We arrived at a parking lot on a bluff overlooking the ocean. In front of us was a large rock in a little inlet. To its right was a sandy beach which was full of sun-bathers.
Upon closer inspection of the rocks in the ocean, I noticed two things. The first was that the largest rock was actually the natural bridge which the state beach is named after. There is a better view where you can see the entire hole in the rock from the beach below. The second thing was that some of the farther away rocks looked as though they were moving. This turned out to be some lazy seals taking a break some their sea frolicking to enjoy some sun. We took a photo of about twenty of them on one rock.
We entered the park, not paying the fee as the entry booth was temporarily unmanned. Out of butterfly season (Mid-October to end of February) there is little reason to go into the park facilities. We drove in to the information area, which was closed. There was only a bulletin board available to tell us that we were too late into spring to see the orange monarch butterflies. They had left to go to the Rocky Mountians were they spend the warmer months feeding on milkweed.
State Beach Vitals
65 acres located West of Santa Cruz
Follow signs from Route One as you get close to Santa Cruz heading from the north. The exit street is Swift Avenue and it will lead you to West Cliff Drive where the state beach is located.
There is a fee to bring your car into the main lot inside the park (not the lot where you can view the natural bridge from). If you want to see only the rock, you can park in the lot outside the park and then walk into the park and down a hill to the nearby beach to see the natural bridges properly.
In the winter there are docent-led butterfly and tidepool tours. Strict measures are enforced in the butterfly areas, such as no loud talking, no touching butterflies, and, of course, no smoking (this is California).
There is a "Welcome Back Monarchs Day" celebration in October and a "Migration Day" in February.
Inside the park are picnic and barbeque areas.
Results 1-3of 3 Reviews
by Armed With Passport
Miromar Lakes, Florida
June 3, 2002
From journal Touring the Monterey Peninsula - Part I - Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz, California
August 11, 2004
From journal Tye-Dye And Hi-Fives In Santa Cruz, CA
May 16, 2006
From journal The Real "Surf City" of California...