Take a few moments out of a hectic day of touring and stop at the Swami's Meditation Garden. It is well kept and natural and peaceful. I am no longer able to walk the paths but have in prior years walked, sat and pondered in this lovely garden. Also, I've enjoyed the awesome panoramic view of Swami's Beach and the vast Pacific Ocean from this garden paradise.
Locals call this place "Swami's. This garden is located in the compound of a hermitage of the Self-Realization Fellowship established in 1937 by Paramahansa Yogananda who is considered the Father of Yoga in the West. He was born in India in 1893 and died in Encinitas, California 1952
This broad sandy beach is good for swimming, surfing and fishing. It is no longer a good place for long board surfing but fine for short boards. There are courts for games such as tennis or volleyball and you can rent the equipment here as well.
The ironic thing is that Moonlight Beach got it's name from the fact that in the early part of the 1900's people met on this beach late at night and now the beach is open from dawn to sunset only. Funny, isn't it?
If you have an Annual Day Pass for State Parks, it is not valid here because it is the City of Encinitas that takes care of this State Park.
Update April 2010
These gardens were promoted in September 2009 and are now known as San Diego Botanical Gardens!
They form a 30 acre oasis in urban America, surrounded by busy roads and lots of new build. Originally this was the private estate of a Mr and Mrs Larabee who occupied a modest home but enhanced it by developing the gardens. They were active in the Scout movement and travelled widely, collecting and bringing back exotic plants. These included cork oaks, palms, bamboo, hibiscus and cacti. The gardens are dedicated to conservation and have collections of rare and endangered plants from all over the world. The owners had a special liking for quail birds and provided for their protection.
A visit here provides a welcome retreat from urban living and quite a lot of fun. The topiary is particularly good.
I strongly recommend to go to one of the staircases that leads down the cliff to the beach and admire the ocean in the moonlight. It is very beautiful. You can stand there and listen to the waves and watch them break. Probably best to go on a night with a bright moon. Too bad I only had a digital camera with no exposure control as none of the pictures I made came out. Gotta invest in something better.
Moonlight beach was a great way to spend 3 days to relax from Los Angeles. It was mostly filled with locals of which mostly were families with children of all ages. The beach was clean and the water looked clean as well. In the sand by the waterfront, there were hundreds of small clams that would just dig themselves into the sand. I took this as an indicator of clean water.
In the main beach area there is parking, beach volleyball courts, a jungle gym for all the little brats running around, showers and bathrooms. There is also a stand where you can get hot dogs, nachos, ice cream and cold drinks (non alcoholic). All very convenient.
For those that would like some more privacy a walk along the beach will deliver them from all the little kids building sand castles and running around. There are some public staircases down to the beach from the side streets in Encinitas but mostly homes along the cliff by the beach have private staircases. The beach away from the main beach area is nice but has a lot of washed up seaweed on shore that is a thriving ground for small little bugs that may scare some girly men and ... uhmmm ... well ... girls.
Moonlight beach is a great spot to spend an afternoon or evening in Encinitas. One of my favorite things to do at Moonlight beach is to have a beach bonfire with a group of friends. There's volleyball and picnic tables and lots of spots to lay your towel down and relax.
Activities for visitors include shopping, eating, sunbathing, swimming, surfing, museums and galleries, meditation and enlightenment and flower power. Once recognized as 'the flower capital of the world,' and spot where the renowned Ecke poinsettia was introduced in 1923, drop by one of the commercial nurseries open to the public and purchase a traditional poinsettia or be the first on your block with one of the new release plants. (Poinsettias grow rapidly in southern California and the innocent holiday bouquet planted in a yard can take off unexpectedly and become a tree.) Speaking of trees, Quail Botanical Garden claims it has the largest bamboo collection in the US. It is considered one of the best gardens in San Diego County and well worth a small admission fee charged
A rare sight. There are usually no clouds in the sky here except for the yearly rainy season of 2 weeks or so and the "May-Grey" and "June-Gloom" ( a daytime coastal haze).
There are so many spots in Encinitas with lovely ocean views. This is a good city to find a viewpoint and just enjoy the scenery.
You have to visit the shops along Highway 101 in Leucadia. Don't miss Lou's Records. There are some great treasures to be found in this northern section of Encinitas.