Beach, at Natural Bridges, State Beach

School kids cavorted
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A school bus load of middle-school children had been brought to the beach that day. At first they ran and played until tired. After this shot, they sat in a circle for a lesson.


Beach at Natural Bridges State Beach   •  Beach part of a California State Beach at Santa Cruz   •  2531 West Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz, California   •  (Photo posted Tuesday 23 March 2010)   •  (Photo taken 12:07:58 Thursday 11 March 2010)   •  © 2010 Bryan Costales Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License #120758_2519BCX
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The natural bridge
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What was left of the natural bridges lay just off shore. Wave action created the original bridges that connected to the mainland. Wave action has eroded the bridges to this one remaining span. Eventually, Natural Bridges State Park will not have natural bridges.


Beach at Natural Bridges State Beach   •  Beach part of a California State Beach at Santa Cruz   •  2531 West Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz, California   •  (Photo posted Tuesday 23 March 2010)   •  (Photo taken 12:09:20 Thursday 11 March 2010)   •  © 2010 Bryan Costales Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License #120920_2520BCX
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The lifeguard station was closed
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Perhaps it was the winter season, or perhaps it was the current state budget woes, but on this day the lifeguard station was closed. It should be noted that it cost US $10 per car for day-use of the park.


Beach at Natural Bridges State Beach   •  Beach part of a California State Beach at Santa Cruz   •  2531 West Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz, California   •  (Photo posted Tuesday 23 March 2010)   •  (Photo taken 12:11:14 Thursday 11 March 2010)   •  © 2010 Bryan Costales Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License #121114_2527BCX
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An excellent location to photograph birds
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That early afternoon found three different kinds of birds gathered on the beach. Gulls, Whimbrels, and Plovers were present, likely because the beach was sparsely crowded that day.


Beach at Natural Bridges State Beach   •  Beach part of a California State Beach at Santa Cruz   •  2531 West Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz, California   •  (Photo posted Tuesday 23 March 2010)   •  (Photo taken 12:12:20 Thursday 11 March 2010)   •  © 2010 Bryan Costales Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License #121220_2528BCX
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Signs that young children enjoyed the beach too
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One advantage to a lightly occupied beach is that a child can wander from his or her toys and the toys will remain until a later return. Toy safety was also insured by banning dogs from the park.


Beach at Natural Bridges State Beach   •  Beach part of a California State Beach at Santa Cruz   •  2531 West Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz, California   •  (Photo posted Tuesday 23 March 2010)   •  (Photo taken 12:15:24 Thursday 11 March 2010)   •  © 2010 Bryan Costales Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License #121524_2534BCX
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Above the beach was a picnic area
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Just up a rise from the beach was a picnic area. This day was in late winter so the trees were not yet fully greened. A man in a yellow shirt was the only occupant.


Beach at Natural Bridges State Beach   •  Beach part of a California State Beach at Santa Cruz   •  2531 West Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz, California   •  (Photo posted Tuesday 23 March 2010)   •  (Photo taken 12:16:34 Thursday 11 March 2010)   •  © 2010 Bryan Costales Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License #121634_2536BCX
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The picnic tables were empty that day
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One would expect a beach area this nice to be more crowded. Note that this was the rainy season, still winter, and the middle of the week. Weekends, the hot months of spring, summer and autumn, or any dry time, this beach will be crowded. The only barrier to entry was that US $10 day-use fee.


Beach at Natural Bridges State Beach   •  Beach part of a California State Beach at Santa Cruz   •  2531 West Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz, California   •  (Photo posted Tuesday 23 March 2010)   •  (Photo taken 12:17:50 Thursday 11 March 2010)   •  © 2010 Bryan Costales Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License #121750_2537BCX
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The view beyond the picnic area
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Beyond the picnic area was a gentle sandy rise up to the free twenty-minute parking area. For some, a quick romp on the beach would be enough. Note that the beach is three miles from downtown Santa Cruz. Distant enough to not walk, but close enough to bicycle. Also note that both the #20 and #3 buses run from downtown to this beach (a 34 minute trip) but the drop-off point is at the far north of the park, about a 10 minute walk from the drop-off point to the beach.


Beach at Natural Bridges State Beach   •  Beach part of a California State Beach at Santa Cruz   •  2531 West Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz, California   •  (Photo posted Tuesday 23 March 2010)   •  (Photo taken 12:17:59 Thursday 11 March 2010)   •  © 2010 Bryan Costales Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License #121758_2538BCX
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A sign in the Visitor Center
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The park's visitor center had exhibits showing the flora and fauna of the park. It also had this sign which showed how the natural bridges have eroded over time, from 1900 to the present.


Beach at Natural Bridges State Beach   •  Beach part of a California State Beach at Santa Cruz   •  2531 West Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz, California   •  (Photo posted Tuesday 23 March 2010)   •  (Photo taken 12:25:48 Thursday 11 March 2010)   •  © 2010 Bryan Costales Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License #122548_2541BCX
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