Mission San Juan Bautista

Mission San Juan Bautista

 Road trip to Mission San Juan Bautista

 

It’s an easy day road trip visiting Mission San Juan Bautista from Central California or from the San Francisco bay area. But, if you want to spend a longer time visiting various attractions and parks in Central California including Pinnacles National Park and Monterey or Carmel, then staying a few days or more would make a trip here more fun and relaxed visit to the region.

 

Road trip to San Juan Bautista

 

Town of San Juan Bautista

I had an early drive from the Bay Area going down Highway 880 to San Benito County and San Juan Bautista is only an hour and a half drive depending if you leave early to avoid traffic or leave later in the morning when traffic has died. I decided to leave before 6am to avoid the crazy early morning commute to the San Jose/Santa Clara business zones. Once you get from the 880/101 intersection, it is a pretty smooth and clear route going against traffic and the San Juan Bautista exit sign comes up relatively fast into the picture.

Tip – From Monterey, San Juan Bautista is about a forty-five minute drive so this is easy to do and if you want to visit Pinnacles National Park, there is also a west side entrance access to the park at Soledad

 

 

San Juan Bautista historic district Road trip to San Juan Bautista

 

 

 

The church of Mission San Juan Bautista

 

Mission San Juan Bautista

Once you exit 101, the small town of San Juan Bautista is really a charming town that harkens back to an older time frame with a beautiful downtown area, adobe homes and cool galleries. The historic mission district is just off the main drag and is an older square that faces the mission itself. Fortunately there are no crowds this early in town or at the mission which makes it great for exploring and enjoying the area to yourself and not having cars on the street so you can take pictures everywhere. What a wonderful feeling to have all of this practically to yourself, it almost feels like being in California from an earlier time frame and without any tourists in town. I loved walking through the mission arcade, noticing all the beautiful wood details mixed in with adobe and brick, a small rose garden fronts the entry to the main church which is still closed for the morning.

 

Rose garden fronting the church at Mission San Juan Bautista

 

 

 

 

A long arcade runs the length of  the main plaza to the front entrance of the church. White arches of smooth and cool stucco are accented with blue/green window and door trims. I walk down the entire length of the arcade by myself and felt transported in time in this quiet and spiritual space while walking up to the church and admiring the bronze statue of Father Serra fronting the vineyards and valley below of San Juan Bautista.

 

 

 

Mission San Juan Bautista arcade

 

The historic plaza fronting Mission San Juan Bautista

 

 

Rose garden fronting Mission San Juan Bautista

Rose garden fronting Mission San Juan Bautista

 

 

 

Father Serra and vineyards at Mission San Juan Bautista

Father Serra and vineyards at Mission San Juan Bautista

 

Exploring the downtown strip

I walk around and visit the other historic buildings on the square to include a hotel, stable and another public building which all consist of the historic national monument. Afterwards, I head out to the downtown strip to check out all the galleries and cool shops in town, for such a small town – the historic district seems to have antique stores lining every other shop on the main drag. I pass a sweet little breakfast spot but decide to look for a bakery instead for some nice hot and fresh mango turnovers. I walk down one side of downtown area and back to the other and window shop all the antique shops which is great since I ended up not buying anything since all the shops were still closed for the morning.

 

Victorian architecture around San Juan Bautista town

Victorian architecture around San Juan Bautista town

 

 

 

Victorian architecture around San Juan Bautista town

Beautiful Victorian details downtown

Walking San Juan Bautista old town

 

Walking San Juan Bautista old town

Checking out the antique stores at San Juan Bautista

I loved that there were so many antique and curio shops lining up the main street and fortunately all of them were closed which would have taken a large chunk of time if I decided to wait for most of them to open.  Fortunately, I decided to head out early and just enjoyed the window shopping without having to spend a dime from walking through this scenic downtown area.

Antique stores at San Juan Bautista town

Antique stores at San Juan Bautista town

Hollister and Pinnacles National Park

I decided to head on out to my next stop which was the main city of Hollister and then Pinnacles National park on Highway 25. Hollister is just a short 8 mile drive down Highway 152 and basically is a one street downtown called San Benito street. Even though San Benito county touts Hollister as a fun tourist town to visit, it feels more like a hub city in the county and is worth a stop for getting provisions, gas or as a place to stay for the night. I continue on towards Pinnacles National park and exit the city continuing down Hwy 25 – basically a two lane highway that goes through scenic landscape filled with rolling hills, rivers, vineyards and oak forests that the road darts in and out of. It’s a pleasant 30 mile drive on Hwy 25 until you see the exit detour for Pinnacles National Park on the right and enter directly up until you see the visitors center.

Continue to Pinnacles National Park

 

If you enjoy this post, please pin it

 

Road trip to Mission San Juan Bautista

 

Details to visiting Mission San Juan Bautista

Tours are self guided

Admission – $4  for adults, $3 for seniors, free for children under 5

Hours – 9:30 – 4:30, seven days a week

Check out their website here for more details and a calendar of events

 

 

Thanks for visiting today and checking out this post on the Mission San Juan Bautistaif you enjoyed the images and post, could you please share it with any of the social media buttons located around the post.

If you like what you see, come and check out my other social media channels for more updates, including Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter

 

, , , ,

8 Responses to Mission San Juan Bautista

  1. Carole Terwilliger Meyers April 11, 2017 at 2:20 pm #

    As you note here, San Juan Bautista the mission is well worth a visit. I like to stop in San Juan Bautista the town for lunch, when I am traveling from San Francisco south on Highway 101. I always go to the Mexican restaurant where chickens run loose and margaritas are superb–Jardines de San Juan.

    • Noel April 11, 2017 at 2:33 pm #

      I’ll have to try it some day, I love funky places that this Carole, thanks for the share.

  2. Doreen Pendgracs April 11, 2017 at 2:26 am #

    Thx for this great post, Noel. Like Karen, I, too, have loved exploring some of the old California missions. but I’ve not yet been to San Juan Bautista. Would love to visit!

    • Noel April 11, 2017 at 6:28 am #

      I’m hoping to do more this year so stay tuned!

  3. Mark April 11, 2017 at 1:49 am #

    That 101! Wow what a beautiful drive and so many spots for the perfect road trip. I use to to do this and the 1 from LA to Seattle and couldn’t believe how many places there were. The town of San Juan Bautista looks great. The wife would love shopping at some of the antique shops so would likely add more time to what I’d imagine would be a short stop. Thanks for the post!

    • Noel April 11, 2017 at 6:29 am #

      Yes, there’s a lot to see once you get off the main highway.

  4. Karen Warren April 10, 2017 at 9:17 am #

    I love those Californian missions. I’ll have to try to get to San Juan Bautista next time I’m in San Francisco.

    • Noel April 10, 2017 at 9:52 am #

      It’s one of my favorite missions in California and the square and historic town are also wonderful to explore.

Leave a Reply