Mission San Luis Rey

dfinney @dfinney
· May 2019 · 3 min read · United States · #socalsteemit

21 missions exist on California’s El Camino Real (Royal Road). The missions, and the road connecting them, span a distance of 600 miles. Both were established by the Spanish as they colonized what would later become California. Last Friday I had the pleasure of visiting one of these missions.

Mission San Luis Rey


Located in Oceanside, California

Mission San Luis Rey is the second mission along el camino real. However, it was actually the third to last mission completed. The mission was founded in 1798 by the Franciscan padre, Fermín Francisco de Lasuén.


The interior of the mission church.

The mission was named for St. Louis IX, King of France. Completed in 1815, the mission’s church is National Historic Landmark. It is the largest of all the mission churches. It is also unique for having a wooden dome.


Several varieties of cactus surround the mission’s exterior.

The quadrangle behind the mission is home to a beautiful garden. The garden features several varieties of roses as well as the nation’s oldest pepper tree. We spotted tiny rabbits, lizards and ground squirrels roaming the grounds.


Clockwise from upper left: rabbit, almost 200 year old pepper tree, lizard and garden views.

The mission’s history is divided into five distinct phases:

  • Luiseño Indian: The Luiseño were the original occupants of the area. Their villages dotted the coastline and riverbanks of present day California.
  • Spanish Mission: Spain established missions throughout California as an easy way to defend the claim on their colonies. Establishing missions only required a small band of friars. These religious leaders would spread Spanish culture, language and religion to the indigenous people. This prevented other nations from establishing a foothold in Spanish territories.
  • Mexican Secularization: In 1821, Mexico (which included present day California) won it’s independence from Spain. Under Mexico’s rule the missions were given 10 years to complete their instruction of the local tribes. After this time the mission’s land and administration was meant to be handed over to the remaining Luiseño people. In most cases however, the Luiseño were left with nothing.
  • American Military: US troops occupied the mission during the Mexican American War. The occupation began in 1847. Though the war ended in 1848, troops remained on site until 1857. During this time Mexico ceded more than 500,000 square miles to the United States including present dayNew Mexico, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, California, Texas, and western Colorado.
  • Twentieth Century Restoration: In 1865 President Abraham Lincoln returned control of San Luis Rey to the Catholic Church. However, the mission remained empty for many years falling into a state of disrepair. At the turn of the century a group of friars under the leadership of Fr. Joseph Jeremiah O’Keefe began restoration efforts. The efforts continue today.


Peekaboo views of the church at San Luis Rey.


Just a couple schmucks. ☺️

San Luis Rey is open:

Monday – Friday, 9:30 am – 5 pm
Saturday and Sunday, 10 am – 5 pm

Adult admission is $7 per person.

All 21 California Missions


Seven visited so far, 14 to go!

All photos are my own. Taken on an iPhone 7

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I've visited a few of these myself, but this one I don't think so. San Diego de Alcala, San Juan Capistrano, San Luis Obispo, Santa Clara... aside from that I'm not sure. It's been a while since my list trip to California.

You've been resteemed and featured in today's edition of The Daily Sneak.

Thank you for your efforts to create quality content!

Thank you for the feature @thedailysneak! You are too kind. ☺️

Let’s see... I’ve been too:

  • San Diego de Alcalá - San Diego
  • San Luis Rey - Oceanside
  • San Juan Capistrano - San Juan Capistrano
  • San Buenaventura - Ventura
  • Santa Barbara - Santa Barbara
  • San Luis Obispo - San Luis Obispo
  • San Carlos Borromeo Carmelo - Carmel
  • San Francisco de Asis - San Francisco

Well shoot! 8 not 7. ☺️

Sounds like 2 of the same for sure, maybe 3. (I can't recall if I've been to San Francisco de Asis or not. My visits to San Francisco were hectic.)

😄 I am just looking at the mission map and and mildly annoyed that I missed a couple in places I have visited! Gonna have to head back. ☺️

Looks like you are having a good time. Thanks for the history lesson🤣🤣🤣

Just think... next trip I will be posting about will be in New Jersey! 😄

The ultimate coast

I don’t think I have ever heard of these missions or that there was 21 one of them, tanks for sharing the photos of those beautiful mission and allot he great information

Thanks for this great post and being an active member of @steemusa !tip

Thank you! Yes 21 Missions! Some are right in the big cities like San Diego and San Francisco. Others are a little further afield, but so far each one I have seen is very beautiful. I just love the old Spanish architecture with the red tile and adobe. And the gardens at the missions are stunning.

That’s so interesting, I do love the old Spanish style architecture for places like this i must say

Wow! What a cool tour! I've been to a few in California, but have managed all of them in Arizona. Ours tend to be a little older and a little worse for wear. The oldest, dating to the 1620s are ruins.

There is one missing from your list. St. Thomas Indian Mission located at old fort Yuma (actually on the California side of the Colorado) which is still in business. The current mission was a rebuild on the same site in 1923.

If you ever decide you need to visit the 22nd Mission in California you should let me know. I'd be happy to buy you a cup of coffee....

I went to San Xavier del Bac (?) in Arizona. That was a long time ago, but I remember it being beautiful. Also hit up a couple in Texas. I find their architecture very appealing.

My favorite. It is beautiful and claims to have the oldest building in North America on the grounds. Several places dispute that claim :) The architecture is just amazing. And the history.

We attend mass every Sunday at Mission San Buenaventura. It was founded on Easter Sunday in 1782 by Fr. Junipero Serra and just celebrated its 237th anniversary.

I’ve been to that one! What a lovely spot to have as your church. ☺️

My two favorites so far are probably San Juan Capistrano and the Mission in Carmel.

I agree about San Juan Capistrano! My wife’s aunt is a docent at San Gabriel.

I haven’t been to that one, but I see it is about 30 minutes drive from downtown LA. Adding it to my list for my next SoCal visit! ☺️

I’ve been to weddings and baptisms there, but I don’t think I have ever toured it. I have to put it on my list too.

Good times dfin 😁👍 i wanna’ go on vay-cay too — 😝😝😫 wahhh!

Time to drive to Chilliwack. 🤔😜😁

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Thank you @travelfeed and @elsaenroute! ✌🏻

Very scenic! It looks like you guys had a good time.

It was great. I wish I could be on vacation every day..... ☺️

The California Missions are a must see! I have visited several, and hope to visit all before I die, hehehe! Thanks for sharing these beautiful photos. What camera do you use, my friend @dfinney? Have a terrific weekend! Take care.

The missions are a must see. I think people who haven’t lived in or visited California just don’t understand all the things that make it so special. They just picture traffic and crowds. Maybe surfers. But there is so much history and even the big cities have beautiful peaceful wild areas where you can still enjoy nature. Which as a Cali girl yourself I am sure you know this very well!

Congratulations @dfinney! This post was chosen to be featured in this weeks SoCal Spotlight!!
Thank you so much for being part of the #socalsteemit community.

Ahhh thank you so much! 🥂 🌴 ✨