Mission San Luis Rey


Mission San Luis Rey de Francia is a former Spanish mission - a Catholic outpost founded by priests of the Franciscan order in order to spread their religion and message to the native american population - located on Mission Avenue in Oceanside. The mission was founded in 1798 by Padre Fermin Lasuen, and was the eighteenth of twenty-one Spanish mission to be established in California.

At its prime, Mission San Luis Rey’s compound - which included several structures and services - covered over 950,000 acres. Known as the “King Mission” it is the largest mission in California and at one time even supervised two further outposts - San Antonia de Pala Asistencia and Las Flores Estancia.  In its early days, it raised cattle, goats, geese and pigs.

The current church that sits on the site was built in 1815. This is the third church built at this location, and was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1970, as it’s in excellent condition and serves as a quintessential example of a Spanish mission church complex. Spanish renaissance, colonial and even moorish influences can be seen in this architecturally significant site.

Today, the complex serves as the church of the Diocese of San Diego, as well as a museum, and a retreat center. It also has a visitor’s center, gardens, and the original small cemetery.

There are church services every day of the week taking place in the old mission and the parish center. The current site of the mission is 35 acres.

For education opportunities in North County San Diego check out MiraCosta College