Discover the world through travel & beyond!

Which was the first of California’s 21 Spanish missions?

Travel Mamas sometimes receives compensation and/or hosted travel and sample products related to blog posts. This story may include affiliate links for which we receive a small commission at no extra cost to consumers. As an Amazon Associate I earn money from qualifying purchases. Be sure to check with businesses and locations regarding travel restrictions and safety precautions before visiting.

a) Mission San Diego de Alcalá

b) Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo

c) Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa

d) Mission San Juan Capistrano

e) Mission San Francisco Solano

(Scroll down for the answer…)

Spanish Mission




















The 21 missions in California were created as religious and military outposts by Spanish Catholics between 1769 and 1829. The goal of the missions was to spread Christianity and assimilate Native Americans into the European way of life. In addition to sharing their faith and culture with the native peoples, the missionaries also shared European diseases, for which the native inhabitants had no immunity, thus killing off much of the indigenous population. While most missions were built by Spanish settlers, the final mission, San Francisco Solano in Sonoma was built by Mexican authorities.

Today, the missions are among some of the most historic and most visited places in the state. The California Mission Trail spans from San Diego to Sonoma. The first mission established in California is a) Mission San Diego de Alcalá, located in San Diego’s Old Town area. Today it is an active Catholic Parish.

Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo located South of Carmel, the second mission established in California, is pictured above. Photo by burns311 (Creative Commons).

Have you visited any of the 21 missions in California? Which one(s)? Let us know in the comments!

About Colleen Lanin

Colleen Lanin is the founder/editor-in-chief of As the author of her book, "The Travel Mamas' Guide," she teaches parents not only how to survive a trip with children, but also how to love exploring the world with their offspring. Her stories have appeared online and in print for such outlets as the "Today" show,, Parenting Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, Chicago Tribune, Expedia, San Diego Family Magazine, and more. Colleen gives tips on television, radio, and as a public speaker. She has a master’s degree in business administration with a background in marketing. She lives in Arizona with her husband and two kids.

  1. I knew that 😉

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.