Monarch Butterflies

Monarch Butterflies, Like Humans, Love Monterey County

Monarch butterflies flock to the region, settling in at forest groves to wait out the winter. Though the butterflies congregate in areas from Big Sur through Monterey, their best-known wintering-over spot is in Pacific Grove.

The Monarch butterflies that come to Monterey County are a special generation of butterfly. While most Monarchs live only four to five weeks after they reach adulthood, the generation that overwinters in Monterey County lives up to six months. Even more incredible, scientists still aren't sure how each new migrating generation knows the way to warm weather spots. This stunning display is best viewed at the Pacific Grove's Monarch Grove Butterfly Sanctuary.

The City of Pacific Grove created the butterfly sanctuary in 1990 to preserve both this Monarch butterfly habitat and the opportunity to view this incredible natural display. The sanctuary is free, and visitors are invited to visit, watch, admire and take Monarch butterfly photos and videos, so long as they don't touch. (As per Pacific Grove Municipal Code, Chapter 11.48, "it is declared to be unlawful for any person to molest or interfere with...the peaceful occupancy of the monarch butterflies" -- the fine is $1,000.) The sanctuary is open year round, but the best time to spot butterflies is from October through February. 

Map and Directions to Monarch Grove Butterfly Sanctuary

To find the Monarch Grove Butterfly Sanctuary, take Lighthouse Avenue to Ridge Road, and find parking. The pathway to the Butterfly Sanctuary is tucked away next to the Butterfly Grove Inn's property, and has a white picket fence on one side. 

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