The monarch migration is one of the most spectacular natural phenomena that you can witness in California. While monarchs, or Danaus plexippus, pass through many states on their annual route from north to south, the eucalyptus groves of the Central California Coast are their final destination. Here is where they stay for about four months, enjoying the mild winter climate. Monarchs arrive in California in mid-October and usually stay till February. There are several butterfly sanctuaries that can be visited during this time in just a short distance from Los Angeles.
In just a 1.5-hour drive from LA, you can reach Goleta’s Butterfly Grove, not far from Santa Barbara. A beautiful coastal sanctuary consists of pine and eucalyptus trees. On a cold day, when the temperature is below 55 °F (14 °C), you can see butterflies sleeping in clusters on the trees. If the weather is warmer, you can spot many of them flying. The butterfly trail leads to beautiful Ellwood Beach where you can marvel at more views of the ocean.
2,5 hours from LA, you can reach Pismo Beach Butterfly Grove, another beautiful wintering site for monarch butterflies. It is known to host one of the largest monarch congregations in California. Thousands of beautiful winged creatures fly around gathering nectar during the day or resting on the trees if it's too cold for them to fly. The sanctuary can be accessed from North Beach Campground. After the walk, you might also want to stop at the Pismo Beach Pier for some stunning ocean views.