The Pismo Beach Monarchs are a must see for any butterfly person. Click here for a map and directions. I like getting to the grove shortly after sunrise because of the limited parking. (seriously there are only like 6 spots) There's a nature trail that heads down to the ocean, so I head that way to get some pictures of the landscape, before heading back to the grove.After roaming around for a bit I head back to the grove to see the Monarchs starting to wake up. The Monarchs can't fly in temps below 50 degrees, so they stay in the eucalyptus trees until the sun warms them up. Hundreds and hundreds of Monarchs gather together in the trees. The post picture below shows just how many group together. According to the grove staff there are about 21,000 monarchs at the grove this year. The record several years back reached over 100,000. That's a lot of butterfly's! The staff at the grove give daily presentations about the insects that decorate the tall eucalyptus trees. As far as gear needs go, a longer lens is preferred. The Monarchs will stay high up in the trees and they're often hard to find. You may even go there at sunrise and wonder if there are any butterfly's even around. I used my 70-200 for these post pictures. The one at the top of the post was taken with my 70-200 with an ef 25 II extension tube attached. Tripods aren't necessary and both these images were taken hand-held.
So if you are in the Pismo Beach area from October to February the Monarch butterfly grove is a must!