250 Ridge Road
Pacific Grove, CA 93950
Each year Monarch butterflies swarm up to 2,000 miles from places as far as Canada to winter in California’s warmer temps. More than 25,000 of those travelers make their way to Pacific Grove to pass the winter posing for photos and relaxing in the eucalyptus and pine trees of the Monarch Grove Sanctuary.
The butterfly migration has become such a part of Pacific Grove that the town has been nicknamed “Butterfly Town, U.S.A.”
To conserve heat, the beauties themselves cluster together in the trees, creating a stunning sight in the sunlight. On warmer days you’ll often see them flashing and flitting through the grove, only to return back to their clusters as it gets cooler. A miracle of nature at its finest.
The sanctuary is open daily from sunrise to sunset, and the typical season runs from November through February, with the population peaking in late-November/early-December. The sanctuary is free to enter, and during peak season docents are often available to answer questions. Visit the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History website for more information.
Note: Make sure you avoid touching or disturbing any of the flying insects—the fine for “molesting” butterflies in this protective town is $1,000.
Read about more “wild” adventures in the Bay Area.
It’s easiest to drive to Pacific Grove, but once in the area you can get around by bike.