Weird California
Weird California
Weird California - By Joe Parzanese

Pismo Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove

Map Highway 1, aka Dolliver Street, Pismo Beach, California 93433

Over thirty thousand butterflies gathered in Pismo Beach.
Over thirty thousand butterflies gathered in Pismo Beach.

Butterflies in the Grove
Butterflies in the Grove

Every year, thousands upon thousands of Monarch Butterflies migrate to the Central Coast of California for the winter. They gather, starting in October and staying through February, in a small grove of Eucalyptus Trees just south of Pismo Beach along Highway 1.

While there, spectators can see hoards of butterflies clustered together, one butterfly lying on top of the other with their wings held down over the butterfly below it. This clustering protects the butterfly from the cold, rain, etc, and allows them to last through the winter.

When we last visited in January 2014, there were over 30,000 butterflies in attendance at the grove. This may sound like a lot, and for recent years, it is, but in the 1990/1991 season there were over 230,000 butterflies present in the grove!

Pismo Beach welcomes the migrating butterflies each year by decorating up their three giant clams, painting a butterfly on the clams. These three giant clams are done up a variety of ways for the holidays and other local events.

The monarchs wintering in Pismo Beach are not the same monarchs migrating to Mexico. These monarchs are ones that live west of the Rocky Mountain Range and instead of wintering in Mexico, they winter in areas in California such as Pismo Beach.

There are several other Monarch Butterfly Roosts in California. These include Fremont, Santa Cruz, Morro Bay, San Diego, Encinitas, Long Beach, Malibu, Big Sur, Ventura and Monterey.


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Last Edited: 2014-01-25

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