Monarch Habitat Sanctuary

The Monarch Habitat Sanctuary is home to one of most fascinating wonders of the world – migrating monarch butterflies that arrive here in the tens of thousands leaving behind a spectacular trail of mystery and marvel.

Overwintering at Pacific Grove

Pacific Grove, specifically its eucalyptus grove, has been one of the largest overwintering sites in the United States of America and remains the largest public site in the country. The Monarch butterflies begin to arrive from Canada and elsewhere in October with the numbers peaking towards the end of November. They begin their return journey just as spring sets in, usually when March rolls in.

Black, orange and a lot of flutter

Monarch butterflies have distinctive orange wings interrupted by black veins with a pretty border of white spots. You might have a hard time distinguishing the butterflies as they rest towards the tops of the trees. However, if you visit the sanctuary when the sun is at its warmest, between 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm, you will get to enjoy a dazzling spectacle.

As thousands of butterflies flutter about in the golden gleam of the noon sun, you will find that time stands still, for just a moment, as words fail to adequately describe this magnificent display of nature.


Handy Tip

  • The Monarch Habitat Sanctuary is only a minute’s drive from the Monterey Bay Aquarium, just in case you’d like to cover two family-friendly destinations in a day.
  • Do NOT touch a monarch. You could end up poorer by $1000 for “molestation of butterflies.” You’ve been warned.