View Directions to Natural Bridges State Beach, West Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz, CA in a larger map
They are one of the world's most beautiful, lightest delicate creatures on earth.
Here are some fun facts found on a website that are interesting.
1. The larvae (caterpillars) of monarch butterflies eat ONLY milkweed, this is why the monarch butterfly is dubbed the ‘milkweed butterfly’. The larvae stage is the only stage of the monarch butterfly that feeds on milkweed; there is something in milkweed that allows the caterpillar to grow and keep all of the vitamins needed to transform into a beautiful butterfly.
2. Did you know that all butterflies are cold-blooded creatures? They simply can not handle the colder weather so have to travel somewhere warmer. They also need to stay where their food source is – if it’s winter and there are no flowers, they can not stay there. The monarch butterflies will spend their winter hibernation in Mexico and some parts of Southern California where it is warm all year long. If the monarch lives in the Eastern states, usually east of the Rocky Mountains, it will migrate to Mexico and hibernate in oyamel fir trees. If the monarch butterfly lives west of the Rocky Mountains, then it will hibernate in and around Pacific Grove, California in eucalyptus trees.
If you are interested in viewing these lovely butterflies, you don't have to go far. There are a couple of places near San Francisco that have special parks that give great importance to the monarchs. Santa Cruz, Ca is one of them. A 45 minute drive from Santa Clara, Ca will lead you on CA 17 to Santa Cruz the fishing town known for its surfing, kayaking, sea food that is awesome on the pier, the Natural Bridges beach and the Monarch butterfly grove situated next to it.
- Best time to visit: October - late February
- Wear layered clothing as it can get pretty cold here
- Wheel chair and stroller accessible
Monarch Butterfly-Watching Spots in California Winter Sites (from North to South):
- Fremont, Ardenwood Historic Farm, in the North Woods between the railroad tracks and the northern fence boundary
- Santa Cruz, Natural Bridges State Beach, a site accessible to everyone
- Pacific Grove Monarch Grove Sanctuary, Monarch butterfly grove near Monterey
- Andrew Molera State Park, Big Sur, through the Environmental Campground to Cooper's Cabin
- Morro Bay State Park, typically around campsite #116
- Pismo Beach, Pismo State Beach, at the south end of the North Beach Campground
- Santa Barbara, Coronado Butterfly Preserve
- Ventura, Camino Real Park: Main Street east to Mills Road. Turn left onto Mills. Turn right Dean Drive west to the park entrance
- Malibu, Point Mugu State Park, Big Sycamore Canyon (an autumn site)
- Long Beach, El Dorado Nature Center
- Encinitas, Monarch Butterfly House
- San Diego, UCSD (La Jolla Shores Dr at Azul St)