Pismo Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove @Pismotravel

Pismo Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove

By Erin

Whenever I travel up the coast of California to the Pismo Beach and Central Coast area, there is one very special stop that I always have to make, which is to the Pismo Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove. When I was there this past October to visit and stayed up in Cambria at the beautiful  Blue Dolphin Inn I just had to make sure we got to make a stop here! We were about a month early of when the butterflies return, but when I saw THIS at the Blue Dolphin Inn where we were staying at, I was very hopeful that we would see many more there at the Butterfly Grove.

Beautiful Monarch Butterfly in Cambria

Monarch Season is usually November thru February, but we were in for a special treat as you will see below! Many of our special friends had arrived a month early!! 😉

Pismo Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove

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 as it is located right off of  State Highway 1 at the south boundary of the city limits of Pismo Beach. It is also fun to go here as there is a short little trail you can take that will bring you right to the beach! It truly is a magical place to be!

A lot of Monarchs in Pismo Beach

Here is some more info about the Monarch Grove:

Spectators come from all over the Central Coast and throughout the state to view the Monarchs. Since we were here early, the volunteer docents were not here yet, but usually visitors are greeted by knowledgeable and well-informed volunteer docents who offer 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 gives them the shelter that they need from the rain and warmth for the group. The weight of the cluster helps to keep them from whipping around in the wind.

Monarch Clusters

This colony is one of the largest in the nation, hosting an average of 25,000 butterflies over the last five years.

The Monarchs that visit Pismo Beach are of a very special variety. They have a life span of six months as opposed to that of common Monarchs who live only six weeks. This can be attributed to a unique fat storing system. However, even with an extended life span, those butterflies that leave in March will never return.

Monarch Butterflies

These Monarchs consistently return to the same wintering sites. In North America, these sites range from the Central and Southern California Coast to Mexico. It is speculated by scientists that the insects are equipped with genetic homing systems that lead them from their summer sites in the Sierras, Florida, Canada and the Great Lakes Region in North America back to their winter locations.

Monarch Butterflies

Have you been to the Monarch Butterfly Grove in Pismo Beach before? It is a must stop at place if you are ever making a trip up that way!

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