"San Juan Capistrano" Top 5 Page for this destination San Juan Capistrano by Goner
San Juan Capistrano Travel Guide: 157 reviews and 469 photos
San Juan Capistrano is located three miles from the ocean in Southern California, midway between LA and San Diego. It’s best known for its Mission and the swallows that return there year-after-year. This beautiful Mission is known as “The Jewel of the Missions”. Junipero Serra founded it in 1776, named for Giovanni de Capistrano, a missionary. Capistrano Mission is the 7th of the 21 Spanish Missions in California, inside the Mission walls lay the ruins of the Great Stone Church, a Roman Greco style cathedral - the largest building in the California wilderness. An earthquake destroyed it in 1806 and efforts are being made to preserve this national treasure.
The miracle of the “Swallows” of Capistrano takes place each year at the Mission on March 19th, which is St. Joseph’s Day. A few “scout swallows” precede the flock to clear the way for the main group which arrive in early dawn on St. Joseph’s Day and return to their mud nests which are still clinging to the ruins of the old stone church of San Juan Capistrano. After camping out for the summer, on October 23rd the swallows take their young and fly away until the next year. This phenomenon has been occurring for as long as anyone can remember.
Los Rios is the oldest neighborhood in California, it runs along the railroad tracks across from the Capistrano Depot. There are 40 homes still standing which include 3 original adobe structures. These 3 adobes housed the builders and ranch workers in the 1700’s and early 1800’s. During the time the Great Stone Church was built, the mission was prospering as the center of economy for the Spanish and the Acajachemen Indians. European immigrants built many of the other homes here in the 1800’s and 1900’s.
Most of the homes are now private residences, and some are businesses open during business hours to the public. A walk through this area takes you back in time and recaptures the slower pace of life that existed here before the turn of the century and before. Large willow and eucalyptus and palm trees tower above the cactus and wildflowers that grow beneath the large sprays of bougainvillea. Visitors come here for the arts and crafts and bring their children to Jones Mini Farm where children can ride the ponies and feed and pet the rabbits, goats and other animals.
San Juan Capistrano’s train depot was completed October 8, 1894 and considered by many as the finest depot on the Santa Fe system. It’s a lovely building with mission arches, a dome 40 feet high with a mission bell, dainty ticket office and quaint old fashion fireplace. However, the depot is now home to Sarducci’s Italian restaurant.
- Pros:Beautiful Mission & Look at California History
- In a nutshell:Just a Lovely Mission Town to Visit
In the Los Rio Historic district is Jones Mini Farm, a small farm where children can see the animals more travel advice
When I first visited San Juan Capistrano Mission, it was to watch the Swallows returning on March 19th, I have no memory... more travel advice
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Latest San Juan Capistrano hotel reviews
- Mission Inn
- 36 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Nov 20, 2008