Alta California Mission Churches

We finished seeing all twenty-one of the Alta California (US State of California) Spanish Missions over a period of around ten years. They were built between 1769 and 1833. Most are currently parish churches in the Catholic Church, but three are preserved as California State Parks.

Here is a gallery of the exteriors of the mission churches, so you can see how the mission style of architecture was brought to the New World (and especially what would eventually become the American Southwest, California and Florida) by the Spanish Fathers.

Spring 2016, we drove to San Diego and saw the southernmost two missions. Later in November, we drove all the way to Sonoma and saw the rest of the northernmost missions. Now that we have seen all twenty-one of the Alta California Missions, our favorites are: Mission San Antonio because of its rugged remoteness; Mission San Juan Capistrano because of its beautiful grounds and ruins; Carmel Mission because of its iconic authenticity; Mission San Juan Bautista because of its beautiful belfry and chapel interior; Mission San Luis Rey because of its royal majesty; and La Purisma Mission because of its dusty, old-timey feel, with its live animals.