migrating whales, and seals and otters playing offshore. Further along the beach, tidepools offer a glimpse of life beneath the sea. Low tides reveal sea stars, crabs, sea anemones, and other colorful ocean life. Tide charts are available in the bookstore.

The park also includes areas of coastal scrub meadows, with bright native wildflowers in the spring. Moore Creek flows down to the ocean through these meadows, forming a wetlands in the sand.

Take Swift Avenue west from Hwy 1, or follow West Cliff Drive north along the in-town bluffs until it ends at Natural Bridges.

Visitor Center
The Visitor Center features displays on the monarch butterflies and other features of the park. An aquarium features animals found in the tidepools. A video is available for viewing.

The Visitor Center is open most weekends and some weekdays. Call (831) 423-4609 for current visitor center hours and special events.

Camping not available

Visitor center
Family and educational programs
Sand wheel chair available

Layered clothing is recommended due to changing weather conditions.

Restrooms and picnic areas
Visitor center
Food, lodging, and supplies nearby

Educational Activities
Family and children's programs
Guided tours
Natural Bridges will begin taking phone reservations for school group butterfly tours on August 1. 831-423-4609

General Info/Trails
Dogs allowed on 6 foot or less leash, under physical control, on paved roads and in parking lot only.

September 2008

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