There are approximately 170 species of butterflies in Southern California. We are also lucky enough to live in a climate where we can watch and observe the Monarch Butterfly Migration Season. To our advantage, there are numerous parks, sanctuaries and nature playgrounds where the Monarch butterflies like to migrate to.
Every year adult Monarch Butterflies make massive migrations from August – October, flying thousands of miles south to hibernate along the California coast and in central Mexico. In the wintertime in Southern California, butterflies like to roost in our trees and live in our open habitats including fields, meadows, weedy areas, marshes, and roadsides.
Since there are several places to see Monarch Butterflies in Southern California between October – March, here is a list of 17 places to get you started!
Where To See Monarch Butterflies in Southern California
THE INLAND EMPIRE / DESERT AREA
Butterflies Alive!, The Living Desert Zoo & Gardens, Palm Springs
This butterfly exhibit is located inside the zoo with lush desert landscape.
LOS ANGELES COUNTY
El Dorado Nature Center, Long Beach
The 105 acres that make up the El Dorado Nature Center grounds provide sanctuary for local animals and plant life. During the winter months, you can view Monarch butterflies living in the center.
Leo Carrillo State Park, Los Angeles
The population of Monarchs here are most plentiful in November and December. The butterflies are located in the eucalyptus trees along the creek next to the campground.
Point Mugu State Park, Malibu
You can specifically see the Monarch butterflies at the Big Sycamore Canyon, which is an autumn site.
Doheny State Beach, Dana Point
Doheny State Beach is a great place to bring the family. Ask the rangers to direct you to the Monarch butterfly roosting trees. Small entrance fee.
Huntington Central Park, Huntington Beach
In the wintertime, you can see Monarch and Mourning Cloaks butterflies in the park. It also home to the Shipley Nature Center. The center offers field trips too through Inside The Outdoors.
Norma Gibbs Park, Huntington Beach
The eucalyptus grove at Norma Gibbs Park is a monarch overwintering site. The park has pathways, picnic tables, and a 400 sq. ft. tile inlay of monarchs and text describing the story about the migrating monarchs. During spring and summer, many other butterflies inhabite the park. They also have an educational program and offer group tours.