Archives: Itinerary Elements

Western Monarch Trail

Every year, the western monarch butterflies migrate to California’s coastal forested groves to spend the winter. The butterflies collect in clusters on eucalyptus trees and Monterey pines all along the Coast, creating a beautiful display for visitors. Then when the weather warms in spring, the monarchs fly away to lay their eggs and drink flower nectar in Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Utah. The Western Monarch Trail includes 57 miles along the historic Highway 1, and Cambria is the perfect place to stop and see the annual migration.

When & Where to See Western Monarchs in Cambria


Monarchs arrive in Cambria in the fall and stay for winter. Find them in the trees while exploring trails in and around town.


Monarchs spread out across the western states to enjoy the warm weather of spring and summer.

To see monarchs in Cambria during the peak season, take a stroll along the Moonstone Beach Boardwalk up to Leffingwell Landing or head into Fiscalini Ranch, where the Ridge Trail, the Forest Loop, and the Meander Trail all offer opportunities for monarch viewing.

Monarch Butterflies

Complete your butterfly tour by visiting the monarch butterfly mural at Bob & Jan’s Bottle Shop!

The History of the Western Monarch Trail

The Western Monarch Trail is the path that western monarch butterflies migrate each year. Historically, it reached from British Columbia to Baja California and east to the Rocky Mountains. It has slowly stopped reaching that far north due to climate change, habitat loss, and population decrease. But, after decades of decline, the Central Coast has seen a significant increase in butterfly populations in recent years!

While the migration is annual, it actually involves multiple generations of butterflies. The first three generations slowly migrate north, finding nectar and laying eggs. The fourth generation, called the Super Generation, returns all the way back to California for the winter. Even though they have never been to the Coast, they amazingly return to the same overwintering sites.

Scientists are still discovering how monarchs consistently migrate to the same locations. Most likely it’s a combination of genetics and directional aids like the earth’s magnetic pull and the position of the sun.

Native Plants and Monarch Butterflies

Like many insects, Monarch butterflies have specific plants that participate in their lifecycle. While traveling, Milkweed is a favorite nectar source for the butterflies. It is also the only host plant where they lay their eggs.

However, it is important to only plant milkweed in areas where it is a native plant. When planted in temperate areas where it stays alive all year, tropical milkweed can get a monarch butterfly protozoan parasite deposited on leaves by infected traveling monarchs. If the plant does not die back seasonally, the parasite will remain on the milkweed and inhabit the next generation of butterflies.

To support the monarchs in their migration, research which type of milkweed is native to your area and plant it in your garden. You can also plant other types of native flowers that are a good source of nectar.

Monarch Butterfly on Milkweed Plant

Protecting Monarchs in Central California

We must all work together to protect the annual western monarch migration. To maintain established ecosystems, do not release non-native butterflies on the Western Monarch Trail. When approaching a cluster of resting butterflies, keep a respectful distance so they aren’t disturbed. Also, watch where you step! If you encounter a group of migrating monarchs, allow them to fly without interference while you admire the beautiful sight.

How to Help the Monarch Butterflies

To understand more about the western monarch migration, we need your help! Document your butterfly sighting by uploading pictures of monarchs and milkweeds to the Western Monarch Milkweed Mapper. You can also identify the type of milkweed in your area, submit additional data to help scientists with their research, and learn more about the annual migration.

Monarch Butterflies

Terracotta Home and Garden

Featuring bohemian garden accents and all of your garden and maintenance needs.


Sunday: 10 a.m.—4 p.m.
Monday—Saturday: 10 a.m.—5 p.m.

4063 Burton Dr, Cambria, California, 93428

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Metta Pilates

We pride ourselves on creating safe and fun classes for adults of all ages and abilities. By using Pilates, yoga, mindfulness, and occupational therapy, we help you reach your best self so you can do the activities you love! We are a gender inclusive and LGBTQIA+ friendly.


Monday, Tuesday, & Thursday: 7:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Wednesday: 7:30 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Friday: 7:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Saturday: 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Sunday: Closed

512 Worcester Dr., Cambria, CA, 93428

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VYANA Wellness Collective

VYANA is the Nourishing & Expansive Energy that Connects, Balances, and Heals the Body & Mind. Our mission is to heal through the power of touch, energize through the power of movement, and engage through the power of togetherness.


Monday – Saturday: 8 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Sunday: 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.

4090 Burton Dr. #6, Cambria, CA, 93428

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Re•Create Thrift Store

Re•Create Thrift Store is a non-profit thrift store offering quality, affordable resale clothing and household goods for our community while providing a resource for recycling to benefit others.


Monday, Thursday – Saturday: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Sunday, Tuesday & Wednesday: Closed

1601 Main St., Cambria, CA, 93428

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Etc Etc Etc

Picture it… Guerneville, California…1998…an out-of-work carpenter and a bored interior designer. The bored guy opens a small store front in this little Russin River town. The carpenter comes along and needs some work. Etcetera is born. Over twenty years later, the carpenter has more than enough work, the designer is far from bored, and, after a seven-year stint in Palm Springs, Etcetera is going strong and ensconced on Main Street in Cambria, California. We still gift wrap, still ship, still sing and dance, and will crack you up if you come into the store, but if you want to shop us online, well…you’ll have to come into the store in the West Village. We still stand behind everything we sell, whether it is from right here in California, or from the beaches of Thailand, and will always be here to serve you as if you were our neighbor.


Sunday – Saturday
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

789 Main St., Cambria, CA, 93428

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Cambria Nursery Downtown

Cambria Nursery Downtown is Cambria Nursery & Florist’s NEWEST location, which opened July 15, 2022, in downtown Cambria! They feature hand-picked boho-style home decor and furniture, modern coastal goods, a section dedicated to local artists and creators, beautiful house plants and planters, and so much more.


Sunday – Saturday
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

4039 Burton Dr., Cambria, CA, 93428

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Cambria Nursery and Florist

Cambria Nursery & Florist Nursery offers an extensive selection of seasonal outdoor and indoor plants and flowers, planters, tools, and garden art – everything you need to make your garden sparkle! They also host a collection of gift and antique shops, where you’re sure to find the perfect gift for yourself or a loved one. And don’t miss their year-round Christmas Museum and gift shop, featuring handmade Christmas collectibles imported from Germany. While visiting, take a stroll along meandering paths through our beautiful display gardens. Here, you can explore the established landscapes, specimen trees, and demonstration gardens – including the cottage, Zen, and shade gardens – and take some inspiration (and the plants to make it happen) home with you. Their knowledgeable horticulturalists are ready to help make your garden dreams a reality. They also host many workshops and events throughout the year, so make sure to visit and learn something new!


Sunday – Saturday
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

2801 Eton Rd., Cambria, CA, 93428

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The Canteen at Oceanpoint Ranch

At The Canteen, you will find made-to-order breakfast for on-site dining alongside an array of grab-and-go items. Choose from seasonal soups, breakfast burritos, simple salads, hotcakes, French toast, and more. From savory to oh-so-sweet, there’s something for everyone at any time of the day.

7222 Moonstone Beach Dr, Cambria, California, 93428

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