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 flower fields, 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!
Pacific Grove’s Magic Carpet of Purple Ice Plant Flowers
The coastal city of Pacific Grove is located in Monterey County, around 2 hours south of San Francisco. It’s known for its monarch butterfly sanctuary and its many historic homes, some of which date back to the 19th century. The best part though, to me, is its long stretch of rocky coastline with the stunning purple ice plant flowers next to it in the Spring!
When to See the Ice Plant Flowers in Pacific Grove
The best time to see the purple ice plant flowers is in the Spring when it’s in full bloom. The flowers 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. Also in bloom around the same time are Calla Lilies, which you may find along the coastal trail as well!
Spring is also the perfect time to visit Big Sur just south of the Monterey Peninsula. The coastal wildflowers there are so beautiful as well! See my post on the Most Beautiful Spots in Big Sur for pictures and for the perfect Big Sur itinerary.
Where to See the Magic Carpet in Pacific Grove
The “magic carpet” of purple ice plants are commonly found along the coastline of the Monterey Peninsula, clinging to the rocky cliffs and blanketing the areas next to it. One of the best places 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 (see map below) 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. There are benches and scenic outlooks all along the trail where you can sit and enjoy a beautiful Spring day. Ken and I love to enjoy our lunches on these benches. Street parking is available along Ocean View Boulevard, and there’s a parking area along the trail as well. You may also find a small grove of Calla Lily flowers at the start of the trail like we did!
The Origins of the Ice Plant Flowers in Pacific Grove
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.
The Monterey Peninsula is the Perfect Bay Area Day Trip!
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’ll 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.
By the way, if you love flowers as much as I do, you might be interested in my post on the Most Beautiful Flower Books (it’s one of my most popular posts!). I also design flower-themed notebooks and journals you might like! Here’s an example on Amazon.
Monterey Area 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! The hotel is just a few minutes away from Lover’s Point Park, and is across the street from the 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!)
California Spring Travel
If you’re looking for more California Spring travel ideas, check out my posts on the Most Beautiful Spots in Big Sur, the Purple Ice Plants of the Monterey Peninsula, the spectacular Flower Fields of Carlsbad Ranch, the Poppy Fields of Mt Diablo State Park, and the beautiful Spring Peach Blossoms in the East Bay!
All of my California travel posts are here!
Hi, I’m Pansy!
Hello, thanks for stopping by! I’m Pansy, California-based travel + lifestyle blogger, photographer and lover of ALL the pretty flowers! If you browse through my blog, you may notice that most of my travels, DIY and photography center around flowers and nature! 🌸🌼🌿
In addition to this blog, I also create cute & fun journals & activity books. More info on my website at Fleurette Press!
I hope you found this post useful, and I hope you have a wonderful day!