Explore California's 21 Missions


Father Junipero Serra

Founding of the Alta California Missions furnished an epic in history. These architectural monuments are historical reminders of the great Franciscan adventure. Patient years of labor, heroic decades of sacrifice by Fray Junipero Serra, his Franciscan Padres, and the California Indians who supplied the labor lie behind the founding era of the 21 missions and their branches. Most of the missions still stand, sources of wonder and beauty originally a day's ride on horseback apart, along 600 miles of California's beautiful coastline.


The Alta California Missions supplied many of the needed goods in early California commerce. The indians provided all of the needed labor to keep the missions functioning as centers of religion and commerce. During the Mexican annexation the missions were stripped of their exclusive rights to own large tracks of land. Many of the missions were quickly abandoned or suffered great loss financially, most missions collapsed or were destroyed by earthquakes or floods over the years. The 21 Alta California Missions are a large part of California's rich history.

View all of the original 21 missions built by the Spanish padres as they looked in the late 1800s and how they look today on this website.

California Mission Order and Date Founded
1 San Diego de Alcalá
July 16, 1769 by Father Junipero Serra 
2 San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo
June 3, 1770 by Father Junipero Serra 
3 San Antonio de Padua
July 14, 1771 by Father Junipero Serra 
4 San Gabriel Arcángel
September 8, 1771 by Father Pedro Cambon and Father Angel Somera
5 San Luis Obispo de Tolosa
September 1, 1772 by Father Junipero Serra 
6 San Francisco de Asís (Mission Dolores)
June 26, 1776 by Father Francisco Palóu 
7 San Juan Capistrano
November 1, 1776 by Father Junipero Serra 
8 Santa Clara de Asís
January 12, 1777 by Father Junipero Serra 
9 San Buenaventura
March 31, 1782 by Father Junipero Serra 
10 Santa Barbara
December 4, 1786 by Father Fermin Lasuen 
11 La Purísima Concepción
December 8, 1787 by Father Fermin Lasuen 
12 Santa Cruz
August 28, 1791 by Father Fermin Lasuen 
13 Nuestra Señora de la Soledad
October 9, 1791 by Father Fermin Lasuen
14 San José
July 11, 1797 by Father Fermin Lasuen 
15 San Juan Bautista
June 24, 1797 by Father Fermin Lasuen 
16 San Miguel Arcángel
July 25, 1797 by Father Fermin Lasuen 
17 San Fernando Rey de España
September 8, 1797 by Father Fermin Lasuen 
18 San Luis Rey de Francia
June 13, 1798 by Father Fermin Lasuen 
19 Santa Inés
September 17, 1804 by Father Estevan Tapis 
20 San Rafael Arcángel
December 14, 1817 by Father Vicente de Sarria 
21 San Francisco Solano
July 4, 1823 by Father Jose Altimira 

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