Encinitas Meditation Garden | Experience California Zen with Ocean Views

Encinitas is a quiet beach town located 25 minutes North of San Diego, far away from the crowds and traffic of LA. This beach town is full of amazing views, epic surfing, and Meditation Gardens.

The Self-Realization Fellowship does not sound like a place that I would ever visit.  I imagined skinny, creepy guys with shaved heads that could be in a trance or asleep.  There are large columns topped with huge gold flowers along the road surrounding the Fellowship Temple in the middle of Encinitas, California.  A friendly surfer recommended a visit, so I walked around to the entrance.

Meditation Gardens front steps
Meditation Gardens front steps

What we found was simply stunning.  The grounds are meticulously maintained to perfection.  The steps lead up to the top of the gardens overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

View of Swami's Reef
View of Swami’s Reef

The view of the top shows where the temple was originally built, and over looks Swami’s reef, named for the gardens founder.  During our visit, the surfing was excellent so many surfers can be seen in the distance.

Swami beach
Swami beach

Throughout the gardens are areas to sit and relax.  There are some lovely little areas for seclusion.  There are many areas to sit and quietly watch the ocean.


There is a lovely koi fish pond that wrapped around trees and rock over several levels with waterfalls.

Koi Fish
Koi Fish

The meditation gardens are open to the public (free).  There is a wide entrance gate, where normal looking people walk freely in and out of the gardens.  The Fellowship is considered part of a Religion,but the gardens are just a beautiful display of nature.  The people in the gardens and nearby Bookstore were not creepy, pushy, or in any way trying to make anyone feel uncomfortable. These beautiful gardens were such a pleasant surprise.  I would recommend anyone in the San Diego area should plan a detour to visit.

14 thoughts on “Encinitas Meditation Garden | Experience California Zen with Ocean Views”

  1. Cities needs more relaxing natural places like this and not more malls. It was so lovely that this is accessible for public for free. Thanks for sharing this awesome place!

  2. The world needs more of such gardens, where one can go, relax, and rejuvenate. The views are just awesome, and your photos have captured the vibes of the place perfectly.

  3. What a peaceful and beautiful place! My husband started meditate recently so he would definitely love it there! I could just sit there and watch the ocean all day!

  4. You caught my attention at “quiet beach town” then I was completely sold by “far away from the crowds”! This retreat looks positively amazing. The grounds with all the details, such as the koi pond, seem to create the perfect atmosphere for escaping the heaviness of everyday life and truly unwinding. What a gem you’ve discovered here!

  5. I had never heard of Encinitas, California before today! The place looks so beautiful and your photos are just stunning. I am heading to San Diego in a couple of months and would love to check out this garden then!! The flowers, the koi pond – this is such a perfect place for meditation!!

  6. What a beautiful spot! This is the definition of a hidden gem, as I would never have thought to enter a place like that on my own, if someone like you didn’t point it out. It looks like a great place to be able to watch the ocean without any crowds of people around. And I had to laugh at your comments about normal people and no creepy guys. As a solo female traveler, that *is* important information to have!

  7. Oh my, the place looks lovely! I especially loved that shot of koi fishes. Haven’t been to LA yet but planning a trip there soon. Thanks for this post x

  8. This looks so beautiful! I’ve never been to San Diego when in California, and it’s for places like this I want to visit. The gardens are stunning, and I feel all zen like after reading this!

  9. Definitely a great place for meditation. The views are outstanding. I love being at peace with nature and I could spend many an afternoon here just relaxing.

  10. Haha the first paragraph with the creepy men comment made me laugh. These gardens sound gorgeous and I could quite easily imagine myself sitting there for some personal solitude. Great photos too.

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