Mission San Juan Capistrano Visit

Ben and I fueled up before our mission to the mission with guacamole and a side of other random things…but believe it when I say guac was the main event Winking smile


I don’t know if schools do this throughout the U.S., but in California you learn about all the Spanish Missions of California in 4th grade. I fondly remember making a model of a mission – it was the biggest project of my elementary school career!Mission San Juan

One of my favorite missions was San Juan Capistrano and the other day I realized I live only a few miles north of it! I’m a California girl, but I’m new to Orange County so this was exciting news!!!San Juan Capistrano Mission

After lunch I was excited to head to San Juan Capistrano armed with my camera and 9 year old inner child SmileMonica and the mission

Admission is $9.00 for adults and $5.00 for children. Mission San Juan Cap admissionEntrance comes with the audio tour too. mission audio tour

IMG_9149IMG_9153I love historical tours like this – I’m extra partial to this because it combines California history with Spanish conquistadors enslaving the natives building missions and churches to spread the word of God and eventually having babies with the locals and one day many years later, making all those genes combine to make a Mexican-Spanish-red-headed-Californian named Monica (that would be me). IMG_9194

Old mission architecture

I may not remember a ton about what I learned in 4th grade, but I remember the story of the Swallows returning to San Juan Capistrano very clearly. On March 19th the mission celebrates the return of the swallows. They are the birds that fly from Argentina to California every year right on schedule!  This is their home (and mine too).

Old mission architecture 1IMG_9167

I love calla lilies. Someone tell Ben Winking smile

calla liliesIMG_9179

Today was chilly, but gorgeous! I couldn’t stop taking pictures and it was so difficult to choose the ones to post!


“Vaya Con Dios”


After our mission to the mission we needed some refreshments. I also needed some trail mix, but that missed the camera thanks to my cat like reflexes of eating Winking smile Oops.


Work out: Since yesterday was my long run, today is a Rest Day. A nice walk and some light abs were all I did.

I plan on watching the Academy Awards while eating spaghetti for the rest of the night. I’ll see you in the morning Smile

Speaking of CA fun – here’s my post from Nov. when I visited the Olivas Adobe the day before the Malibu Half Marathon!


  1. says

    I live in Texas (and always have). We learn about Texas history every 3 years starting in 4th grade. No lie. We’re very PROUD of our history, haha!

    Your photos are beautiful! I also took today as a rest day because I ran my first 5k yesterday. I’m watching the Oscars right now! Enjoy your night!

  2. Laura H. says

    We’re new to the SoCal area as well and San Juan Capistrano is definitely on our list. Your pictures make it look awesome! Have you ever been to Ojai? We went a few months ago and loved it.

  3. says

    I heard that you can now by kits at crafts stores to make your own California mission. It’s a little crazy to me. I too remember making a mission fondly, but I think it was more work for my mom than me.

    I’ve only been to the San Juan Capistrano Mission once, but used to make the hour trip to a restaurant down the street once a week. I was in a folkórico group and we’d dance for food on Friday nights at a Mexican restaurant. It’s where my love of super nachos was cultivated.

  4. says

    Oh! I remember visiting San Juan Capistrano in school when I was in 3rd grade. When we got back to school, the class made a replica of the mission out of sugar cubes. I kept sneaking them and eating them. I had the worst stomach ache ever by the time the parents arrived to hear our reports!

  5. says

    I’ll always remember doing the mission project and model. I made it out of styrofoam and then covered it in plaster. It was like a blog of gray. My sister made hers our of sugar cubes and my other sister just made hers this year out of gingerbread. So great.

  6. says

    We studied The Alamo, a mission in San Antonio, Texas. Loved that as a kid! And I ate granola today, AND we also ate spaghetti tonight watching the Oscars. In sync with ya!

  7. says

    I think that’s the mission I chose to build in 4th grade! Um, or the one I watched being built as my dad constructed it out of wood and my mom added the details. They both love being artsy-craftsy so they couldn’t stay away from it lol.

  8. says

    What a lovely day.

    I grew up in California and remember learning about Father Serra and the missions. I vaguely remember visiting a mission somewhere near Monterey, but that was like 25 years ago and the details are kind of fuzzy.

  9. says

    I grew up in VA and we spent 4th grade learning about colonial America and taking a field trip to Williamsburg. The rest of the grades pretty focused on the civil war. Ah, the memories of being taught about the “War of Northern Aggression”. Gotta love the south.

  10. says

    Beautiful pictures of the mission! I remember in 4th grade, we learned about state history and made our way to St Augustine. The kids really only cared about getting to go to the beach during school hours :)

  11. says

    Great pics!! I love that stuff also, historical tours and things like that. My inner nerd comes out and I want to take pics of everything!! Unfortunately my other half doesn’t appreciate these things as much so going to a museum is like pulling teeth, unless there’s an exhibit on beer or sports.smh.

    Vaya con dios! My grandmother always says that. Hey, do you guys say bendicion when you see an older relative? My family is particularly informal so my immediate family doesn’t but to my older cousins we do. I was just curious :)

  12. says

    How funny, the 4th grade seems to be the State Appreciation year. Starting in 4th grade and then in middle school in Oregon we learn all about the Oregon Trail. We form wagon trains and simulate traveling the trail. Sometimes we got to play the game on the computer too!

  13. says

    San Juan Capistrano was my mission! It was mostly styrofoam and just as someone said above, I think it was more stress for my mom than for me. My mom was so happy when my sister was also assigned San Juan Capistrano a few years later…until she found out my sister’s class was required to make their missions out of recyclable materials and all that styrofoam was not going to work. Hahaha I still remember how bitter she was that this new teacher wanted to be “green.”

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