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Where to See and Learn How to Save the Newly Endangered Monarch Butterfly

by Aoife O'Riordan

Aug 16, 2022

© Marilyn Gould | Dreamstime.com


As of late July, scientists officially classified the monarch butterfly as endangered, putting it two steps away from extinction. Every kid recognizes a monarch butterfly with its signature orange and black pattern, and its addition to the International Union for Conservation of Nature list means this once familiar butterfly may not be as populous as before.


The monarch butterfly undertakes one of the longest migrations of any inspect species, spending winters in Mexico before venturing thousands of miles to southern Canada in the summer. California features many gardens, parks and mesas that serve as stopping points for the butterfly along its migration pattern. Family travelers wanting to see these beautiful creatures and learn more about the species and how to save them can visit these places.



Pismo Beach © Visit SLO CAL


Pismo Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove

As one of only a few sites in the state with more than 10,000 butterflies annually, Pismo Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove saw more than 13,000 monarch butterflies seek shelter this past February. Visit the grove between October and February to see the beautiful creatures clustered in the limbs of eucalyptus trees.


Andrew Molera State Park

Located in Big Sur, Andrew Molera State Park offers some of the best spots to view the monarch butterfly. The butterflies nestle in eucalyptus trees in Cooper Grove along Big Sur River. Visiting early in the morning from October to January allows you to see them in troves.



© Courtesy of Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce


Goleta Monarch Butterfly Grove at Ellwood Mesa

As the butterflies migrate through the Goleta area between November and February, visitors can view the migration for free. Open from sunrise to sunset, visitors can admire the butterflies. The grove accepts donations to support the Monarch Butterfly Docent Program.


Natural Bridges State Beach

Situated in Santa Cruz, the grove at Natural Bridges State Park contains eucalyptus trees nestled within a canyon. The protected trees provide shelter to the monarch butterflies, protecting them from the wind. A food source for the butterflies, the trees also serve as a place for the butterflies to cluster together on colder days for warmth. In addition to trees, the park also maintains a demonstration milkweed patch for visitors to view monarch eggs, caterpillars and chrysalides. Visit the park between late October and November to have the best chances of seeing the butterflies.


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