Catch a Sunset at Natural Bridges State Beach

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Added by Blake Maitoza

Natural Bridges is an amazing place for photography, particularly at sunset!

Natural Bridges State Beach is a wonderful place to photograph located in Santa Cruz off of West Cliff Drive. This is a great place to practice long exposure photography to capture awesome water movement as it passes through the "Natural Bridge" formation.

The best time to shoot this spot is at sunrise due to the sun risng in the east directly behind the formation making for an awesome photo. Certain times of the year when there is a really high tide a lagoon will be created up on the beach. This is a perfect location to set up behind so you capture the reflection of the clouds on the water during sunrise/sunset.

This spot also gives wonderful wildlife photo opportunities as pelicans are usually on the beach. Pelicans are very photogenic and a "easy" bird to photograph due to their large size.

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Great picnic

Brought some food to the beach and picnicked here with friends. Gets popular during the summer. You can walk to the other side of the rock at low tide

Beautiful

The rock formation is pretty. There is lots and lots and lots of kelp. Skip the paid parking and park on the street on the way to the entrance (not near the houses).

Blown Away

Watching the sunset at this beach was a moment in time I wish I could stop and relive. The rocks are so beautifully complemented by the soft sand and powerful soft green waves. There’s sun stained logs around the beach and countless opportunities for photography! The rocks you can climb on towards the right side of the beach have “pockets” that capture the sea spray from waves that come from all directions slamming into the cliff side with such power. I watched the sky dance with purple and orange streaks as the sun said farewell for the day while lying on a wooden bench. The perfect way to relax at the end of a day.

Beautiful

This is a beautiful spot to stop at while in Santa Cruz. It is easily accessible and a wonderful option for a family as it is both beautiful yet is simple. To explore a bit more you can walk along the coastal path that loops around on the cliffs and take trails down onto rocks that jut out into the Pacific.

Pretty, but crowded

This natural bridge is stunning but located on a crowded Santa Cruz beach, which takes away the fun. If you go at sunset, there will almost always be some photographers there. However, it's still a very beautiful spot and great to just take in. Tip: go at night during the summertime to snag a photo of the Milky Way behind/through the arch.

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Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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