Monarch Grove Butterfly Sanctuary


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 butterflies. 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.

Where to see Monarch Butterflies

Every October, thousands of butterflies make a stop in a Pacific Grove eucalyptus grove, the preferred Monarch butterfly habitat, during their migration to warmer climates. The butterflies hang in clusters from eucalyptus branches to maintain body temperature, and the resulting effect is stunning. Visitors come from miles around to take Monarch butterfly tours throughout the sanctuary.

The City of Pacific Grove created the butterfly sanctuary 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. (Molesting a butterfly is illegal in Pacific Grove -- the fine is $1,000.) Monarchs stay in the Monarch butterfly grove from October until February when they continue their migration south.

Read more on the blog, " Pacific Grove Transforms into a Monarch Mecca."


Butterfly Parade

Pacific Grove's annual Butterfly Parade, a tradition that goes back almost three-quarters of a century, is held on the first Saturday of every October. The Butterfly Parade, as well as the Butterfly Bazaar that follows, celebrates the return of the Monarch butterfly to Pacific Grove, the beautiful insects' annual wintering stop.

Pacific Grove Butterfly Parde

Map and Directions

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. The sanctuary is open year-round, but the best time to spot butterflies is from October through February. Admission is free.

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