The California Mission Churches





I have visited several of the famed California Missions in the past but recently bought a map detailing all of them. Now I on on a mission, no pun intended, to see as many of the 21 as I can. I will update my post and photos as I make progress!! Here is the list so far:

Mission San Juan Capistrano: If you drive to San Diego from LA make sure to stop at the beautiful Mission San Juan Capistrano at 26801 Ortega Highway. The mission is very attractive. There are also permanent exhibits featuring historical and religious artifacts and paintings. You can also visit living quarters where you can see dining rooms, bedrooms and kitchen. Make sure to see the Sierra Chapel, completed in 1788, and the Great Stone Church completed in 1812. There is also a larger Basilica further up the street. There are many events throughout the year with many in March surrounding the return of the famous swallows.

Make sure to see the Old Santa Barbara Mission. This is a beautiful spot. It was the 10th California Mission and was completed in 1786, two years after the death of Padre Junipero Serra, who founded the first nine Missions. It was Padre Fermin Francisco de Lasuen, his successor, who raised the cross and made the first converts. The chapel and grounds are lovely.

Santa Ines Mission: Right near downtown Solvang is the historic mission that was the 19th of the 21 missions established by the Franciscans. It was founded by Fr. Estevan Tapas in 1804. There is a small museum, but the highlight is the beautiful church. It is well-worth a stop to explore the site.

Carmel Mission: The Basilica of Mission San Carlos Borromeo Del Rio Carmelo or Carmel Mission was founded in 1770. It was founded by Franciscan Friar, Junipero Sera. He founded many of the other California missions as well. The Mission Church is one of the prettiest I have seen on my last trip to Carmel. There is an interesting small museum to explore as well. 3080 Rio Rd.

Old Mission San Juan Bautista: The Mission is one of the prettiest of the one of have visited. It opened in June 1797 by Fr. Fermin de Lasuen, successor to Juniper Serra. Fr. Lasuen founded four missions. This was the 15th of the 21 missions in Alta or Upper California. The cornerstone was laid for the present church in 1803. The square surrounding the Mission is equally interesting, with many historic buildings from the 1800s including a hotel and stables. It is a State Park. The Mission is located on Rts101 and 156 north of Salinas between San Francisco and Carmel.

Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa: Located in the center of downtown, this is one of the famous California Missions founded by Fr. Junipero Serra. The Mission in San Luis Obispo was founded in 1772 and restored fully in 1930s. The church is well-worth the visit.

San Francisco de Asis: Also known as the Mission Dolores. It is the oldest building in San Francisco and should be on your list as it is on the southern end of the Mission district. It was founded in June 1776. The highlight is the small mission church, but don’t miss the old cemetery and the Basilica from 1918.

It is worth the short drive north of Paso Robles to San Miguel CA to see the  historic Franciscan Mission. Mission San Miguel – named for the Archangel Saint Michael – was founded by Franciscan Father Fermin Francisco de Lasuen in 1797, and was meant to close the gap between Mission San Antonio to the north and Mission San Luis Obispo to the south. You can attend a mass on Sunday or early on weekdays or take a tour at other times.