Catch Incredible Views Of The Wildlife At This Beautiful California State Beach

California is definitely one of the biggest states for tourism. While many of the state's tourist hotspots are focused around pop culture like Disneyland, Universal Studios Hollywood, and filming locations galore, California has nine national parks that vary from deserts to massive forests. However, California also has 280 state parks and state beaches. As with many national and state parks around the world, wildlife is a significant draw. Natural Bridges State Beach, just south of the San Francisco Bay Area, is no exception.

Natural Bridges State Beach not only has natural bridges like Miles' Hole, but is also teeming with animals on the shore and in the ocean. Whales migrate past this beach, and you may even spot sea otters and seals. Keep your eye out for tide pools too because when the tide is low, these small pockets of water on the shore are filled with starfish, anemones, and crabs. Additionally, less than 10 minutes east along the coast are the West Cliff Drive Tide Pools. This is another perfect place to view tide pools and all that live in them.

See hundreds of Monarch butterflies at the Natural Bridges Monarch Trail

Natural Bridges State Beach borders the Natural Bridges Monarch Trail. Monarch butterflies wait out the cooler winter months here each year. To see the most monarchs, visit around the end of October or at any time in November. A boardwalk runs through the preserve allowing visitors to see the butterflies in the eucalyptus trees along the path. Further inland you will find wildflowers and freshwater wetlands that run from the Moore Creek Preserve. This large preserve also has hiking trails and views of the ocean.

Getting to Natural Bridges State Beach is simple because it is located within the greater Santa Cruz area and is only one mile off of California's famous Highway 1. This highway is perfect for road trips as it runs along almost the entire coast of the state, but the area around the beach still feels untouched due to the rocky outcroppings and Monarch Trail.