Where to Watch Monarchs Migrate in Monterey

December 8, 2023
Monarch Migration Spots in Monterey

There's nothing quite like seeing the march of the monarchs in Monterey for yourself! Monarch butterflies embark on a great migration each year to wait out the frostier months of the year in California's temperate Central Coast region. While monarch butterflies can be seen at any point after touching down in Monterey between October and March, peak viewing season lasts from December through February. Are you determined to witness the magic this year? This guide to observing monarch butterfly migration near Monterey, CA, will show you how to do it the right way.

Where Can You See Monarch Butterflies Near Monterey, California?

Pacific Grove is considered one of the best places to view migrating monarch butterflies. Nestled between Monterey and Pebble Beach on the Pacific Ocean, Pacific Grove is such a hot spot for monarchs that its nickname is Butterfly Town, U.S.A. The locals here have made it their mission to protect the butterflies during their wintering phase by establishing something called the Monarch Grove Sanctuary. Funded by a special tax for local residents, this sanctuary, located at 250 Ridge Road in Pacific Grove, is free for the public to visit. The sanctuary is open from sunrise to sunset seven days a week.

Monarch Butterflies

If you're coming to the sanctuary to observe monarch butterfly migration near Monterey, CA, there are some important things to know. Entry to the sanctuary is free all year long. However, most people come between October and February to catch the monarchs before they begin the final leg of their migration toward Mexico. Visitors are also free to observe the butterflies, snap photos of them, and record videos of them. The only thing you can't do is touch a butterfly! Molesting a monarch butterfly in any way results in a $1,000 fine.

Planning Your Visit

Lots of monarch butterflies in a tree

If you'd like to see the monarch butterflies clustering on trees, the sanctuary recommends visiting before 11 a.m. The butterflies also typically cluster on trees on overcast days with temperatures below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. If you'd prefer to see the monarchs fluttering about, the sanctuary recommends visiting in the afternoon after 11 a.m. You're also more likely to catch monarch butterflies in flight if you visit on sunny days with temperatures above 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

Celebrations Honoring California's Monarch Migration

Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History

Local residents celebrate the return of monarch butterflies each October with the annual Butterfly Parade and Bazaar. A parade that consists of local school children dressed as butterflies goes from Pine Avenue toward Lighthouses Avenue and 17th Street. A bazaar follows!

Let Your Monterey Adventure Take Flight

If you're coming to California's Central Coast for any reason between October and March, don't miss the chance to experience monarch butterfly migration near Monterey, CA! This magical and romantic experience is perfect if you're looking for date ideas. This list of things to do in Monterey for couples is also full of great spots to enjoy during a romantic getaway.


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