Welcoming the
Monarch Butterfly
to Pismo Beach

monarch butterflies pismo beach

We like to think of the mass migration of monarch butterflies to Pismo Beach as a natural phenomenon - except this is a tornado of energy and beauty that you want to see. The landing spot for thousands of black and orange butterflies is the Pismo Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove, and opening day is October 27, 2012.

There's No Place Like Home

Some might like to think of the clusters of monarch butterflies in the Pismo Beach Grove as a family reunion - but the butterflies that descend on this lucky spot have never been herebefore! The typical lifespan of a monarch is two to six weeks, except for the last generation of the year - the migrating butterflies - which can live for six months.

There is no clear answer as to why the monarchs gather together on the eucalyptus trees at Pismo State Beach - perhaps they're all attracted to the same conditions of that specific area, or they may derive benefits from hanging together in a massive group, offering each other protection and warmth. Their purpose is called "overwintering" and, scientists speculate, the butterflies innately seek out their winter locations almost as if they have a built-in GPS system.

Unlike the massive trek that must be undertaken to see the clusters of monarchs in Mexico, the good news is that the Pismo Beach Grove is easily accessible to anyone who is interested in the privilege of seeing this incredible work of art. The grove is located just half a mile south of Pismo Beach. It is staffed daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and docent programs are held at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The Monarch Butterfly Shingle Effect

Each monarch butterfly is smaller in size than an average teacup with a wingspan between 3.7 to 4.1 inches. Perhaps some might consider an individual butterfly insignificant in the grand scheme of things but together, however, these thousands upon thousands of vibrant creatures leave an indelible mark on anyone who is fortunate enough to witness their yearly wintering place.

The dense clusters of butterflies are "built" with each butterfly hanging with its wing over the one below - forming a sort of shingle effect and sheltering them from the elements. The weight of a cluster helps prevent it from being dislodged by the wind. The butterflies typically stay in the Pismo Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove from October through February.

Be Our Guest - Human or Butterfly

Visitors flock to the Central Coast to witness the monarchs as they settle down to rest after their long pilgrimage. The Pismo Beach colony is one of the largest in the United States, playing host to an average of 25,000 butterflies over the last five years. We at the SeaCrest OceanFront Hotel also delight in hosting the guests who make the journey especially to see these remarkable creatures. Just as everyone needs to see the Pacific Ocean at least once in their life, the sight of the monarch butterflies gathered by the thousands in one picturesque location is not to be missed in your lifetime. A stay at our Pismo Beach hotel will make your own journey that much more memorable.