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Family Retreat 2023

June 21, 2023 June 25, 2023 PDT

Our very popular annual retreat for families to join monastics and other practitioners in the Plum Village tradition.

The retreat is full. However, we will have a waiting list available on Tuesday, March 28 at 12 noon PDT. If you are interested in serving as staff, applications are open now.

Family Retreat is a retreat for families of all descriptions. In this retreat we will have programs for adults, children, tweens, and teens, ensuring that every member of your family will have an opportunity to deepen their experience of the practice. Parents and adults are given the opportunity to explore the practice through activities such as Dharma Sharing, Total Relaxation, and Dharma Talks while the younger ones will get to experience age-appropriate mindfulness activities and sharings of their own.

One of the wonderful things about our late teacher Thich Nhat Hanh and Deer Park Monastery is that the teachings we offer and the life here in the monastery is accessible to everyone. Whether this is your first meditation retreat or whether you’ve been to many. Whether you’re an older adult or whether you’re a teen… you may find that your retreat here in Deer Park will be relaxing yet insightful.

In this retreat the adult’s program is for adults ages 18 and older while the teen’s program spans the ages of 13-17, tween’s program covers ages 10-12, and the children’s program will be for ages 6-9. Children 5 years old and younger may attend the retreat. However, these youngsters will require parental supervision at all times as there is no official program for this age group.

Sample Schedule

-6:00 Morning Sitting Meditation 
-7:00 Walking Meditation
-7:45 Breakfast
-9:00 Working Meditation 
-11:00 Dharma Talk
-12:30 Lunch
-2:00 Total Relaxation
-3:00 Dharma Sharing
-5:00 Exercise Time
-6:00 Dinner
-7:30 Evening Sitting Meditation

Family Retreat Cost Per Individual:

  • Bring Your Own Tent – Adult $240 | Teen $160 | Child $100
  • 6 Bed Dorm Space – Adult $300 | Teen $200 | Child $140
  • 3 Bed Dorm Space – Adult $400 | Teen $280 | Child $180
2499 Melru Lane
Escondido, CA 92026 United States
+ Google Map

89 responses to “Family Retreat 2023”

    • Sorry to have missed this question. They will probably be similar to last year. These were:

      Bring Your Own Tent – Adult $240 | Teen $160 | Child $100
      6 Bed Dorm Space – Adult $300 | Teen $200 | Child $140
      3 Bed Dorm Space – Adult $400 | Teen $280 | Child $180

    • The prices haven’t been set yet but we usually have three rates depending on age and then three rates within that depending on accommodation.

  1. We would love to come to a family retreat, maybe this summer. We are from Belgium and speak dutch. Our oldest daughter (13) is fluent in English. Our youngest daughter is 6 and understands some english but doesn’t speak it very well yet. Is it possible for her to attend the children’s program?

    • I’m sure we make it work for the 6-yo. And maybe we’ll have a Dutch speaker here. You never know. 🙂

    • We are asking all attendees to attend the entire retreat. This is particularly important for this one because it does fill up within an hour or two.

  2. We are interested in this event. How do we know when to expect the registration to open? Can we sign up for a registration notification so we dont miss it?

    • We typically open retreats 6-8 weeks in advance. And we’ll post the registration date at least a week before (if not much more).

  3. Is it possible to bring a 5 year old, assuming they stay with the parents? We don’t want to be disruptive but also are very interested in attending for the first time this year. Our kids are 5 and 6.

  4. My husband and I are considering going to the one week Family retreat with our 11 year old. Our son is autistic on the mild end. He loves music (plays classical piano, drums, creates songs on a synthsizer) and gardening. My son will sit and be still for periods of time (ex if reading a book) but it will be a big change for him to be still for the sitting meditation. Have their been any families that brought their autistic children in the past ? My husband and I regulary practice mindfulness and yoga but this will be a big change for our son. How many children are usually in the tweens 11-12 program. My son is open to meeting kids from other backgrounds and would be more motivated to go if he knows there will be kids his age there for him to play with.
    Thanks, Kerry

    • Yes, please bring your son. Other children on the spectrum have come many times. And we usually don’t make the kids participate in sitting meditation unless their parents bring them. There’ll be a program for kids throughout.

      • Hi Brother Joy,
        It’s wonderful to hear other families have brought their children on the spectrum. 🙂 Is there also a one week family retreat at Plum Village in France? From what I can tell the family retreat in France is a month long retreat ? If possible could you please give me a sense of what the childrens activites or schedule will be ? My son would feel more comfortable having a general outline of the day.

        • Hello, I see that the family retreat in Plum Village has space for adult individuals without family – is that also the case at the Deer Park family retreat?

          • We usually let people define their own family. We do not set aside anything for specific populations. But the talks and activities are all focused on the family.

  5. Hello,
    Is the kids program a little flexible in term of age? I have two sons 5 and 6 who are very close. Would it be possible for the 5 year old be with his brother too or will he need to be with the parents ? Thanks.

    • This is usually up to the adults facilitating the program at the retreat. Some are firm on the age and others have some flexibility. It also depends on how large a group we have.

  6. My husband, my self and a 5 years old daughter are interested in attending family retreat. will my husband attend his own prog in a seperate area with other male adults. Will Myself + 5 yrs old attend a different prog and live in a seperate area? thanks for clarification

    • All adults follow the same program together. Since we don’t have a program for 5-year old children, it will be up to the parents to determine how to split their time to attend scheduled activities and also be with your child. Sometimes families “pool” their parental resources and are able to watch kids together. But that is self organized. We hope this helps.

    • This retreat is particularly for families as we have a children’s program for them. But you may come other times such as a seasonal retreat when those dates are known.

  7. Hello Brother Joy – My family is very excited about this retreat! My husband and I have two questions: 1) Our son has ADHD. He is very sweet, but has a lot of energy and at times it can be challenging for him to focus. Would it be ok to bring him to attend? We think he would get so much out of the retreat, but would not want to negatively impact anyone else’s experience. 2) In regards to lodging, we are a family of 4. Would we be able to stay in a 3 bed dorm if we brought our own sleeping mat/cot for the 4th bed?

    • Yes, we frequently have neurodivergent children and teens. It’s really up to the family on what feels like works for them. A special request for a 3-bed dorm, which will fill almost immediately upon registration open, can be made to our registration office staff. Please email office@deerparkmonastery.org.

  8. Thank you for all of these answers. We will check back! If we get a space, very well. If we don’t get a space, very well!

  9. Is it possible to charge an electric car at the monastery? We can bring our charger, but would need access to a regular 110V outlet.

  10. Hi, my 6 year old son has allergies to eggs, dairy, and some nuts and reactions can be quite severe. Is your kitchen good with preparing foods for people with allergies?

    • During retreats, we post ingredients with the food. You won’t find eggs or dairy so it will be the nuts to be mindful of when here.

  11. Hi, May I ask for people who need to flight in , do they usually flight in the day before and leave the day after? Or what time does the retreat start on the first day and done on the last day? Usually If people need to stay extra day because of their flight, do they then look for other hotel close by or can they pay extra fees for extra days at Deer Park? Please let me know so I can make plan accordingly as needed. Thanks 🙏

    • Hello Trang. Arrival day and checkin will be 2pm-5pm on the first day. And we usually conclude the retreat with lunch on the last day. If you wish for extra days, you would need to contact our registration office staff at office@deerparkmonastery.org.

  12. Hi Brother Joy, appreciate all the help answering questions. Do you know if staff will be needed for this retreat, and if so, when the staff application might open?

  13. Dear Brother Joy, we are a family of 3 adults (1 young adult). Is it ideal for us to choose this retreat? Please give us some advice. Thank you Brother

  14. Hi. We have 4 children. Ages 8, 4, 3, and 2. The 4 year old is as advanced as the 8 year old and we hope that she could join in the children’s activities. If the younger two are not included in the programs, do we still pay for them at 100 each?

  15. Hello Brother Joy –
    If we sign up for this retreat and then later find out that we will not able to make it, can we get a refund? What is the deadline for that? Thank you.

  16. Hello Brother Joy! If I’m bringing my 2 year old daughter and we would share a bed in a 6 bed dorm, do I just register for 1 adult?

  17. Dear Brother Joy, what time is registration on 21st and departure on 25th? A lotus for you in gratitude for all your attention to these questions.

  18. Good morning. I am a family of 2(Mother and 14yr old son) and am interested in the 6 bed dorm but would it be better to register for a 3 bed dorm since we are Male and Female? Do families stay together or apart? Thank you in advance for your answers.

  19. Dear Friends:
    How do we register for the Family Retreat on March 24 and March 25? Do we call? I don’t see the instructions on this website.

    Thank you,

    • There will be a link on this page. You register online by completing a form and paying with a credit or debit card.

  20. Dear Friends
    Is Covid vaccination still mandatory for adults to come to this retreat? I saw an earlier reply that it is not so for kids. Nothing mentioned for adults. Thanks.

  21. Hi- I just tried to register and the system didn’t allow it for those dates. I clicked on the “register now” button, but the calendar shows those dates blocked out.
    Can you please advise?

  22. I have been trying to register since 12:03 today for a 3 bedroom dorm for my family. Has it already filled up? Thank you.

  23. Can we stand outside the gate and sing songs for those of us who tried to register at 12:01 and didn’t make the cut?

  24. Dear Brother Joy,
    Is there a way to register for all the 3 members of our family at once? The page is only allowing 1 member registration at a time, and we are not able to get all our members registered in this time crunch.. really appreciate your clear guidance for this.

  25. HI friends, I am a family from Synapse School where two of your wonderful brothers recently visited. We would like to bring a 4 person family but are struggling with the site. I wonder if it is all full? And if so, do you plan to offer a second family retreat given the demand? I am sure we can get Synapse families! Thank you! Jennifer Kitt

    • Yes, it filled up quickly yesterday. Be sure to try again today at noon when we release the other half of the spots.

  26. Dear Brother Joy,

    I tried to register at 12pm on 3/25/2023 (on time) and could not proceed further due to this message “Your rate. Cannot rent resource. It is unavailable on/from 21 Jun 2023”. Please kindly assist. We have been very exited to register for this event but were not successful. Thank you. Tien

    • We are sorry for this frustration. Perhaps by the time you completed the form and click Make Reservation, the space was taken. Even if you selected it from the start, the system doesn’t know anything until the Make Reservation button is clicked at the bottom of the form.

      Yesterday we had over 1000 people trying to get one of the 125 spots. I suspect that today was the same. We know this is hard.

      We will open a waiting list on Tuesday at noon.

  27. Hi friends, I got in for a tent but didn’t find a way to add my 3 family members before payment. Perhaps you can tell me how to do that. (13, 19 and husband are the additions to reservation 13288290 and I’m happy to add payment for you. Thank you.

  28. Dear Brothers and Sisters at Deer Park,
    Like others on this thread, I signed on at noon on both days but was unsuccessful in getting a spot. Considering the demand for this, do you foresee having more sessions in the future? If not this year, we hope that next year there will be additional opportunities for families. Thank you.

    • We can bring this suggestion back to the community for the future, and we are also exploring other solutions for a more smooth registration process. But it looks like we have way more demand, and we have capacity to serve.

  29. Hi Brother Joy!! I have a question regarding travel plans. Do I have it right like this: We check in on Wed June 21st at 2pm PDT and checkout on Sunday June 25 around noon?

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