National Parks / Natural World

Monarch Butterfly Grove Pismo Beach

Where is it at?

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Monarch Butterfly Grove
State Highway 1
Pismo Beach
CA
CA 93950
Tel: 800-443-7778

Directions

The Monarch Butterfly Grove is located in the extreme southern end of the City of Pismo Beach just off Hwy 1. Free parking is available inside the North Beach Campground, just north of the Trees.

Where are we going today?

Each year thousands of vibrant orange and black Monarch Butterflies flock to Pismo Beach, seeking shelter from the freezing northern winters. From late October to February, the butterflies cluster in the limbs of a grove of Eucalyptus trees at Pismo State Beach. The grove is easily accessible. It is located on State Highway 1 at the south boundary of the city limits of Pismo Beach. Spectators come from all over the Central Coast and throughout the state to view the Monarchs. Visitors are greeted by knowledgeable and well-informed volunteer docents offering daily talks and information. The butterflies form dense clusters with each one hanging with its wing down over the one below it to form a shingle effect. This provides shelter from the rain and warmth for the group. The weight of the cluster help keeps it from whipping in the wind and dislodging the butterflies. Our colony is one of the largest in the nation, hosting an average of 25,000 butterflies over the last five years.
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What people are saying?

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    No words to describe this place. This is one of the places where butterflies migrate in their life cycles. You can see thousands of them hanging from many branches. Loved it. Came here with my wife and kid while i was on my way to sfo through hwy 1

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    I came right at the end of the Monarch mating season, so I missed the amazingness that is the Grove during its peak, but there were still Monarchs aflutter practically everywhere!

    Because it was the end of the mating season the monarchs were strewn on the ground, so you were made vigilant about where you stepped by the avid volunteers who greeted you at the entrance with shouts of "Look down before you look up!". The monarchs were on the ground because the males apparently get aggressive and dive bomb any other monarch nearby to try and mate. They...Read More

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    We visited here on 27 Dec 2013. The monarchs are here only November through February and on our visit there were an estimated 30,000 monarchs. They are high up in the trees and cluster together on branches. There are a few telescopes there and volunteers to educate the visitors. Recommend bringing binoculars or a camera with a decent zoom. It is free and open all day, everyday.

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    When the butterflies are there, the place is magical and the staff are friendly and informative. Outside of the migration time it is just a good little 'park' with lots of eucaliptus trees. We came across it by accident, and the monarchs were there.

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Submit a review

by Leila Rahil

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I came right at the end of the Monarch mating season, so I missed the amazingness that is the Grove during its peak, but there were still Monarchs aflutter practically everywhere!

Because it was the end of the mating season the monarchs were strewn on the ground, so you were made vigilant about where you stepped by the avid volunteers who greeted you at the entrance with shouts of "Look down before you look up!". The monarchs were on the ground because the males apparently get aggressive and dive bomb any other monarch nearby to try and mate. They "wrestle" on the ground to not only identify gender, but if it is a female, the male attempts to "date" with the female, and if the female approves, they fly off together to do the do. It is fascinating to watch!

They have a merch trailer and they have a couple of telescopes set up focused so you can see the monarchs in the far off treetops.

It really is a sight to behold and I can't even imagine the overwhelming beauty during the peak! I felt like I was in the middle of some sort of Disney film watching the butterflies do their flutter dance from tree to tree and was in awe when I realized what I thought were leaves were actually perched monarchs!

Definitely worth a stop!

Parking is available on the side of the road and entrance is free.

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