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Central Coast Missions

Central Coast Missions Overview

Central Coast

California Missions on the Central Coast include the Santa Cruz, Carmel, San Miguel, San Luis Obispo, La Purisima, Santa Barbara and more. Spanish Missions were built all along the California coast between 1769 and 1823. The Spanish built them in their conquest to convert the indigenous people of California to Christianity and as strongholds for their newly claimed territories. Twenty-one Spanish missions can be found along the 'King's Highway' in California, which is now Highway 101 on the Central Coast and Interstate 5 in Southern California. Spanish Missions are the oldest structures in California. Most of the California Missions are still active churches with museums and gift shops. All have suffered earthquake or fire damage but very few have been left in a damaged state.

Blog See our California Missions blog.

Central Coast Missions

Mission Santa Cruz is located off Highway 1 in Santa Cruz. Founded by Padre Fermin de Lasuen on August 28, 1791, it is the twelfth in California and is currently a State Park.

Mission Santa Cruz
126 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

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San Juan Bautista is located off Highway 156 between Gilroy and Salinas. Founded by Padre Fermin de Lasuen on June 24, 1797, it is the fifteenth in California and one of the largest. It became known as 'The Mission of Music' thanks to the musical talents of Padre Esteban Tapis who was also the founder of Mission Santa Ines.

TIP: Mission San Juan Bautista was featured in the famous Hitchcock thriller, Vertigo

Mission San Juan Bautista
2nd and Mariposa Streets
San Juan Bautista, CA 95045

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Carmel Mission

Carmel is located off Highway 1 between Monterey and Big Sur. Founded by Padre Junipero Serra on June 3, 1770, it is the second in California. Of Moorish design, a tower houses nine bells. This was Padre Serra's favorite and is his burial place by his own request. It resides in a beautiful location at the south end of Carmel overlooking the Carmel River and is known as 'The Crown Jewel' of the Mission system.

Mission Carmel
San Carlos Borromeo del Rio Carmelo
3080 Rio Road
Carmel, CA 93923

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Soledad is located off Highway 101 between Salinas and King City. Founded by Padre Fermin de Lasuen on October 9, 1791, it is the thirteenth in California.

Mission Soledad
Nuestra Señora de la Soledad
36641 Fort Romie Road
Soledad, CA 93960

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San Antonio is located in a remote area approximately 20 miles off Highway 101 in Jolon. Founded by Padre Junipero Serra on July 14, 1771, it is the third in California. Aquaducts still exist that brought water several miles from the San Antonio River and turned California's first grist mill. This is one of the largest missions in northern California and meticulously restored to its original condition. It resides on a military reservation making it necessary to pass through the check-in gate.

Mission San Antonio
San Antonio de Padua
Mission Road
Jolon, CA 93928

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Mission San Miguel

San Miguel is located off Highway 101 north of Paso Robles. Founded by Padre Fermin de Lasuen on July 25, 1797, it is the sixteenth in California. It stands in an un-restored state and suffered damaged from a 2003 earthquake. Due to this, it may be closed to the public.

Mission San Miguel
San Miguel Arcangel
775 Mission Street
San Miguel, CA 93451

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San Luis Obispo is located off Highway 101 between Atascadero and Pismo Beach. Founded by Padre Junipero Serra on September 1, 1772, it is the fifth in California. The site was originally chosen for its abundant grizzly bear population that provided meat for consumption and trade.

Mission San Luis Obispo
San Luis Obispo de Tolosa
782 Monterey Street
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

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Lompoc is located off Highway 246 west of Highway 101 at Solvang. Founded by Padre Fermin de Lasuen on December 8, 1787, it is the eleventh in California and is currently a State Park.

Mission La Purisima
La Purisima Concepcion
2295 Purisima Road
Lompoc, CA 93436

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Mission Santa Ines

Santa Ines is located off Highway 246 east of Highway 101 in Solvang. Founded by Padre Esteban Tapis on September 17, 1804, it is the nineteenth in California. Also known as 'The Mission of the Passes' for its location between Santa Barbara and Lompoc. The museum houses a collection of vestments, artwork, documents, and artifacts that were used in and around the mission throughout its history.

Mission Santa Ines
Santa Ines, Virgen y Martir
1760 Mission Drive
Solvang, CA 93463

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Santa Barbara Mission

Santa Barbara is located off Highway 101 north of Ventura. It was founded on December 4, 1786 and is the tenth in California. This was the first to be founded by Padre Fermin de Lasuen after Padre Junipero Serra passed away. Considered the 'Queen of the Missions', its purpose was to convert the local Chumash Indians to Christianity. This beautifully restored California Mission features a museum, fountains, active church, gardens and cemetery with an historic fig tree.

TIP: Follow the signs approximately 2-miles farther up the road to the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden where remnants of the dam and aqueduct system remain that were used to supply the mission with fresh water.

Mission Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, Virgen y Martir
2201 Laguna Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93105

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Ventura is located off Highway 101 between Santa Barbara and Camarillo. Founded by Padre Junipero Serra on Easter morning March 31, 1782, it is the ninth in California and the last of Padre Serra's missions.

Mission Ventura
San Buenaventura
211 East Main Street
Ventura, CA 93001

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California Missions in Order

California Missions Map

Carmel MissionDolores MissionLompoc MissionSan Antonio MissionSan Diego MissionSan Fernando MissionSan Francisco MissionSan Gabriel MissionSan Jose MissionSan Juan Bautista MissionSan Juan Capistrano MissionSan Luis Obispo MissionSan Luis Rey MissionSan Miguel MissionSan Rafael MissionSanta Barbara MissionSanta Clara MissionSanta Cruz MissionSanta Inez MissionSoledad MissionVentura Mission
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