See Monarch Butterflies
Based in Santa Cruz, California, Natural Bridges State Park is 65-acres of waterfront parkland and is famous for its yearly migration of monarch butterflies. Visitors can see thousands of the colourful creatures during peak season (from mid October to late January). In cooler weather, you can see the butterflies hanging in clusters from the branches of eucalyptus trees set within a protected canyon providing shelter from the wind. In warmer temperatures, the butterflies will be fluttering freely around the park. Visitors can also get up-close to Monarch eggs, caterpillars and chrysalises in a special demonstration area. The family-friendly park offers fascinating tours where you can learn more about the migration and lifecycle of the butterfly.
Wildlife-Spotting at Natural Bridges State Beach
A haven for wildlife lovers, Natural Bridges State Beach is a great place to spy migrating whales, seals and otters, as well as shore and ocean birds, including pelicans and cormorants. At low tide, families with kids in tow should make a beeline for one of the many tidepools where you can spot sea stars, crabs, sea anemones and many more sea creatures.
Natural Bridges State Beach named after its natural mudstone bridge that was carved into the cliff by the ocean more than a million years ago. Visitors used to be allowed to climb on the bridge, but since the arch is now in danger of collapsing, it has been closed to the public.
Visitors can enjoy numerous year-round sporting activities at Natural Bridges State Beach, including swimming, hiking, kite flying, windsurfing and surfing, the latter of which is most popular during the winter months thanks to large swells. Scenic hiking trails feature the Monarch Butterfly Nature Preserve and the Moore Creek estuary.
Where to Eat
If you fancy a barbecue, grills can be found among eucalyptus and pine trees. Alternatively, enjoy a picnic on the beach.
Stay near Natural Bridges State Beach
Moments from Natural Bridges State Park is a huge range of accommodation options to suit all budgets, including picturesque spa resorts, boutique hotels, beach-front inns and cheap motels. Many of these properties offer swimming pools, high-speed internet and air conditioning.