Surrounded by the present-day city of Oceanside, CA, the current church, which was built in 1811 is the third of its kind on this location and is a listed as a National Historic Landmark for its beautiful design. Today, the mission, nicknamed the ‘King of the Missions’ due to its vast size, operates as a parish church of the Diocese of San Diego, retreat center, and museum.
Located in the valley along the Royal Road, The Old Mission San Luis Rey is the 18th mission of 21 that were established along the California coast with the goal of educating the native peoples and converting them to Christianity. Spanish Missions, in particular, were geared towards making the indigenous people of region productive members of society and were truly loved by the native peoples, living and working together in harmony.
More than two centuries old, the history of the Old Mission San Luis Rey reflects the five periods of occupation that the San Luis Rey area experienced, including American Military, Spanish Mission, Luiseño Indians, Mexican Secularization, and Twentieth Century Restoration.
The first people to inhabit the land in the area were the Luiseño Indians who lived here for hundreds of years in the valleys, mountains and along the coast. The Mission was established during the Spanish occupation after the threat of Russian encroachment on the area and began with just a handful of padres, soldiers, and few supplies.
The law of secularization was passed in 1821 when Mexico won it independence and gave each mission a decade to fulfill their function of providing the local Indians instruction in the faith. The mission was used as an operational base by the American Military from 1847 to 1857 with notable figures serving at the mission including Kit Carson, General Stephen W. Kearny and the Battalion of Mormon Volunteers. In 1892, a group of Franciscan monks from Zacatecas in Mexico was given refuge at the Mission and contributed to the 20th-century restoration of the Mission. Photo: Craig Hanson/Fotolia
Romantic Getaway, Places to Visit, things to do with kids near me & beaches near me: Places to Visit in Ohio, Things to do in Texas, Things to do in Florida, Williamsburg VA, Weekend trips from San Francisco, MI