It’s almost Monarch Butterfly season! In Pismo Beach, we have one of the biggest hibernation spots for the beautiful Monarch Butterflies in California. Around 28,000 to 34,000 butterflies call the Monarch Butterfly Grove in Pismo Beach home every fall, generally from October to February. Seeing thousands of butterflies nestled in clusters at the tops of high eucalyptus trees is truly an amazing experience.
The Monarchs that visit Pismo Beach are a unique species. Their life span is a long six months, in comparison to common Monarchs who only live six weeks. They have a unique fat-storing system that makes this longer lifespan possible. However, even with these abilities, these butterflies that leave Pismo Beach in March will never return.
Butterflies that visit Pismo Beach also have never been there before. Some scientists speculate that the insects are equipped with genetic honing devices, that enable them to return to the same wintering spots, year after year. In North America, butterflies consistently return to specific areas along the Central and Southern California Coast down to Mexico. Their fascinating migration returns to the Pismo coast every winter, and is a one of our favorite sights along the Central Coast.
The grove is located on the west side of Highway 1, just south of the North Beach Campground in Pismo Beach. The grove is staffed daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with docent programs at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
You can learn more about the Monarch Butterflies and the Pismo Grove at the Monarch Butterfly Opening Day Ceremony on October 22. Check out the Monarch Butterfly grove website or Facebook page for more information!