Monarch Butterfly-Watching Spots in California
Monarch butterflies are not able to survive the cold winters of most of the United States so they migrate south and west each autumn to escape the cold weather. The monarch migration usually starts in about October of each year and in California ends around February or March.
Since I am a California guy, I chose to go to Pismo Beach because each year thousands of vibrant orange and black Monarch Butterflies flock to Pismo Beach, seeking shelter from the freezing northern winters. 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 Pismo Beach colony is one of the largest in the nation, hosting an average of 25,000 butterflies over the last five years.
Listed below are other wonderful location to see the Monarchs if you cannot get to Pismo State Beach.
* Fremont, Ardenwood Historic Farm, in the North Woods between the railroad tracks and the northern fence boundary
* Santa Cruz, Natural Bridges State Beach, a site accessible to everyone
* Pacific Grove Monarch Grove Sanctuary, Monarch butterfly grove near Monterey
* Andrew Molera State Park, Big Sur, through the Environmental Campground to Cooper’s Cabin
* Morro Bay State Park, typically around campsite #116
* Pismo Beach, Pismo State Beach, at the south end of the North Beach Campground
* Santa Barbara, Coronado Butterfly Preserve
* Ventura, Camino Real Park: Main Street east to Mills Road. Turn left onto Mills. Turn right Dean Drive west to the park entrance
* Malibu, Point Mugu State Park, Big Sycamore Canyon (an autumn site)
* Long Beach, El Dorado Nature Center
* Encinitas, Monarch Butterfly House
* San Diego, UCSD (La Jolla Shores Dr at Azul St)
Be sure to put this trip on your next road Trip Bucket List. Happy Viewing and shooting. Don’t forget your Tripod for the really great photos.