If you happen to be in the Santa Cruz area between Oct - March, you should not miss the Monarch butterflies' Sanctuary in Pacific Grove, also nicknamed "Butterfly Town, USA".
We were delighted to see hoards of butterflies amid the Eucalyptus trees when we visited in mid October this year. The visual treat is spectacular and the images will stay with you for a long time. Not often do you get to see butterflies these days, and to see hundreds of them in one glance is a surreal experience :-)
Binoculars are a must, and so is a good camera. You'll have to do with pictures from our point and shoot for now.
The Visitor Center close to the grove offers informative talks and tours on the various stages of the monarchs. There are several plants that the monarchs love, here's a handy list. The picture below has several caterpillars on a host plant that attracts the monarchs. It's hard to spot them because the leaves are almost the same color as the caterpillars.
Across from this quiet grove is a gorgeous beach with a natural bridge. The beach offers spectacular views and has plenty of picnic tables.
Sometimes I wonder if we will ever be able to see all the breathtaking sights that our beautiful California has to offer =) Know of some hidden gems in your area?