Orange County has really begun to pique my interest lately. I’m not entirely sure why… maybe it’s because it’s a quick getaway from LA right in Southern California. Whatever the case, three destinations in the OC made it on my 2016 bucket list.
One of them was Mission San Juan Capistrano, which I was able to visit over the weekend while I was in the area for a conference. (More on that in an upcoming post.) It was established over 200 years ago, is called the “Jewel of California Missions,” and is a historic landmark and museum that’s rich with information.
The day I visited, there were a ton of elementary school kids there for what I’m guessing was a field trip. I was actually hoping for a quieter afternoon and wasn’t actually expecting there to be a lot of people since I went on a Friday, but that’s okay because I’m planning on going back.
It costs $9 to get into the Mission, and it’s easy to spend a few hours wandering around the grounds. You also get a free audio tour with the admission fee with a portable device you can enter corresponding numbers into per exhibit. It’s a perfect place to visit if you like history, architecture & gardens.
My favorite part was the Great Stone Church, which was only in existence for six years before it was destroyed in an earthquake in 1812. It’s really something to be right in front of a building that’s more than 200 years old. (That’s pretty ancient in America.) Some of the stones in the remains are original ones that visitors are blocked off from stepping on.
The hallways are also awesome to admire while walking through, and there’s a church & chapel inside the church to check out as well.
I explored the Mission at a very leisurely pace and spent more than two hours meandering around. I also plan on coming back! Here are some photos from that day. Enjoy!