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Butterfly Preserve and Dunes

San Luis Obispo, California, USA


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 October 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 don't miss out on the short beach trail. It leads to a little stream that winds through sand dunes. My son had a blast playing army games and rolling around on the dunes. It was one of the best days of our trip! Behind the white dunes are the delighful hills of San Luis Obispo. Take a stroll along the very wide beach, Pismo State Beach. You can go all the way to Pismo Pier.
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.

Photo Gallery

Tall trees and sunshine abound at the butterfly preserve.

The packed dirt trail at the monarch butterfly preserve.

Wonderful trees!

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

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

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

Ducks in the stream by the beach.

Dunes and beach trees.

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

Great place for army games!


This is an interactive map, you can zoom and move it.

There is a wood-chip parking area along Highway 1 just south of North Beach Campground (the address for the campground is 399 S. Dolliver St, Pismo Beach CA 93449).
From Hwy 101 northbound, exit at Brisco Rd in Pismo and turn left on Brisco Rd. Turn right on Grand Ave. After many blocks, turn right on Hwy 1. Turn left into the wood-chip parking along the road. Parking is free. 
From Highway 101 southbound exit at Five Cities Dr and turn left. Turn right on 4th St and follow it for a mile, then right on Grand Ave. Turn right on Hwy 1. Turn left into wood-chip parking along the road.  
For information on the docents, call (805) 773-5301.
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