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Mission San Juan Capistrano

Once a religious and agricultural community of a thousand, this mission is now an Orange County historic cultural hub.

More than 200 years ago, Mission San Juan Capistrano was built as a self-sufficient community focusing on agriculture, industry, education and religion. The historic landmark is one of 21 missions established across California. Many consider it the birthplace of Orange County.

The mission was founded in the late 1700s to expand the boundaries of Spain and spread Christianity to Native Americans in the area. Today, it’s a popular tourist destination that educates visitors about California’s multicultural history.

The mission was at its peak at the turn of the century, and by 1806 it had a population of more than 1,000 people and their farm animals. The centerpiece was — and still is — the architectural triumph, the Great Stone Church.

Explore museum exhibits, 10 acres (4 hectares) of beautiful gardens, and fountains and preserved architecture, including the original chapel. Children will enjoy the Koi Fish Feeding, panning for gold and adobe brick making, while everyone can try the Native American Basket Weaving, which is held twice a month.

If you’re visiting in March, don’t miss the remarkable Return of the Swallows on St. Joseph’s Day. The birds flock to the mission in large numbers every year and begin building their mud nests directly in the ruins of the church. To celebrate their return, festivities take place at the mission, including live mariachi music, performances and presentations.

Mission San Juan Capistrano is open daily, excluding some public holidays. Try to allow for a full day here to get a good look around and take part in some of the daily activities. If you’re stretched for time, a one-hour tour is available on weekends. You can also take a self-guided audio tour any day of the week. (Free with admission.)

It takes about 25 minutes to drive to Mission San Juan Capistrano from downtown Santa Ana or the South Coast Plaza, and there’s plenty of free public parking. Public transport also services the area.


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Lodging Near Mission San Juan Capistrano

See all 336 Hotels near Mission San Juan Capistrano
Best Western Capistrano Inn $110
Best Western Capistrano Inn

Best Western Capistrano Inn

27174 Ortega Hwy, San Juan Capistrano
     
    3.8
    of 5, from 855 reviews
    2.5 out of 5.0

    Situated in San Juan Capistrano, this motel is 0.4 mi (0.6 km) from Mission San Juan Capistrano and 1.9 mi (3.1 km) from The Coach House. Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club and Saddleback College are also within 6 mi (10 km).

    Via Belardes Condo - 3 Br condo by RedAwning
    Via Belardes Condo - 3 Br condo by RedAwning

    Via Belardes Condo - 3 Br condo by RedAwning

    31756 Via Belardes, San Juan Capistrano
       
      3.5 out of 5.0

      Situated in San Juan Capistrano, this condo building is close to Mission San Juan Capistrano, The Coach House, and Sea Canyon Park. Local attractions also include Rancho Capistrano Soccer Complex and Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club.

      Best Western Plus Marina Shores Hotel $114
      Best Western Plus Marina Shores Hotel

      Best Western Plus Marina Shores Hotel

      34280 Pacific Coast Hwy, Dana Point
         
        4.2
        of 5, from 1,093 reviews
        2.5 out of 5.0

        Situated near the beach, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Doheny State Beach, Dana Point Harbor, and Lantern Bay County Park. Dana Cove Park and Ocean Institute are also within 2 mi (3 km).

        Upscale Ultra Luxury Home W/model Furnishings **$200 Rebate w/ 7 Night Stay!**
        Upscale Ultra Luxury Home W/model Furnishings **$200 Rebate w/ 7 Night Stay!**

        Upscale Ultra Luxury Home W/model Furnishings **$200 Rebate w/ 7 Night Stay!**

        , Dana Point
           
          5.0
          of 5, from 13 reviews
          0.0 out of 5.0

          Situated by the ocean, this vacation home is close to The Coach House, Mission San Juan Capistrano, and Sea Canyon Park. Also nearby are Lantern Bay County Park and Doheny State Beach.

          Residence Inn by Marriott Dana Point San Juan Capistrano
          Residence Inn by Marriott Dana Point San Juan Capistrano

          Residence Inn by Marriott Dana Point San Juan Capistrano

          33711 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano
             
            4.3
            of 5, from 236 reviews
            3.0 out of 5.0

            Situated by the ocean, this aparthotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of The Coach House and Doheny State Beach. Dana Point Harbor and Mission San Juan Capistrano are also within 3 mi (5 km).

            Monarch Beach Resort
            Monarch Beach Resort

            Monarch Beach Resort

            1 Monarch Beach Resort N, Dana Point
               
              4.6
              of 5, from 184 reviews
              5.0 out of 5.0

              Located in Monarch Beach, this spa resort is 0.9 mi (1.4 km) from Salt Creek Beach Park and within 3 mi (5 km) of Harbor Point Park and Nature Interpretive Center. Sea Canyon Park and Thousand Steps Beach are also within 3 mi (5 km).

              Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort and Spa $209
              Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort and Spa

              Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort and Spa

              25135 Park Lantern, Dana Point
                 
                4.3
                of 5, from 1,515 reviews
                4.0 out of 5.0

                Laguna Cliffs is just minutes from many pro-level golf courses, including Monarch Beach and Talega; several high-end shopping centers; and scenic Mission San Juan Capistrano.

                Luxury Dana Point Vacation Rental Close To The Beach!
                Luxury Dana Point Vacation Rental Close To The Beach!

                Luxury Dana Point Vacation Rental Close To The Beach!

                , Dana Point
                   
                  0.0 out of 5.0

                  Situated by the ocean, this property is close to Sea Canyon Park, Lantern Bay County Park, and Dana Cove Park. Also nearby are Dana Point Harbor and Ocean Institute.