The Monarch Butterfly Grove in Pismo Beach, CA is fun frugal family activity in California.
One of the coolest activities that we did this last year, besides the elephant seal colony, was visit a Monarch Butterfly Grove in Pismo, CA. Located just inside of Pismo Beach on highway 1 it is easily accessible from the 101 and is also located just a few minutes away from good food, the pier, and beach.
We have gone to Cool Cats restaurant in Pismo several times and have enjoyed the burgers and sandwiches they have there. The pier has some gorgeous views and is a really short walk from the restaurant. Park in the chain link fenced parking lot right next to the restaurant to avoid paying for parking!
At the grove, tens of thousands of butterflies rest in the trees all clumped together looking like leaves on the branches. In the picture below the big clumps of what looks like dried leaves are actually the butterflies grouped together to have protection from the wind and cold!
I would recommend going on a warmer day or at least going later in the day after it has warmed up a bit. The butterflies were just starting to come down and fly around when we were getting ready to leave. They do have several telescopes available to view the resting butterflies and docents available to answer questions.
I thought for sure my nature loving daughter would be ecstatic about seeing the butterflies. Boy was I wrong! I don’t know what was going on that day but this picture just about sums it up. There was no joy and no interest in seeing the butterflies. She didn’t perk up until we went to the pier to look around. I guess some days you win some days you lose when it comes to kids. Hopefully, you’ll have a more successful visit when you go! My son had a blast and was in awe of everything. Plus he thoroughly enjoyed kicking the dirt just as much as seeing the butterflies.
You can learn more about the Monarch Butterfly Grove here. I hope you get a chance to visit before the butterflies leave in February. I think we will try to visit again this year and hope to get more encounters with the butterflies.