Monarchs in Central Coast California

Monarch butterflies make their annual migration to Mexico’s Baja Peninsula starting in October and are gone by February. They travel over 2,000 miles and some find the same forests that their ancestors landed on. The spots listed are some of the best places for you to enjoy seeing these beautiful creatures in California’s Central Coast.

Monarch Butterfly Preserve in Pismo Beach

Each year thousands of vibrant orange and black monarch butterflies flock to Monarch Butterfly Preserve in 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.

Monarch Dunes Butterfly Habitat in Nipomo

The Monarch Dunes Butterfly Habitat has supported as many as 60,000 overwintering monarch butterflies. As part of the mitigation of the development of this parcel of land for homes, golf courses and a hotel resort complex in Nipomo, nineteen acres surrounding the historic aggregation area were identified as critical for its integrity and, in 2006, were preserved as a sanctuary for overwintering monarch butterflies, now known as the Monarch Dunes Butterfly Habitat.

Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary in Pacific Grove

Witness fluttering clouds of orange and black descend upon charming Pacific Grove, also known as Butterfly Town, U.S.A. California’s central coast is the only place in America where monarch butterflies migrate to in the winter. They begin arriving in October and stay through February, creating spectacular effects as they flit and float through the air and hang in clusters from eucalyptus, pine and cypress trees in Pacific Grove’s Monarch Grove Butterfly Sanctuary. Because monarch butterflies have a lifespan of less than one year, their migration remains a mystery. They arrive each year, never having been to this destination before. Visit in the early afternoon, the warmest time of day, to see these delightful creatures when they’re most active.

California’s Central Coast consists of:

VENTURA REGION: Ventura County, Camarillo, Conejo Valley, Heritage Valley, Oxnard, Port Hueneme, Simi Valley
SANTA BARBARA REGION: Santa Barbara County, Buellton, Carpinteria Valley, Goleta, Lompoc Valley, Los Olivos, Santa Maria Valley, Solvang, Santa Ynez Valley
SAN LUIS OBISPO REGION: San Luis Obispo County, Arroyo Grande, Atascadero, Cambria, Cayucos, Grover Beach, Harmony, Morro Bay, Nipomo, Paso Robles, Pismo Beach, San Simeon
MONTEREY BAY REGION: Monterey County, Santa Cruz County, Carmel, Gilroy, Hollister, San Benito

About Central Coast Tourism Council

The Central Coast Tourism Council (CCTC) is a non-profit organization comprised of Destination Management Organizations (DMOs; Convention & Visitor Bureaus, Chambers of Commerce, etc.) throughout the California Central Coast. Comprised of tourism and hospitality professionals, the mission of CCTC is to jointly promote the entire California Central Coast as a destination. The four regions that comprise California’s Central Coast include Monterey Bay, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura. The CCTC also serves as the Central Coast’s voice in Sacramento, and as a partner with Visit California’s global marketing and advertising campaigns.