Opening: Monarch Butterfly Grove

The pretty Pismo Beach destination is ready for the flutteriest of seasons.

SET IN STONE: There are moments on the calendar one simply does not quibble with, no sirree. Mother's Day always arrives in May, St. Patrick's Day is juuust about in the middle of March, and the season for Monarch butterflies 'round the Golden State runs from November to February. Finito, right? There's little more to discuss: That's the prime span to admire the winged visitors if you're in Pismo Beach or Pacific Grove or Goleta or one of the other not-too-far-from-the-ocean spots they favor. But there is some wiggle room, when it comes to these fluttery favorites, in terms of times and dates. Nope, they don't all fly in promptly at midnight on Nov. 1, and some do hang around after the February goodbye. Which all leads to this, lovers of beautiful flower-adjacent insects: The Pismo Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove is opening in October, ahead of the months we typically associate with the colorful critters. Opening day is...

SATURDAY, OCT. 22, so wing your way to the stately eucalyptus trees located a pinch away from Pismo State Beach. That's where thousands upon thousands (upon thousands and so forth) of Monarchs do their famous clustering thing over the winter months, and that's where their human fans arrive bearing camera or simply awe-filled gazes. "Our colony is one of the largest in the nation," reveals the grove's web site, "hosting an average of 25,000 butterflies over the last five years." While one should always try to avoid using superlatives and hyperbole when it comes to nature, which is all supremely spectacular, beholding so many hue-amazing butterflies among the branches of a eucalpytus is way up there on the bucket-list-y roster.

THE MIGRATING MONARCHS... haven't emailed their individual itineraries ahead, so knowing when they'll gather in robust cluster form isn't a sure thing. But a Pismo Beach sojourn, with "be stunned by butterfly coolness" on the list, is always a solid idea.

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