San Juan Capistrano is a town located in the Orange County of California. The town was built around Mission San Juan Capistrano, a colonial Spanish mission in California. The town’s historic charm attracts close to 300,000 visitors every year. San Juan Capistrano has been blessed with culture & heritage like no other. One of the oldest settlements in California is found here making this town a must-visit. The city has many sites of historical importance, along with many beautiful parks and beaches.
Here's the list of top best things to do in San Juan Capistrano :
1. Mission San Juan Capistrano
One of the top attractions in San Juan Capistrano, Mission San Juan Capistrano are the ruins of a Spanish Mission that was founded in 1776. Founded by Father Lasuen, this mission has provided shelter to people for more than 200 years now. This mission was the seventh of the twenty-one missions that were founded in California. This mission made the natives curious who started visiting these missions to explore about the traditions, culture, food, and ideas of the Spanish culture. Today, you can visit this mission and sign up for one of its many tours.
2. San Juan Hills Country Club
San Juan Hills Country Club is a beautiful golf club located in the Californian town of San Juan Capistrano. Whether you are a serious golfer, or just vacationing, the San Juan Hills Country Club is one of the best places to visit near San Juan Capistrano. Located along the rolling hills, this golf course is fun and friendly, and is open to all public. The PGA golf staff here will make sure you get a world-class attention when it comes to the game. Amenities at this gold club include a golf shop, a diving range, full bar, grill, and outdoor patio.
3. Ronald W. Caspers Wilderness Park
Sprawling over the area of 8,000-acres, the Ronald W. Caspers Wilderness Park is one of the top attractions in San Juan Capistrano. This protected wilderness preserve is also a camping ground. Thanks to its abundant wildlife from the native Coastal Live Oak & the California Sycamore, coupled with many streams flowing through the park & numerous indigenous wildflowers, this park is loved by people of all age groups. The Ronald W. Caspers Wilderness Park has many programs for its visitors. They include camping, hiking, ranger guided tours, and nature walks. The park is open all year long.
4. The Coach House
The Coach House is a music venue and one of the top tourist attractions in San Juan Capistrano. The Coach House opened its doors for the public in 1980 and has since then been serving as a platform for the aspiring artists from the music industry. Apart from the music, this place has great ambience, great sounds, great lights and great food. This place has VIP seating as well as the dinner theatre style seating. The Coach House serves dinner, appetizers, and drinks. Artists who have performed here in the past include B.B. King, Bonnie Raitt, Chris Isaak, Tori Amos and Tom Jones.
5. Doheny State Beach
Located along the Pacific Ocean, the Doheny State Beach is a protected beach area located about 5 miles from the town of San Juan Capistrano. If you a day free and wondering about things to do around San Juan Capistrano, you must not miss out on this beach. Popular for its surfing activities, this beach is located at the mouth of San Juan Creek. Oil tycoon Edward L. Doheny donated this beach to public in 1931 and hence the beach was given his name. While the northern parts of the beach have many surfing spots, the southern parts have many camping grounds.
6. Pirate Tower
Located along the Laguna Beach in California, the Pirate Tower is an 18th century tower that is made from the stone turret. One of the best places to visit near San Juan Capistrano, the Pirate Tower has rather mysterious origins. The tower 60 feet tall and made from the sandstone cliffs that surround it. The tower has many windows that are unevenly shaped. A favourite among the visitors, visit this tower to get a stunning view of the sea, and its turquoise waters and tide pools.
7. 1000 Steps Beach
1000 Steps Beach is a public beach and of the top attractions in San Juan Capistrano. The most unique thing about this beach is that you have to go down 223 steep steps that lead you to the beach. Once on the beach, the beach is extremely quiet, clean, and well-maintained. The beach is popular for surfing, swimming, sunbathing, and volleyball activities. Located just off the coastal highway, you will see many people visit this beach to watch the spectacular sunset. A hidden gem, the only downside of this beach is that there is no adequate parking around.
8. Table rock beach
At a distance of 6 miles from San Juan Capistrano, the Table rock beach is one of the most beautiful small beaches in California. While the north and south of the each are crowned by cliffs, while the central part of the beach has large rock formations. This sandy beach has many coves where you can view abundant marine life. While cliff jumping is quite popular here among the locals, other activities here include surfing, swimming, sunbathing, and fishing.
9. Aliso Beach Park
The Aliso Beach Park is a beautiful county park and one of the most beautiful beaches in California. The beaches in southern California are known for their water sports activities, and this beach is no different. Adventure activities like swimming, skim-boarding, surfing, skin diving and paddle boarding are available here. Moreover, many people come here for sunbathing and tide-pool exploration as well. There are many activities available or kids as well, like sand castle building. The park is open daily between 6 AM and 10 PM. Paid parking is available.
ZOOMARS is a petting zoo located in the town of San Juan Capistrano. Perfect for kids and adults alike, the zoo is friendly and perfect for a family day-out. Animals at this park include kunekune pigs, super sweet sheep, guinea pigs, llamas, goats, and cows. There are feeding areas where the kids can feed pigs and sheep. Other activities here include mini train, playground, pony rides, and many more. One of the best things to do with kids in San Juan Capistrano, do not forget to visit this zoo when in town.
11. San Clemente Pier
One of the most beautiful piers in California, the San Clemente Pier is located 9 miles from the town of San Juan Capistrano. Located in the town of Clemente, this beach is the main city beach. With many sandy spots, the T-shaped pier extends out in the Pacific Ocean. People visit this beach for activities like surfing, swimming, walking, running, sunbathing, and fishing. While the many amenities available here include fishing pier, grass park, picnic tables, restrooms, showers, restaurants, and walking trails. Dogs are not allowed on the beach.
12. Lantern Bay Park
The Lantern Bay Park is located at a distance of 4 miles from the beautiful town of San Juan Capistrano. This flat grassy park offers beautiful views of the Dana Point and the harbour. The park is a perfect place if you want to spend a few hours just relaxing. There is a yoga class held here every day at 10 AM. The park is one best places to visit near San Juan Capistrano and the amenities at this park include water fountains, BBQs, trash cans, benches, lit path, picnic tables, bocce ball court, grassy area, amphitheatre, and concrete trails.
13. O'Neill Museum
Today known as the O’Neill Museum, this house was previously the Garcia/Pryor residence. One of the top attractions in the town of San Juan Capistrano, this house was built between 1870 and 1880 making this one of the first house in San Juan Capistrano. The house has had a very twisted history and today also serves as a headquarter for the San Juan Capistrano Historical Society. Here, you will find many exhibits, documents, photos, books, documents, artefacts, maps, genealogical records, and more with regards to the rich history of the town.
14. Thomas F. Riley Wilderness Park
Thomas F. Riley Wilderness Park is a beautiful park with many ranger-led and other guided tours. This wildlife sanctuary is spread over the area of 544 acres and has many biking, walking, and hiking trails. The park is open everyday from 7 AM till sunset. This wildlife reserve is home to abundant indigenous plants and animal life. The park is dominated by the rolling hills and grassland landscapes. There are many water streams flowing through the park. There is parking available on site. The Thomas F. Riley Wilderness Park is one of the top family-friendly places to visit in San Juan Capistrano.
15. Pines Park
Located in Dana Point, California, the Pines Park is a scenic park where your entire family can enjoy a fun day-out. The park offers beautiful coastal views and has many grassy areas along with children’s playgrounds, and other park amenities. The park has many pine trees, hence giving it its name. A great place to watch the sun set over the mighty ocean, this park overlooks the Pacific Ocean. There are many squirrels in this park as well. One of the best places to visit near San Juan Capistrano, do not miss out on visiting this park.
16. Los Rios Historic District
A historic District is a neighbourhood in the city of San Juan Capistrano and one of the oldest occupied neighbourhood in California, Los Rios Historic District is one of the top attractions in San Juan Capistrano. With buildings dating back to 1794, this neighbourhood originally had 40 adobe structures. Later in the 19th century, these abodes were replaced by wooden board and batten structures. Once here, so not forget to visit the nearby places of attraction like the historic train depot, El Adobe de Capistrano and the Basilica.
17. West Street Beach
One of the best gay beach in southern California, the West Street Beach is a pristine beach with stunning views of the ocean. On a regular day, this beach has very few people around hence offering privacy to its visitors. There are many cliffs that cap the beach, the beach is exotic and lovely. The sunset from this beach definitely must not be missed. Activities at this beach include swimming, sun-bathing, and surfing.
18. Regency San Juan Capistrano
One of the most popular entertainment venues in San Juan Capistrano, Regency San Juan Capistrano is a movie theatre. The theatre has one of the most beautiful buildings in town and features many regional, national, and international films that attracts people from various walks of life. Located in downtown San Juan Capistrano, this theatre has a charm of an old movie hall yet is equipped with all modern amenities. The staff here is very friendly and will go an extra mile to make sure your movie viewing experience is a great one!