My parents were in town visiting from Indiana a couple of weeks ago, and we wanted to do a day trip – something not too far away that we could easily get to and back before traffic ramped up. I know my parents like historical places of interest, so after sufficient Googling, I came up with the Mission San Juan Capistrano.
I was expecting a boring little Spanish Mission with some plaques and a small museum…and it was that…but so much more, and surprisingly not boring at all. The gardens are in full bloom right now. The vibrant colors set against the stone walls are stunning. There are tiny museums throughout the expansive Mission, along with a beautifully adorned Chapel and impressive Ruins of an old stone church. The Mission grounds were peaceful and lovely to walk around. In March, the infamous Swallows migrate back to the area from South America, which might be an extra-fun time to visit. We purchased an audio tour at the Mission, but there are free and paid guided tours available as well. Check out their website for details and ticket pricing (no Military Discount).
The town of San Juan Capistrano was built around the Mission, and it is charming. Lots of trinket shops and boutiques. There are a variety of fun places to eat, and there is a great place for kids that I passed called Zoomars. They have a petting zoo, playground, train ride, etc. All of this is located in the downtown area right outside of the Mission, which makes for easy day trip touring.
Parking was a breeze on a weekday, although, I suspect the town gets quite busy on the weekends. It took us about 1.5 hours to get here from North Park. Add this one to your list of San Diego Day Trips!
I highly recommend this trip! Have you been to Mission San Juan Capistrano? Do you have any great tips? Tell me in the Comments!