Natural Bridges

Neil Wiley

I decided to extend my trip from Moore Creek Preserve in order to see Natural Bridges up close. I drove Mission Street Extension to Natural Bridges Drive, then left on Delaware Avenue, and right on Swanton Boulevard. I parked for free at the view site parking area. If you want to stay longer than twenty minutes, you can continue into the state beach area for a $5 parking fee.

Although the natural bridges once consisted of three arches, only one is left. It, too, will disappear some day, a victim of the eroding ocean, so better see it while you can. The small, sheltered beach is a great place to relax and play in the sand. Prevailing winds welcome sailboarders and kite fliers. Strong winter swells challenge the experienced surfer. Picnic tables and barbecues make the park a nice place to eat while watching sunsets.

Natural Bridges is a naturalistís delight. The tide pools display interesting sea creatures. And the eucalyptus groves are home to thousands of monarch butterflies every fall and winter. (October is the peak month.) For a nice short hike, walk Moore Creek Trail through the state beach area, then to the Monarch Trail through the monarch butterfly nature preserve.

Bicycles are allowed on the new paved bike path from Shaffer Road to Wilder Ranch. Coming back, you can follow bike path signs on the Mission Street Extension to Natural Bridges and West Cliff Drive.

For more information about the Natural Bridges State Beach, call 831-423-4609.


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