Swami’s State Beach-Hidden Paradise

Swami's State Beach Sunset

As I have said many, many times, San Diego has some of the best beaches in the country. Most are well known and are almost always busy, but there are a few that not many know about. Today I would like to concentrate on one of my favorites, Swami’s State Beach.

This hidden beach oasis is situated toward the southern end of Encinitas, California, about 25 miles north of Downtown San Diego.

Would you like to come and join me for a tour?

Let’s go!

Swami’s State Beach-Hidden Paradise

Map Swami's State Beach

1298 S Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas

Where To Park?

Swamis surfing sign encinitas california
The parking lot is found from the north right after this sign.

The parking lot for Swami’s State Beach is located at the southern end of downtown Encinitas and north of San Elijo State Beach.

You will find a tiny entrance to the official parking lot just after Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF.)

The parking lot is small, with less than 25 spots, so off-street parking is widespread in the residential area.

Beach Access to Swami’s State Beach

Swami’s State Beach connects several miles of uninterrupted beaches (on low tide), from the San Elijo Lagoon inlet to the South Carlsbad Beach Jetty.

Thus there is also access through the adjacent north and south connecting beaches.

I always come here by the beach route, that is to say, starting at Moonlight Beach. The walk to get to Swami’s State Beach, in particular, is gorgeous and is only about a mile in half away.

Why the Name Swami’s?

Swami’s State beach received its name after the founder of SRF (1920), Swami Paramahansa Yogananda. Surfers would see him walking on the beach all the time and decided it was a perfect nickname to give to the beach.

aramahans Yoganada Swami's State Beach

Fun fact- Paramahansa Yogananda during his lifetime established the nearby Encinitas Ashram Center and Meditation Gardens. Thousands of people pilgrimage here every year from all over the world, to experience this place were their great teacher worked, lived and communed with God.

I made a return visit on June 13, 2018, to visit the Self Realization Fellowship Meditation Gardens and made this short video to highlight my adventure. I hope you enjoy it!

Swami’s Seaside Park

Swamis Parking Lot swamis state beach

Adjacent to the parking lot, you will find Swami’s Seaside Park, which has a public restroom!

A restroom here is exciting news because they are always in short supply on the coast, especially at the out-of-the-way beaches.

Additionally, a grass lawn with several picnic tables and shade trees is within the park.

The view from here is exceptional. On a bright day, you can see much of the reef under the water.

Swamis staircase July 4 2019 encinitas

Access to the beach from the parking lot is a large, steep staircase. Please take this into account when packing for the beach.

The beach also has a seasonal lifeguard on duty and a shower to rinse off with at the end of the day.

Fun Fact- Every Sunday, many artistic and yoga minded people gather here at the park to celebrate life; playing musical instruments, singing, dancing and potluck. All are welcome to join in. What an amazing backdrop for such a celebration!

Swami’s State Marine Conservation Area- SMCA

Swami's State Marine Conservation Area Map
SMCA covers 12.65 square miles

Swami’s Marine Conservation Area is an area of coastal waters extending three nautical miles offshore of Encinitas and became a marine protected area as of 2012. In essence, nothing is to be bothered with or removed from this beach or its waters.

There was some controversy with this because this spot has a long, sustainable fishing history. The fishermen called the Cardiff Dorymen would launch small wooden boats from this shore as far back as 1971.

cardiff doreymen
The Cardiff Doreymen National Geographic Picture from 1971

The fishing industry did not see a need for closure. The fishing industry’s defense was that no species in the marine protected area were threatened.; therefore, no closure was needed.

 Swami’s Marine Conservation Area has several habitats, including rocky reefs, kelp forest, and surf grass.

Many California spiny lobsters in the reefs right off Swami’s State Beach and California halibut frequent in the finger reefs offshore from the San Elijo campground to the south.

You are more than welcome to snorkel, scuba dive, surf, swim, kayak, and paddleboard in the park. While fishing onshore is allowed, offshore fishing is prohibited.

Swami’s beach is an excellent spot to check the tide pools on a shallow tide.

There are so many creatures to find here: octopuses, crabs, sea stars, brittle stars, barnacles, mussels, and sea anemones, to name a few. Please remember not to touch anything.

 Also, keep a lookout for Dolphins! They pass by here with high frequency.

Surfing Swami’s Reef

surf break swamis summer encinitas

Due to the reef, there is a consistent break 100 yards offshore that lines up well and holds its shape well during big north-facing swells, making this one of the best beaches for surfing in Southern California.

Surfing here is best on a low to mid-tide. It is also important to remember that because of the reef offshore,  there are many sharp points under the water, which apparently can be hazardous.

As stated before, it is a long way to paddle out to the point break to reach the main break finally.

Because of this, beginners shouldn’t surf here.

Fun Fact- The Beach Boys included Swami’s along with other popular surf breaks, in their 1963 song, “Surfin’ USA”.

I found this excellent video on YouTube showcasing the surf. Special thanks to Ho Stevie for allowing me to use it.

Swami’s State Beach-A Photo Tour

Boneyard Beach Swami's State Beach
I looked back to where I began at Moonlight State Beach to the north.

Boneyard Beach Swami's State Beach

Tidepools Swami's State Beach
Swami’s Beach at the Point.
Swami's State Beach
You are looking north to the Point and tide pools.
Swami's State Beach
Here is the wooden staircase to reach the parking lot.
swami's state beach
The seclusion here makes you feel like you are on a private beach; in other words, a hidden paradise.
South view Swami's State Beach
Looking toward the San Elijo Campground.
Seabirds Swami's State Beach
The surfers have an audience.
Swami's Tidepools Swami's State Beach
Tide Pools.
Sea Anemones and Mussels Swami's State Beach
Many sea anemones, mussels, and barnacles.
Surfing Swami's State Beach
Notice the surfers in the back?
Surfer Running Swami's State Beach
Surfing Swami’s Reef.

Surfing Swami's Reef Swami's State Beach

Waiting For Sunset Swami's State Beach
Right on the Point.

Swami's Surfers Swami's State Beach

Sunset at Swami's State Beach
Sunset at Swami’s

Sunset at Swami's State Beach

Thank you so much for joining me in paradise! I hope I have inspired you to visit Swami’s State beach, as I believe it is one of the most beautiful beaches in San Diego.

I have inspired myself to climb those stairs and experience the Meditation Garden the next time I am in the area.

Update- I returned to this site, but the gardens were closed, but I did get a couple of good shots from Swami’s Seaside Park!

Swami's Seaside Park Entrance Sign

Swami's Seaside Park Statue

Swami's Seaside Park Surfing Statue

Swami's Seaside Park Stairs

Swami's Seaside Park Stairs

Swami's Ocean View

South Bluff View Swami's State Beach
Looking South.

North Bluff View Swami's State Beach

Please comment below with any questions you might have! I have left a few more areas close by to Swami’s if you want to explore the area a little bit more!

Encinitas Beach Tour

San Elijo Lagoon- The Nature Collective

Meditation Gardens


6 Replies to “Swami’s State Beach-Hidden Paradise”

  1. Great post! I had no idea this wonderful beach even existed. I’m not a surfer, but could probably spend hours just gazing in the tide pools.

    Thanks for sharing the gorgeous pics, too!

    1. Thank you so much for you comment Terri! I do not surf but I have been wanting to try lately! Yes, the tide pools are so gorgeous here. Thank you so much and I really appreciate you enjoying the photos.

  2. Wow, beautiful beach! I do love beaches, so my first question is….and maybe this is a dumb question…but where is Swami Beach? I see you mention Encinitas, but I don’t know where that is either. This place looks fantastic, a place I would love to visit. Are these pictures that you have taken when there? Absolutely breath taking!

    1. Very good point! Thank you for pointing that out. I will have to explain that more and give an address. Thank you for the comment! Yes they are all my photos…I have many of them 😉

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