A blanket of bright purple flowers…
The ruggedly beautiful California coast,
as far as the eyes can see…
Truly a mesmerizing love at first sight…
When I first learned about a “Magic Purple Carpet” of flowers that bloom every Spring along the coast of Pacific Grove in the Monterey Peninsula, I had to go see it for myself of course! I love the California coast and I love flowers, so what can be better than the combination of both? What I saw there was every bit as beautiful and magical as I envisioned it to be. Pacific Grove’s breath-taking coastline with its rocky cliffs were blanketed by the purple ice plants that created a spectacular pop of color as far as the eyes can see! It was love at first sight.
Visitor tip: The flowers usually open about midday and close in the evenings. Also, note that the flowers remain closed when it’s cold!
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When to see the Ice Plants
The purple ice plants generally start blooming in early April and can keep blooming through late May. These pictures were taken at the end of April when the blooms were quite spectacular.
Spring is also the perfect time to visit Big Sur just south of the Monterey Peninsula. The coastal wildflowers are so beautiful as well! See my post on Big Sur for pictures and for the perfect Big Sur itinerary.
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Where to See the Flowers
These ice plants are commonly found along the coastline of the Monterey Peninsula, clinging to the rocky cliffs and blanketing the areas next to it. The best place to see them is along the Pacific Grove Coastline in the city of Pacific Grove, next to the city of Monterey. It’s part of the 18-mile Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail.
Start at Lover’s Point Park and walk northwest along the coast for spectacular scenery enhanced by these colorful flowers. You can go all the way to the Asilomar State Beach if you’d like, with many beautiful and scenic outlooks on the way. Street parking is available along Ocean View Boulevard, and there is a parking area along the trail as well. In addition, there are benches throughout the trail where you can sit and enjoy the beautiful Spring day.
Located about two hours south of San Francisco, a visit to the Monterey Peninsula is the perfect weekend get-away or even a day trip. You will fall in love with the California coast all over again! The fantastic Monterey Bay Aquarium is also very close by and is definitely worth a visit.
The Origins of the Ice Plants
The ice plants were planted by the city of Pacific Grove in the early 1900s along a railroad that used to pass through it. The city continues to maintain the plants today and encourages visitors to remain on the trail and not step on or damage the plants, which have become a major tourist attraction for the city. These ice plants originated in South Africa and are considered less aggressive than other species of ice plants.
Hotel and Restaurant Recommendations
Whenever Ken and I take a weekend trip to the Monterey Bay, we stay at the beautiful Intercontinental The Clement Monterey (TripAdvisor reviews here). I just love their sophisticated coastal decor so much! The hotel is just a few minutes away from Lover’s Point Park, and is across the street from the world-class Monterey Bay Aquarium.
Our favorite local restaurant is Passionfish, where we’ve always had delicious dinners with wonderful service (reservations are recommended!). And if you enjoy delicious French pastries like I do, Parker-Lusseau Pastries, located 10 minutes away, should definitely be on your agenda! (you can thank me later!)
Books For Flower Lovers
If you love flowers as much as I do, then I think you’ll love these beautiful flower books too! 🌸
See my complete list of favorite flower books here. They’re all available from Amazon!
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