Best Spanish missions to visit along California's El Camino Real

Easy and beautiful road trip stops, full of history, gardens and art

One of the best ways to understand the history of the West is to travel El Camino Real in California

Visiting the Spanish missions means experiencing more than old churches.

Starting in San Diego and working towards San Francisco there are more than 20 California missions to visit on a road trip.

These are the easiest and best missions to stop at on the drive.

Mission San Diego is one of the most famous missions in California.

Outside of downtown, this quiet historic mission is where you begin your El Camino Real road trip.

Next El Camino Real road trip stop is at San Juan Capistrano

Famous for it's migratory swallow population, it's unique among California missions with its ruins and gardens.

Heading north on El Camino Real you come to Mission Santa Barbara

Still a very active church, this is one of the best maintained California missions, with a great museum too.

Mission San Luis Obispo is a wonderful stop with the most unique chapel of the California missions.

After a visit, walk through the town and enjoy coastal life.

Just before San Jose are Missions San Miguel Archangel and San Juan Bautista

If you're not doing the El Camino Real road trip, these are easy day trips from San Francisco.

Plan 3-5 days to drive California's El Camino Real

This road trip is one of the most interesting, and California's missions offer more historic  insight than you'd imagine.

Find out more about the best Spanish missions to visit along California's El Camino Real

road trip plan, educational insights and extra things to do along the route