We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.

“Back in Time”

Mission San Juan Capistrano
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Visit the birthplace of Orange County, California Landmark and Museum. The most beautiful mission in the world and renowned for return of the swallows. Guided tours daily and audio tour available in English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, and Vietnamese. Hands-on activities include California Missions Resource Studio, Curiosity Carts, Native American Basket Weaving, Koi Fish Feeding, and Panning for Gold and Adobe Brick Making. The site itself serves as a living outdoor museum with original buildings constructed by Native Americans in the 18th century including the Serra Chapel, Ruins of the Great Stone Church, and the original padres’ quarters of the South Wing. Relax in peaceful and stunning gardens.
Calgary, Canada
Level Contributor
70 reviews
27 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Back in Time”
Reviewed August 31, 2013

When you visit this Mission, it's like you go back in time. It's very well preserved and very peaceful when you're in the grounds. The entrance fee includes an audio headset which allows you to go at your own pace. The garden is beautiful. Overall it's a very relaxing place to be in.

Visited August 2013
Thank WinterWhite13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

1,130 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Thai first
  • Turkish first
  • Any
English first
Cheadle, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
24 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Great visit for a bit of history”
Reviewed August 31, 2013

The San Juan Capistrano Mission offers an interesting insight into the history if the area. Though not "old" by European standard - obviously- the buildings have suffered from erosion (being made from adobe...) and earthquakes (that's California for you) but thanks to a lot of TLC the whole site looks fantastic. The gardens are absolutely delightful & there are loads of spot to take great pictures. A bit pricey to get in, but it all goes to a good cause. You exit through the ubiquitous 'gift shop' which is actually well stocked with quirky pieces and well worth a look.

Visited August 2013
Thank Sophie C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Walnut Creek, California
Level Contributor
28 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Very well preserved CA Mission!! Garden, Fish Pond and The Bells....”
Reviewed August 30, 2013

I have been to so many Missions in CA, well you have to if you have Elementary School children!! This one by far is the most well preserved, big and well taken care of. Lots to see and it will need a few hours at least to just walk from the front all the way around, then go to the back/side to experience the ruins. The garden is quite fantastic with fish pond in the middle, also not to be missed: a little vineyard on the side.

Visited August 2013
Thank 2goddesses
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kansas City, Kansas
Level Contributor
18 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Could easily spend the day here!”
Reviewed August 27, 2013

The mission and grounds are absolutely beautiful. Much larger than the Alamo and other Calif missions. The free audio tours are an added bonus. The gift shop could be larger and the prices could be more reasonable, but it is nice as is. The staff and local people are very friendly. The basilica next door has live bells that ring throughout the day. Wonderful choice for spending a leisurely day.

Visited August 2013
2 Thank malinda430
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
555 reviews
298 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 265 helpful votes
“Great historical information”
Reviewed August 24, 2013

Once you have fought your way through Los Angeles traffic the Mission is a great place to relax and get an insight into 19th century southern Californian life.

The museum is well laid out and the provided headsets allow you to stop wherever you want to get an audio description. The cloisters around the main courtyard were pleasantly cool on the hot day we were there.

The remains of the Great Stone Church are quite spectacular, however it is difficult to imagine how it must have looked prior to the earthquake that destroyed it.

Whilst in the town take time to visit some of the other remaining Adobe and historic buildings just a short walk from the Mission.

Visited August 2013
2 Thank Johnpsau
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Mission San Juan Capistrano also viewed

Laguna Beach, Orange County
Newport Beach, Orange County
Laguna Beach, Orange County
Laguna Beach, Orange County

Been to Mission San Juan Capistrano? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing