Monarch Butterfly Grove and Dunes Trail, Pismo

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San Luis Obispo, CA
Monarch Butterfly Grove and Dunes Trail, Pismo
pinit

Walk amid a sunny eucalyptus grove that reaches to the sky! As you walk you might hardly notice the clusters of monarch butterflies all about you. That's because there are so many of them that they look like leaves on the trees! The butterflies come from November to February and it's a special treat to see them. Docents are on site during those months daily from 10-4, and give informative talks about the butterflies at 11am and 2pm.
After you've seen the butterflies walk toward the ocean on the little path alongside the campground. It leads to a wonderland sand dunes! My son had a blast playing army games and rolling around on the dunes. Bliss! It was one of the best days of our trip! The backdrop of green hills behind the dunes are a delightful sight, and the sound of the ocean puts you in a peaceful state. 
Don't miss out on the 0.7 mile wooden boardwalk! It is part of Meadow Creek Trail on google maps. From the butterfly preserve, if you walk toward the ocean, then turn left to walk over a wooden pedestrian bridge, you will come to a trail that leads to the wooden boardwalk. You pass a wood swing under a eucalyptus tree, that kids enjoy. The boardwalk is a popular and glorious walk above the dunes with amazing views! On a sunny day, you can't beat it! It leads all the way to the plaza full of palm trees at Fin's Bar and Grill, and an octagonal wooden "pier" that reaches a short way over the sand. People hang out on the octagonal "pier" and watch the beach and sunset. 
You can also walk the north part of the Meadow Creek Trail, north from the Monarch Butterfly Grove, on a hard-packed dirt path through a little eucalyptus forest past the campground. It ends at Highway One, where you can walk a pleasant, redone sidewalk to Cypress Street, which is a little bridge over a creek, with views of the dunes. Turn left on Addie Street and at the end you will find another wonderful boardwalk that leads along the water to and past Pismo Pier. In total it is 1.7 miles from the octagonal pier at Fin's Bar and Grill to the Pismo Pier, a fantastic walk!
If it's a cold day and you need a playground for your kids, drive toward the hills to Chumash Park where it is often warmer, and sunny, and there is a nice playground and a pretty trail to walk.

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Tall trees and sunshine abound at the butterfly preserve.

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The packed dirt trail at the monarch butterfly preserve.

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Wonderful trees!

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Fantastic sand-dunes accessed via a short trail from the butterfly preserve and North Beach campground.

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Delightful green hills and white dunes at the beach by the butterfly preserve.

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Pismo Pier as seen from the beach by the North Beach campground and butterfly preserve.

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Ducks in the stream by the beach.

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Dunes and beach trees.

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Flowers on the dunes and a strand of cypress in the background.

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Great place for army games!

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A day in December when the butterflies were flying around more than usual!

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Directions

The Monarch Butterfly Grove is located at 600 S. Dolliver St (Highway 1), Pismo Beach CA 93449. Park in the dirt along the road. This is south of North Beach Campground.
You can also park in the huge paved parking lot at 25 W Grand Ave, Grover Beach, CA 93433. Then you can walk the 0.7 mile wooden boardwalk to the butterfly preserve. The trailhead for the boardwalk is by the plaza full of palm trees. 

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Last Updated: Sun, 17 Dec 2023 22:02:36 GMT

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