Monarch Grove, Pismo Beach

A Must-See on Your San Luis Obispo Vacation

Monarch butterflies summer in the Sierra Nevada, Florida, Canada and the Great Lakes Region in North America, and migrate to California and Mexico in search of warmth between late October and early March. On the Central Coast, Monarchs winter in Pismo Beach, Pacific Grove and Morro Bay. The Monarch grove at Pismo Beach, a within minutes of your hotel, is one of the largest in the world, hosting an average of 100,000 butterflies.

Overwintering Monarchs form dense clusters, each covering the one below with its wing in layers like the shingles on a roof. This provides shelter from the rain and warmth for the group. The weight of the cluster helps steady it in windy conditions that might dislodge the butterflies. It is best to view the Monarchs on a warm day. They sleep in clusters, high up on the trees, when the temperature drops below 65 degrees F.

Monarch Grove, Pismo Beach is located on Highway 1 at the south boundary of the city of Pismo Beach. From the Apple Farm, head south on US 101 for 13 miles. Take the Hinds Ave. exit and turn right on Hinds for .1 mile. Turn left onto Hwy 1/Dolliver St. Follow Hwy 1 for approximately one mile. The Monarch site will be on your right. Parking is available by meandering through the North Beach campground and following signs. Or drive just past the campground entrance and park on either side of Hwy 1, where you'll find the main access point to the Monarch site.

*NOTE: The Monarch Butterfly Grove is only open during the Winter Season (October through March) when the butterflies are there. Please contact our Concierge Desk at 1-800-255-2040 for more specific dates, as each year the time to see these beautiful creatures can vary.*

Take along an Apple Farm picnic lunch! A beautiful stretch of flat, sandy Pismo beach is a short walk away, and the North Beach campground has many shady spots for a leisurely picnic.

The Natural History Museum in Morro Bay (805-772-2694),, is an excellent resource on Monarchs.

Check out the following websites for additional information: