When Henry Richard Dana, Jr., author of the classic novel Two Years Before The Mast, first stepped foot on this land as a sailor working in the fur trade, he famously remarked “San Juan is the most romantic city in California”.
Dana is not alone in his sentiment, as thousands of visitors now travel to the city each year to explore the historic San Juan Capistrano Mission, Los Rios District, train depot, quaint shops and other important landmarks that have helped shape its soul. The mission was founded in 1775 as the 7th of the 21 missions that were built in Alta California. The mission’s primary purpose was to expand the territorial boundaries of Spain while spreading Christianity to the native people of California. Historians also credit the mission for establishing the first vineyard and first winery in California.
Today, residents of San Juan Capistrano enjoy the preservation of its small town charm, ideal weather patterns, and close proximity to the Pacific Ocean. The city is also a well-known equestrian destination and is centrally located to several of Orange County’s most popular championship golf courses.
Dana Point Harbor offers a vast and exciting range of water sport activities, shops, restaurants, and educational opportunities.
And speaking of education, San Juan Hills High School, which is part of the Capistrano Unified School District, recently opened its doors (2007) in San Juan Capistrano.
Residents of Pacifica San Juan have easy access to an endless array of ocean and water activities. The Dana Point Harbor is bustling with activity and features 2500 boat slips, 3 yacht clubs, boutique shops, restaurants, and the opportunity to charter fishing expeditions or go whale watching or rent watercraft, stand up paddle boards, kayaks and just about everything else you can think of.
You can also discover The Ocean Institute, a unique educational experience for both children and adults. The Ocean Institute also displays the Tallship “Pilgrim” which is a full-sized replica of the square-rigged vessel on which Richard Henry Dana sailed into this historic cove.
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