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Orange County California Missions

Orange County Missions Overview

Orange County

San Juan Capistrano Mission is the only one found in Orange County. Spanish missions were built all along the California coast between 1769 and 1823 making them the oldest structures in California. 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. They 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.

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Orange County Missions

Mission San Juan Capistrano is located at the intersection of Interstate 5 and Highway 74 in San Juan Capistrano. This is the seventh in California and was founded on November 1, 1776 by Padre Junipero Serra. The great stone church still lay in ruin from an 1812 earthquake, but much else remains intact throughout the grounds. This California Mission is most renowned for the 'Return of the Swallows', which occurs around March 19th every year. They return all the way from Argentina where they nest for the winter.

Mission San Juan Capistrano
Highway 74
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92693

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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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