Mission San Luis Rey, Oceanside California

Established in 1798 as the 18th in a chain of 21 California missions, it was established by Father Fermin Lausen (president of missions during that era) and named for Louis IX, king of France. Described as the shape of a cross, its impressive architecture combined Spanish, Moorish, and Mexican influence. Buildings were arranged around a 500 by 500 foot quadrangle, nearly the size of 2 football fields.


Mission San Luis Rey was one of the largest outposts, stretching over 1,000 square miles in what is now San Diego and Riverside counties. This outpost provided support for the mission and also allowed baptized Indians to remain in their native villages and serve the mission by working on the ranchos.

Built primarily through local labor of the Shoshonean tribe Luiseno Indians who inhabited the San Luis Rey river valley area, this mission  was the largest and richest. It featured a huge quadrangle, an intricate aqueduct system which supplied water for gardens, pools, bathing and laundry,  ranching of 16,000 cattle, 25,500 sheep and 2,150 horses and production of 2,500 barrels of wine. Father Antonio Peyri planned and oversaw the construction of the Mission's  many buildings which included three churches, the last of  which was built in 1815 and still stands. 


Owned and operated by the Franciscan Friars of California, the mission provides both guided and self-guided tours, a museum, gift shop, Franciscan Retreat Center, cemetery picnic facilities where guests can sit and relax and a sunken garden as well as facility rentals for weddings and other functions. 


The California missions system underwent great change after Spain lost control and Mexico divided the spoils of the mission system  under Pio Pico. By 1846, mission life disappeared and its future was bleak until President  Abraham Lincoln signed a decree in 1861, returning the missions and a few surrounding acres to the Church. 30 more years of vandalism and neglect followed before restoration took place.

Today, California missions are popular tourist attractions, drawing people from all over the world and from all faiths.


When visiting Oceanside beaches, the mission is but one exciting tourist attraction. Harbor shopping, restaurants, great Oceanside hotels and Legoland are but a few nearby attractions to enjoy.


San Clemente < Oceanside > Carlsbad
4050 Mission Avenue, Oceanside, CA 760-757-3651 MISSION San Luis Rey lausen

Just four miles from the Oceanside Harbor stands "King of Missions," Mission San Luis Rey de Francia.

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