If the recent Canonization of Father Junipero Serra has piqued your interest in California history, you might want to visit some of the Golden State’s historic missions. Several of these religious outposts are located along the Central Coast.
Old Mission Santa Barbara is known as “Queen of the Missions” – perhaps rightly so because of its graceful beauty as well as being located in the rustic Mission Canyon area of Santa Barbara. Some lesser-known missions are also worth a visit, including La Purisima Mission State Park in Lompoc.
La Purisima Mission is reportedly the most extensively renovated California Mission. The self-guided tour of the spacious grounds makes for a very relaxing visit.
You can stroll through the arches next to the mission bells to the old burial ground. Then, take the dirt pathway along the length of the single-story adobe structure, peeking inside rooms from the church to the weaver’s quarters, soldiers room and kitchens.
The rooms have been remarkably renovated and include details such as kitchen tables set for a meal, and a card game in progress (love the vintage playing cards!).
La Purisima Mission is on State Park grounds, offering many miles of hiking trails along grounds with lots of old oak trees. The summer day I was there seemed much cooler than Santa Barbara temperatures, which have been hotter than average this year.
Admission to La Purisima Mission is free. Parking is $5. You can see the mission in anywhere from one hour – to an entire half of day, longer if you want to explore the hiking trails.
La Purisima Mission State Park
If the recent Canonization of Father Junipero Serra has piqued your interest in California history, you might want to visit some of the Golden State's historic missions. Here are some beautiful shots of La Purisima Mission State Park in Lompoc, CA.
Traffic411 Insiders Tip: Wine lovers might want to hop over to “The Wine Ghetto,” Lompoc’s growing wine district offers an array of tasting rooms. Non-drinkers might enjoy the Surf-Lompoc Amtrak Station, located along a pristine stretch of Surf Beach (although the beach is closed parts of the year when Snowy Plover are nesting).
Distance from LAX: 150 miles (Distance from Old Mission Santa Barbara: 54 miles)
You can also explore these Central Coast Missions:
Mission San Buenaventura (Ventura)
Old Mission Santa Barbara (Santa Barbara)
Old Mission Santa Ines (Solvang)
Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa (San Luis Obispo)
Mission San Miguel (San Luis Obispo County)
Mission San Antonio de Padua (Jolon, Monterey County)
San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo Mission (Carmel, Monterey County).
Carmel Mission was the first headquarters of the California Mission System and is the final resting place for Father J. Serra
Old Mission San Juan Bautista (San Juan Bautista, near Salinas)