Coastal
Community Guide:
San Juan Capistrano
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San Juan Capistrano

Located about 2 miles inland, East of Dana Point, San Juan Capistrano is a rich historical city centering around the famed Mission San Juan Capistrano.   On November 1, 1776, Mission San Juan Capistrano became the seventh mission in the California chain, beginning the Spanish Era in San Juan.   

Orange County's oldest city, lauded as the "Equestrian Capital of the West Coast", entered a period of stability after the 1900's. The early years saw the community become a tight knit group of farm families and merchants, relatively untouched by the explosion of development to the north and south. The Capistrano Valley, instead, developed into an agricultural center with an orange processing and produce packing plant near the railroad.

Today San Juan Capistrano is a historic cultural center full of art, music and magic.  The geography of San Juan Capistrano makes for a perfect climate as this little hilly valley nestled next to the ocean.  From its historic Mission and Los Rios Street to its vibrant trails, train depot and quaint downtown, the City of San Juan Capistrano offers a bevy of historic, entertaining and distinctive locales for visitors and residents alike.

Del Obispo

Residents in the Del Obispo area of San Juan Capistrano enjoy the parklike setting of the community, and the variety of housing available from multi acre equestrian homes to mobile home parks. 

Mission Area

The Mission area of San Juan Capistrano is heavily influenced by the Spanish Colonial style with many historical homes still occupied today; with buildings dating to 1794, it is the oldest continually occupied neighborhood in the state.  The Los Rios district in the MIssion area originally had 40 adobe structures but most were replaced in the 19th century by wooden board and batten structures. Thirty-one of the buildings in the surrounding area are on the national register of historic places.  This same attention to detail is evident in the way San Juan Capistrano Mission area residents care for their homes and surrounding gardens.

Ortega Highway

The Ortega highway (SR 74) begins in Lake Elsinore in Riverside County and stretches across the scenic Cleveland National Forest to connect to San Juan Capistrano at the Interstate 5 interchange. 

Starting out as nothing more than Indian foot paths and a fire trail along the creek in 1917, it was painstakingly widened using man and horse powered machinery.  True construction began in 1929 after getting approval from the governor and continued through 1933 by the State of California, Orange and Riverside Counties. In August 1933, the Ortega Highway dedication ceremonies were held at Jameson Point overlooking Lake Elsinore.

Rev. John O'sullivan of the San Juan Capistrano mission was the one to suggest Ortega Highway as the name for the new highway in honor of Don Jose Francisco Ortega, member of the Portola expedition, who with father Lausen made the first attempt to found the San Juan Mission.

Today, it is a widely used route for people traveling between the 2 counties, with scattered residences and equestrian properties throughout.

San Juan North

San Juan North is made up of many smaller neighborhoods and developments,all within minutes of charming small town shops and local-favorite restaurants.  Many homes are located on the bluffs overlooking historic San Juan Capistrano, Dana Point Harbor and some of the most beautiful coastline in the world.

San Juan South

San Juan Capistrano South lies on the border of the Orange County and San Diego County divide.  Butting up to open spaces and the protected Camp Pendelton Marine base land, the neighborhoods provide scenic views of rolling hills, golf courses, and often incredible ocean views.

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