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Mission San Juan Capistrano
Vacation Travel Guide

Mission San Juan Capistrano featuring heritage architecture and building ruins

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.

Top things to do in Mission San Juan Capistrano

Top Hotels Close to Mission San Juan Capistrano

Best Western Capistrano Inn
Best Western Capistrano Inn
2.5 out of 5
27174 Ortega Hwy, San Juan Capistrano, CA
The price is $115 per night from Jul 8 to Jul 8
Situated near the beach, this hotel is 0.4 mi (0.6 km) from Mission San Juan Capistrano and 1.9 mi (3.1 km) from The Coach House. Doheny State Beach and Dana ...
4/5Very Good! (983 reviews)
"Perfect location off the freeway !"

Reviewed on Jun 7, 2021

Best Western Capistrano Inn
Inn at the Mission San Juan Capistrano, Autograph Collection by Marriott
Inn at the Mission San Juan Capistrano, Autograph Collection by Marriott
4 out of 5
31692 El Camino Real, San Juan Capistrano, CA
The price is $254 per night from Jun 20 to Jun 20
Situated in San Juan Capistrano, this spa hotel is 0.2 mi (0.4 km) from Mission San Juan Capistrano and 1.8 mi (2.9 km) from The Coach House. Doheny State Beach ...
4.2/5Excellent! (29 reviews)
"Beautiful architecture! Staff very friendly and overall, excellent hospitality!"

Reviewed on May 17, 2021

Inn at the Mission San Juan Capistrano, Autograph Collection by Marriott
Bohemia Casa! Family&pet Friendly. 3 mi. to the Beach!
Bohemia Casa! Family&pet Friendly. 3 mi. to the Beach!
San Juan Capistrano, CA
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Situated by the sea, this vacation home is within 3 mi (5 km) of Mission San Juan Capistrano, The Coach House, and Doheny State Beach. Rancho Capistrano Soccer ...
Bohemia Casa! Family&pet Friendly. 3 mi. to the Beach!
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Top Mission San Juan Capistrano Flight + Hotel Deals

Costa Mesa Marriott
Balboa Inn, On the Beach
Residence Inn by Marriott Irvine John Wayne Airport
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Best Lodging Options Near Mission San Juan Capistrano

Best Western Capistrano Inn
Best Western Capistrano Inn
2.5 out of 5
27174 Ortega Hwy, San Juan Capistrano, CA
The price is $115 per night from Jul 8 to Jul 8
Best Western Capistrano Inn
Inn at the Mission San Juan Capistrano, Autograph Collection by Marriott
Inn at the Mission San Juan Capistrano, Autograph Collection by Marriott
4 out of 5
31692 El Camino Real, San Juan Capistrano, CA
The price is $254 per night from Jun 20 to Jun 20
Inn at the Mission San Juan Capistrano, Autograph Collection by Marriott
Bohemia Casa! Family&pet Friendly. 3 mi. to the Beach!
Bohemia Casa! Family&pet Friendly. 3 mi. to the Beach!
San Juan Capistrano, CA
Bohemia Casa! Family&pet Friendly. 3 mi. to the Beach!
Casa Belardes- Family & Pet Friendly. Beaches! Restaurants! Historic Downtown!
Casa Belardes- Family & Pet Friendly. Beaches! Restaurants! Historic Downtown!
San Juan Capistrano, CA
Casa Belardes- Family & Pet Friendly. Beaches! Restaurants! Historic Downtown!
Stunning Pool Home, 360 Mountain Views, Sitting on 1/2 Acre, Walk to Town
Stunning Pool Home, 360 Mountain Views, Sitting on 1/2 Acre, Walk to Town
San Juan Capistrano, CA
Stunning Pool Home, 360 Mountain Views, Sitting on 1/2 Acre, Walk to Town
Beach City Very Safe Gated Community 4 Beds Guest House
Beach City Very Safe Gated Community 4 Beds Guest House
San Juan Capistrano, CA
Beach City Very Safe Gated Community 4 Beds Guest House
Modern Condo in the Heart of OC
Modern Condo in the Heart of OC
San Juan Capistrano, CA
Modern Condo in the Heart of OC
Best of Both Worlds - Beach & Equestrian living
Best of Both Worlds - Beach & Equestrian living
San Juan Capistrano, CA
Best of Both Worlds - Beach & Equestrian living
Dana Point Marina Inn
Dana Point Marina Inn
2 out of 5
24800 Dana Point Harbor Dr, Dana Point, CA
The price is $164 per night from Jun 30 to Jun 30
Dana Point Marina Inn
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.