Butterflies are free to fly.

If you're looking for a winter weekend getaway in Santa Cruz, you might want to check out the monarch butterfly migration at Natural Bridges State Beach, where you can see up to 150,000 butterflies from mid-October to late January or early February.

Their 2,000 mile journey occurs over four generations, starting from the California coast, and on to the Sierra Nevada foothills, then to Oregon, Nevada or Arizona, and then back to the California coast in order to escape the cold winter weather in the northwestern United States and Canada.

The City of Santa Cruz hosts a Welcome Back Monarchs Day every year in October to kick things off. The free family-friendly festival includes arts & crafts, games for kids, live music, home-made "monarch" ice cream (relax, it's pumpkin), and all the information you ever wanted to know about monarch butterflies (but were afraid to ask).

You're a butterfly
And butterflies are free to fly
Fly away, high away, bye bye

– Sir Elton John, CBE

It really is an amazing sight and definitely worth experiencing as part of your Santa Cruz trip. Guided tours are available on weekends.

Natural Bridges State Beach. 2531 W Cliff Dr, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Stay tuned and sign up for our blog for more tips and ideas for fun things to do in Santa Cruz in the Fall and Winter. Many people consider this the best time of year, and the best time to visit Santa Cruz, between September and December with plenty of organized events, activities and things to do. The weather is still warm and mild, the beaches are less crowded, and vacation home rental rates tend to be cheaper. Check availability.

Let us know if you have your own favorite things to do in Santa Cruz!

Beautiful Monarch Butterflies migrate to Natural Bridges State Park every year starting in October.

Beautiful Monarch Butterflies migrate to Natural Bridges State Park every year starting in October.

Natural Bridges State Beach

Natural Bridges State Beach

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