This is prime time for Monarch butterflies, whose 1,800-mile round-trip migration path flutter along the West Coast each winter from Mendocino to San Diego. The graceful orange and black butterflies congregate in eucalyptus, cypress and pine groves, clustering in branches and flitting in the sun-warmed air.
You can see them at Pacific Grove’s Monarch Sanctuary, at Santa Cruz’ Natural Bridges State Beach, Pismo Beach’s Monarch Grove and so on down the coast.
RELATED: Catch the annual Monarch butterfly migration in Pacific Grove right now
Pacific Grove’s butterfly sanctuary scored the top spot on a list of the best places in the U.S. to see butterflies of every variety, published in Martha Stewart Living, which also included butterfly gardens, museums and sanctuaries across the country.
Also on the list: The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and its climate-controlled pavilion, which is home to 300 butterflies from nearly every continent from South America to Asia. The butterfly center at Georgia’s Callaway Gardens flit about a glass-enclosed conservatory. And some 200 species of butterflies frequent Texas’ 100-acre National Butterfly Center.
Here’s the list:
1. Monarch Sanctuary, Pacific Grove
2. Butterfly Pavilion, Smithsonian, Washington, D.C.
3. Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center, Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain, Georgia
4. Tropical Butterfly House, Pacific Science Center, Seattle, Washington
5. National Butterfly Center, Mission, Texas
6. Magic Wings Butterfly House, Museum of Life and Science, Durham, North Carolina