Many people may know it as “The Land of Milk and Honey,” “The Golden State,” and “The Grape State,” but California is more than its coined names. Every city of the state promises something different, just like the hilly city of San Francisco, which is known for the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, and Los Angeles, where you’ll find the Hollywood entertainment industry. It is a lovely destination for everyone as well as for the whole family, whether you’re after pristine beaches, forest adventure, hiking in the mountains, and music festivals in the desert. Also, it is home to many monasteries, where one can have peace and quiet. In case you’re after this aspect of California, check out our list of amazing monasteries to visit in California, USA.
1. Saint Andrew's Abbey
A monk Benedictine Monastery of the Congregation of the Annunciation, located in Valyermo, Saint Andrew’s Abbey is a perfect place to be when you want peace and quiet. Given its location in the Mojave Desert, you will have your much-needed silence here. It is a famous retreat center in California, where everyone can visit since the monastery doesn’t belong to any parish. Aside from being a place of prayer, it is also famous for its ceramics. Additionally, several of the monks here teach at the seminary and in colleges around the area.
Saint Andrew's Abbey
Address: 31001 N Valyermo Rd, Valyermo, CA 93563, United States
Website: Saint Andrew’s Abbey
Opening hours: 8:30am - 4pm (daily)
2. Deer Park Monastery
Nestled in a 400-acre (161.87 km) property in Escondido in California, Deer Park Monastery was founded in 2000, under the guidance of Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, who is also a peace activist and the founder of Plum Village Tradition. The monastery offers themed and ordinary retreats as well as days of mindfulness twice every week. Also, aside from the usual monastery duties, it offers an annual retreat when Thich Nhat Hanh visits. Moreover, the property has two hamlets, the Solidity Hamlet for men and Clarity Hamlet for women.
Deer Park Monastery
Address: 8447, 2499 Melru Ln, Escondido, CA 92026, United States
Website: Deer Park Monastery
Opening hours: Sun: 8am - 5pm
3. Hsi Lai Temple
Located in a 15-acre (6.47-hectare) property in Hacienda Heights, this hillside monastery has a traditional Chinese monastery architecture style and an area of 102,432 sq ft (9,516.24 sq m). Hsi Lai Temple was founded in 1988 by Ven. Master Hsing Yun. The monastery was built to help in the propagation of Chinese culture and Buddhism in the west. Also, the temple serves as home to Buddhist missionaries and venues for charitable programs and cultural activities that will help spread the ideologies of Buddhism. So, if you want to learn more about Buddhism and the Chinese culture, you should drop by Hsi Lai Temple.
Hsi Lai Temple
Address: 3456 Glenmark Dr, Hacienda Heights, CA 91745, United States
Website: Hsi Lai Temple
Opening hours: 9am - 5pm (daily)
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4. Abbey of New Clairvaux
A Trappist monastery in Tehama County, Abbey of New Clairvaux is open to all, whether you are a day visitor, a retreatant, or looking for a long guest program. The monastery offers self-guided tours, mass at the Abbey Church, a retreat house, and a welcome center, where you can learn more about the monastery and its causes. Apart from the usual features, it also comes with a wine-tasting room where you can sample wines and a gift shop for your souvenirs to bring back home. Just a heads up, you cannot have picnics here to avoid disturbing the people who go there to pray and observe silence.
Abbey of New Clairvaux
Address: 26240 7th St, Vina, CA 96092, United States
Website: Abbey of New Clairvaux
5. Mt. Baldy Zen Center
Rinzai Zen monastery, located in a property in the San Gabriel Mountains, with an area of 5.4 acres (2.1 hectares), Mount Baldy Zen Center was once a boy scout camp that gained popularity when Leonard Cohen, a famous poet and musician, joined the monastery in 1994. The monastery is also home to its founder, Kyozan Joshu Sasaki, and it serves as a training hub for his lineage, who wants to join the monastic order. They offer different kinds of retreats and programs, catering to every need and level, ranging from introductory, beginners, up to Zazenkai, which is one to three days zen practice, and Sesshin, where you’ll be immersed in a more intense zen practice that can last up to seven days.
Mt. Baldy Zen Center
Address: 7901 Mt Baldy Rd, Mt Baldy, CA 91759, Mt Baldy, CA 91759, United States
Website: Mt. Baldy Zen Center
6. Zen Mountain Monastery
Nestled in a forested spot in the Catskill Mountains, featuring an area of 230 acres (93.07 hectares), Zen Mountain Monastery was recorded on the National Register of Historic Places in 1994. The property contains a four-story main house that has living quarters, libraries, a little cellar, and a spacious kitchen. Later on, a new section built of bluestone was added, which features the chapel and a dining hall. The monastery practices the Daido Roshi’s Eight Gates of Zen training matrix. Also, it caters to people from all walks of life, providing them a refuge from the distractions of everyday life and teaching them Buddhism ideologies.
Zen Mountain Monastery
Address: 871 Plank Rd, Mt Tremper, NY 12457, United States
Website: Zen Mountain Monastery
7. New Camaldoli Hermitage
New Camaldoli Hermitage, also known as Immaculate Heart Hermitage, is located at the Santa Lucia Mountains. It is a Camaldolese Benedictine hermitage founded in 1958 by two monks from Camaldoli in Northern Italy. The monastery is home to 20 monks that each lives in a small cottage with a garden. It is open to retreatants who are looking for short-time refuge or longer stays. Usually, the retreats here are non-directed and silent. Additionally, the monastery is famous for its fruitcake, “Holy Granola,” and date-nut cake made from the recipe formulated by monks.
New Camaldoli Hermitage
Address: 62475 CA-1, Big Sur, CA 93920, United States
Website: New Camaldoli Hermitage
Opening hours: 8am - 5pm (daily)
8. Carmelite Monastery
If you’re looking for peace, quiet, and spectacular views, then you have to visit the Carmelite Monastery. It is a monastery run by nuns under the order of St. Teresa of Avila. The monastery is located near the foothills of Santa Lucia, with sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean. You and your family can attend mass every 8 am, except Thursday, and Sunday at 9 am, and here, the cloistered nuns chant. Also, if you don’t want to attend the mass, the chapel is open for prayers as well as the beautiful, well-kept garden.
Address: 27601 CA-1, Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93923, United States
Website: Carmelite Monastery
9. City of Ten Thousand Buddhas
Founded by Hsuan Hua, an important figure in spreading Buddhism in the West, City Of Ten Thousand Buddhas is one of the first Chan Buddhist temples in America and the largest community in the western world. It is a monastery that is home to both nuns and monks, who also conduct courses on Buddhism. The highlight of the temple is the 10,000 golden Buddha statues that line up the property. Also, it has pretty courtyards, lush landscapes, beautiful gardens, and ornamental peacocks. Another thing to look forward to here is the gift shop selling souvenir items and literature, as well as the famous Jyun Kang Vegetarian Restaurant.
City of Ten Thousand Buddhas
Address: 4951 Bodhi Way, Ukiah, CA 95482, United States
Website: City of Ten Thousand Buddhas
Opening hours: 8am - 6pm (daily)
Discover California's monasteries
California is one of the most-visited holiday destinations in the US. With its many beaches, historical attractions, amusement parks, and world-class restaurants to choose from, you surely couldn’t ask for more. Don’t forget to pray and pay your respects at its many religious buildings and sites. Discover the amazing monasteries to visit in California, USA, as you explore the state.
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