Monarch Butterflies in Santa Cruz and Pacific Grove, California

Hello and Happy Weekend! Today I’d like to share with you pics of Monarch butterflies in Santa Cruz, California.

This impromptu trip last Friday was prompted by a local news story on the comeback of the Monarch butterflies in California,

Monarch Migration a 3000 Mile Journey from Canada to Mexico via California

Monarch butterflies are easily recognized by their large and vibrant orange wings. What makes these butterflies so special is how they go on the most incredible cross-continental journey traveling more than 3000 miles from Canada and the northern United States to the Oyamel Fir Forests in the mountains of Mexico ; while on the way stopping in California to take a winter break in the warm temperatures.

Each fall millions of monarch butterflies migrate to overwintering sites in Mexico and to locations along the coast of California. These butterflies usually arrive in California in November and stay through February, with their numbers peaking between Thanksgiving and Christmas. They prefer central and southern California’s warm, mild winters and don’t fare well at temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

In the spring monarchs return to breeding areas and the cycle starts again: a two-way migration that is one of the most spectacular on the planet.

Monarch Butterflies at Natural Bridges State Beach in Santa Cruz

One of the spots these butterflies can be found is at Natural Bridges State Beach in Santa Cruz. This park is a popular hangout for the majestic Monarch Butterflies and we saw lots of them when we went. Over 1700 Monarchs were hanging out at this nature preserve. With our January temps in the 60s and sunny blue skies, it was the perfect day to see these beauties.

Hotel for Butterflies

Monarchs tend to cluster in groves of eucalyptus, Monterey cypress, or Monterey pines because the trees act as a blanket and umbrella during winter storms.

They call this eucalyptus grove in Santa Cruz a hotel for butterflies as thousands of Monarch butterflies can be seen here in the fall and early winter as they migrate from cold Canada to the temperate California coast to take shelter here from the harsh winter temperatures.

I really thought these clumps were bunches of dry eucalyptus leaves. Until I realized they were hundreds of Monarchs all clustered together!

Monarchs at Pacific Grove

My friend Swati shared these videos and photos of her visit to Pacific Grove in Monterey this week which is another popular hangout for overwintering Monarchs.


Walk on West Cliff Drive

After our Monarch butterfly viewing , a walk by the ocean on a beautiful day seemed like the perfect way to end our afternoon.

Family pics by the sea

I don’t know how else to say it. I just love the ocean!! Love it, love it, love it!!

Therapeutic Ocean

There is something magically therapeutic watching the ocean and looking off into the horizon.

Hope you enjoyed this look at the majestic Monarch Butterflies. If you live in California and would like more information on where to see these butterflies take a look at the links below.

Here is a link to Natural Bridges State Beach and Monarch Butterflies in Santa Cruz, California

For where Monarchs are hanging out all over California take a look at this link Here’s where Monarchs are hanging out right now on visitcalifornia.com

Have a fabulous weekend everyone!

11 thoughts on “Monarch Butterflies in Santa Cruz and Pacific Grove, California”

  1. Just breathtakingly beautiful! Love your videos of the monarchs flitting about! Brings back fond memories
    when the boys were little and we’d head to the natural bridges to watch in awe at the monarch butterflies doing their thing.🦋🦋🦋. Happy weekend!🥰

  2. Ahhhh, so lovely to see the monarch butterflies – I’ve been reading so much about them. And yes, the ocean is definitely therapeutic. It immediately lifts my spirits up! 😍

    1. Yes they’ve been all over our local news lately apparently this is the most Monarchs we’ve had in over a decade! Hopefully nature is looking better for these beautiful creatures.

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