The Pismo Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove


The Monarch Butterfly Grove in Pismo Beach feels like a place which is straight out of a fairytale. Every year from October to March, tens of thousands of colorful butterflies flock to Pismo Beach, fluttering gracefully between the trees and awing spectators young and old.

These butterflies come from the North as far as Canada, seeking warmth and shelter here on the Central Coast on the limbs of the eucalyptus trees on the Coast of Highway 1. The grove is one of the largest in our nation, and has seen over the last 5 years an average of 25,000 butterflies.


The trees appear to be covered in orange leaves, because the butterflies form a sort of shingle type shelter, painting the trees in their dense vibrant clusters. Each single butterfly hangs its wing down over the one it below to provide warmth and protect themselves from the rain. The  heavy weight of the entire cluster on the branch help keeps it from whipping around in any sort of wind that may come along the coast which could dislodge them.


The Monarchs which migrate to Pismo are a special type of Monarch, which have a lifespan of six months compared to common Monarchs which only live up to six weeks. This could be attributed to a unique fat storing system that these particular ones have developed.

To learn more about these butterflies, you can visit the docent trailer at the grove from 10am-4pm daily. There are daily talks given at 11am and 2pm, and telescopes out for closer viewing of the butterflies in the grove. It’s best to go on warmer days, as the butterflies can’t fly if the temperature is under 55 degrees.


The Grove is located on the Southern end of Pismo Beach near the Oceano Dunes and the North Beach Campground.

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