Each winter, thousands of beautiful orange and black Monarch Butterflies migrate to Pismo Beach, flocking together in warm California to gain shelter from the freezing northern winters. From late October to February, the butterflies gather in the grove of Eucalyptus trees at Pismo State Beach in San Luis Obispo County. Excited viewers arrive in Pismo Beach from all over to see the vibrant Monarchs in this prime location. Monarch Grove has kind, well-informed volunteer docents that give daily talks and much wisdom to guests.
The colony at Pismo beach is known to be one of the largest in the nation, as it has hosted an average of 25,000 butterflies in the last five years.
“Check out the butterflies on their winter journey, and you will not be disappointed,” said TripAdvisor.com reviewer, Dianne H. from Bakersfield, California. “There are always volunteers with telescopes and more information to explain the Monarch butterfly migration. These amazing creatures should be protected and understood.”
Spectators can watch the natural phenomenon, where the butterflies form dense clusters with each one hanging with its wing down over the one below it to protect one another. This coping mechanism provides shelter from the rain and warmth for the group. The weight of the cluster helps to keep the Monarch Butterflies from fleeing with the wind.
Other winter sites to find monarch groves:
- Andrew Molera State Park, Big Sur: The Grove ranges through the Environmental Campground to Cooper’s Cabin.
- Ardenwood Historic Farm, Fremont: The Grove can be found in the North Woods between the railroad tracks and the north fence boundary.
- Big Sycamore Canyon, Newbury Park
- Camino Real Park, Ventura
- El Dorado Nature Center, Long Beach
- Monarch Butterfly House, Encinitas: 450 Ocean View Avenue
- Morro Bay State Park, Monterey: Sightings could typically be found around campsite #116.
- Natural Bridges State Beach, Santa Cruz
- Pacific Grove Monarch Grove Sanctuary, Monterey
- Point Mugu State Park, Malibu
- University of California San Diego, San Diego: La Jolla Shores Dr. at Azul Street