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Ellwood Butterfly Preserve and Beach

Santa Barbara, CA
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Ellwood Butterfly Preserve and Beach, Santa Barbara California

Description

Ellwood Butterfly Preserve, located in a grove of blue gum eucalyptus trees, is a magical place to be between November and February, when thousands upon thousands of monarch butterflies return here to mate. If you don't see the butterflies at first, look up at the trees. There are so many of them that they look like leaves! Sometimes they will be quietly hanging like leaves, but other times, late in the morning, they will be fluttering all about, making this area a wonderously beautiful spot. Little children will enjoy seeing the butterflies land right by them! Don't touch them though, because they can die from the oil on your skin. The light filtering in through the tall eucalyptus trees and catching the colors on the butterflies' wings is so lovely! It's hard to describe how nice it is! Our friend even asked his wife to marry him here.
If you walk up the hill out of the forest, you can go for a nice walk over the wide, flat Ellwood bluffs toward the ocean. There you can look down on rugged Ellwood Beach. You can take a short trail down to the beach. Walking the sandy beach is a pleasant way to spend a few hours, breathing in the salt spray and looking up at the white cliffs. There's plenty of driftwood to keep kids busy! However, the walk from the forest to the beach is too long for small children.
If you're hungry after your walk, head over to Camino Real Marketplace and have an oatmeal blueberry muffin at Anna's Bakery. They have a sunny brick patio. Or, eat a chicken kebob at Kahuna Grill, an inexpensive cafe. There are really clean restrooms in the archway next to Starbucks.
For a playground nearby, check out the unusual play structures and beautiful natural setting of Dinosaur Park in Isla Vista.

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Photo Gallery

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A lone monarch butterfly might land right beside you!
A lone monarch butterfly might land right beside you!
Hundreds of butterflies!!!
Hundreds of butterflies!!!
Beautiful Ellwood Beach, as viewed from the bluffs.
Beautiful Ellwood Beach, as viewed from the bluffs.
View of Ellwood Beach.
View of Ellwood Beach.
Ellwood Beach.
Ellwood Beach.
Santa Ynez mountains, as viewed from Ellwood Bluffs.
Santa Ynez mountains, as viewed from Ellwood Bluffs.
A place to sit at the beginning of the trail- see the eucalyptus forest behind.
A place to sit at the beginning of the trail- see the eucalyptus forest behind.
It's lovely to walk in the forest.
It's lovely to walk in the forest.
Tree covered in bougainvillea.
Tree covered in bougainvillea.
Friends taking a morning walk in the forest that surrounds the butterfly grove.
Friends taking a morning walk in the forest that surrounds the butterfly grove.
Butterflies mating at Ellwood Butterfly Preserve.
Butterflies mating at Ellwood Butterfly Preserve.
Butterflies in the sunlight.
Butterflies in the sunlight.

Directions

Ellwood Butterfly Preserve begins on Coronado Dr, Goleta CA 93117.
From Highway 101, take the Glen Annie/ Storke Rd exit. Head towards the ocean. Turn right on Hollister Ave and then turn left on Coronado Dr, about the eighth street along on the left. Continue to near the end of the street, and park along the road. You will see the information plaque about the Butterfly Preserve on your right. That is where the trail starts. It's a very short walk to the forest preserve. Once at the preserve, go left up the hill and you will come to the bluffs.
There are no restrooms.

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Visitor Ratings

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naturebobby
09/16/2009 17:52
Small addition- The original monarch butterflies were bought by the owner of the farm immediately to the south, from a couple who bred monarch butterflies on the Nipomo mesa, next to Halcyon Road. I remember that two times a very strong wind blew thousands of monarchs towards the hills. This may have been the start of what I have read about the monarchs of today traveling to and from the hills- reports from many observers. My interest was the condition of the eucalyptus trees so I could plan other eucalyptus wind barriers from the same batch of seeds.

josh
12/27/2007 11:39
This place is awesome..i never knew we had such an event.

Liz
09/16/2007 14:53
This is a beautiful place that should never be developed. Never. Save Ellwood.

Last Updated Mon, 15 Oct 2012 01:39:07 GMT