Things You Should Not Miss
1. The San Jose Mission movie and museum. It's a great place
to start on your journey through the four missions, and if you go on
the first Saturday of the month, the guided tour of the Mission ranch,
Rancho de las Cabras.
2. Take one of the guided tours. The rangers of the National Park Service do a wonderful job of explaining the details of the missions and the people who colonized New Spain.
3. Take a stroll along the San Antonio River. The park is on both sides of the river in the Mission San Juan area and provides a good view of both the missions and the water.
What is There NowMission San Jose Visitor Center - The main visitor center is open 9:00 to 5:00 and includes a film and exhibits plus a bookstore.
Espada Acqueduct - This aquaduct is located in the area of Mission San Juan. The park area surrouding this mission, the aquaduct, river, all the way down to Mission Espada is the largest of the area, except for the ranch outside of town.
Mission Concepcion - Closest Mission to the center of San Antonio.
Mission San Juan - South of Mission San Jose. Area includes a nature trail and the Acequia de San Juan.
Mission Espada - The southernmost mission, but not far from Mission San Juan.
Lodging and Camping
San Antonio is a large metropolitan city with a variety of hotels and motels. Check out the website of the San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau or other links on this site to check out the variety and availability.
San Antonio Missions Area LinksSan Antonio Missions National Historic Park
San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau
Nearby AttractionsGoliad State Historical Park
Republic of Texas Museum
The Alamo Then and Now
San Antonio Missions Then
Concepcion was built in 1755 and is the oldest unrestored church
in the USA. Mission San Juan was built at the present location in
1731, with the buildings complete by 1756. Mission Espada was
also transferred to the San Antonio area in 1731. All of the
missions were self-contained communities and not just churches as one
might think of today. They included ranches outside the city that
raised sheep and crops for not only the missions, but the communities
Photos of Mission Concepcion above courtesy of the Library of Congress Photographs and Prints. Present day photo below courtesy of the National Park Service.
San Antonio Missions Now
four missions today are active parishes of the Catholic Church and hold
Sunday and other special services. The park, through its guided
tours and visitors, continue to tell the story of how these missions
began and what they contributed to the two centuries of their
existence, which continues.
Mission San Jose is the largest of the missions and fully restored in the 1930s. The park itself was established in 1975 as the Mission Parkway and three years later as a National Park.
Rancho de las Cabras, or the ranch of the goats, is a new addition to the park and interpreted once per month by a guided tour. It was used by the missions to provide food for the missions and communities and wsa staffed by local Indians. The area is undeveloped now.