*Our field trip reservation procedures have changed as of January 2018. Please read carefully.
Natural Bridges State Beach offers several guided tours for school groups at various times of the year. To make a field trip request, please refer to our online calendar at the bottom of this page to see what times are available (updated weekly). Read all the information below before submitting a request. Then complete and submit the Field Trip Request Form near the bottom of this page. Reservations must be made a minimum of two weeks in advance. Park staff will follow up to confirm the field trip. All field trips at Natural Bridges offer admission/parking at no charge for K-12 school groups.
There are several types of guided tours for school groups:
• Monarch Tours: From October through January, Monarch Tours are available for pre-K through 12th grade students. This includes a 30-minute indoor program highlighting the monarch life cycle and migration followed by an experiential outdoor walk to the milkweed garden and butterfly sanctuary. The tour lasts one hour and accommodates one class at a time. The park begins accepting reservations for Monarch Tours on August 1. Monarch Tours happen rain or shine.
• Tidepool Tours: From approximately March 1 to July 30 each year, Tidepool Tours are available for first through 12th grade students. This program begins with a 30-minute tidepool introduction in the Visitor Center, followed by a guided walk and rocky intertidal exploration. The program lasts 90 minutes and accommodates one class at a time. Tides must be less than 2 feet to safely view the pools. Please refer to our online calendar to see what times are available and safe for Tidepool Tours. Non-slip shoes are recommended for Tidepool Tours. Shoes may get wet. Tidepool Tours are cancelled in inclement weather for safety reasons. The park begins accepting reservations for Tidepool Tours on January 2.
• Nature Walks: When the monarchs have migrated inland or when the tides are not conducive to exploring the intertidal zone, Natural Bridges State Beach offers a guided Nature Walk. The walk follows a 1-mile trail that winds its way through a diversity of habitats. The program highlights 3rd and 4th grade Next Generation Science Standards such as weathering, erosion, and the relationship between organisms and their environment.
• Restoration: Restoration work provides a fantastic opportunity to lend a hand, and connect with the park and with nature. Students can help by watering plants, planting trees and eradicating invasive flora. Length of restoration time can vary depending on the age and availability of the group.
• Self-guided Tours: Please contact the visitor center for self-guided tours. The marine-protected tidepools and monarch preserve have countless visitors and are too often over-impacted. It is critical to limit the number of groups visiting at one time so please notify us of your visit.
Field Trip Details
• Meet on time at the Visitor Center.
• Allow plenty of time for students to use the restrooms before beginning the tour.
• Notify the park immediately at 831-423-4609 if the group is running late. Late tours may be shortened or cancelled.
• Group leaders are responsible for the safety, conduct and behavior of the group. Following these guidelines will help ensure a fun and safe trip.
• A ratio of one adult for every seven children is required. The maximum group size for all tours is 35, which includes both children and adults.
• Dress in layers as the weather is variable.
• Bring a First Aid kit on the trail.
• Encourage the adults in the group to be active participants.
• Collecting is not allowed in State Parks. Please leave all shells, rocks, sticks, animals, seaweed or anything else where it is. These things are part of what makes Natural Bridges a special place to visit.
• Monarch Tours happen rain or shine.
• Non-slip shoes are recommended for Tidepool Tours. Shoes may get wet.
• Tidepool Tours are cancelled in inclement weather for safety reasons.
• Picnic tables, water fountains and restrooms are available for use.
• Recycling bins are available. Please educate the group to help reduce waste.
• Please ask about resources for visitors with special needs.
Donations and Thank You Letters
A minimum donation of $1 per participant is requested for guided tours. Donations help support educational programs. Cash or checks can be made out to Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks (FOSCSP) and submitted to park employees or sent by mail. You will receive a receipt.
Remember, docents are volunteers who lead tours on their own time! Thank you letters or drawings are greatly appreciated, and also help students reinforce what they have learned.
Donations and Thanks You Letters can be sent to: Natural Bridges State Beach, c/o 2531 West Cliff Dr. Santa Cruz, CA 95060
The ParkStore at Natural Bridges is run by Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks. All proceeds from bookstore sales are used to fund educational programs in the local parks. Teachers get a 10 percent educator’s discount at the store.
Cancellations with two weeks notice are preferred so the tour spot can be offered to another group. Please give park staff at least 24 hours notice of a cancellation so volunteer docents can be informed.
*This calendar is updated when possible. Use these dates as a guideline, you are not guaranteed the date requested as we may be scheduling previously submitted requests. ALWAYS include alternative dates.
To submit a Natural Bridges Field Trip Request Form, please click here.