The Sacred Garden. You can view but not walk around the premises. A beautiful and peaceful place.
The mission property is quite large and not only includes the church and museum but another courtyard with fountains & garden, a very nice looking cemetary (not at all creepy), and remnants of soldiers barracks across the street.
Mission San Luis Rey is called the "King of the Missions". It is a good example of the architecture during the time the Franciscan order established the missions in California.
It was the Luiseno Indians who first inhabited this area. Since the Russians were quickly acquiring land, Spain established the missions as an inexpensive way to claim land in the name of Spain. Father Peyri was put in charge of San Luis Rey and during his stay the mission was home to approximately 3,000 Indians. After Mexico won it's independence, the land around the mission was under the control of various secular administrators who left nothing for the Indians.
After California became part of the US, the mission was ordered back to the Catholic church by President Lincoln, but it was abandoned until 1892 and left in disrepair.
In 1892 a group of Franciscans moved to San Luis Rey and rebuilt permanent living quarters where the museum sits today.
Excavations are still in progress unearthing things of the past.
Also known as the "King of the Missions", it is one of the largest in the chain of 21 missions in California. It was founded in 1798 by Father Fermen Laseun and named after Louis IX, King of France.
The structure was built mostly of adobe and is in the shape of a cross. The interior of the church is quite spacious with a beamed ceiling and colorfully painted decorations throughout. Originally the decorations were painted by American Indians.
The museum can be visited for $4.00 and includes artifacts from 18th & 19th century mission life. It was interesting to see the old photos of the mission abandoned and in terrible need of repair. Today the mission is in beautiful condition.
Tucked away in a quiet North San Diego County Valley, just a few miles from the Pacific Ocean, you will find a majestic jewel of early California history called Mission San Luis Rey. Walking through the Sunken Gardens or along the arched colonnade, you will be transported to the past, imagining the everyday life of the Franciscan Friars and Indians who inhabited the Mission more than two centuries ago. Mission San Luis Rey truly lives up to its title as King of the Missions. Mission San Luis Rey de Francia, located in Oceanside, California, is the eighteenth in a line of twenty-one California Missions. 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, and Cemetery as well as various functions and events. Visitors are welcome to stroll through the Mission Church and surrounding grounds and to attend weekend mass.
Do not miss the Mission San Luis Rey in Oceanside -- it is gorgeous!!See my Mission San Luis Rey Travelogue for some shots of the exterior (it was closed the day we went but even just the exterior is spectacular).
The cemetery is the oldest in North County and contains a monument built in 1830 in memory of the Luiseno Indians, this area's first inhabitants.
The cemetery holds a musoleum of past Franciscans and a statue Father Junipero Serra who lead his Franscian brothers to California to build the missions.
The interior of the Mission has been decorated as you would imagine it was when the Franciscans returned in 1892; very simple, without gilding or marble statuary unlike the churches in Europe.
The museum has photos and a 15-minute video that details the history of the mission, along with artifacts from the different periods the mission was inhabited.
The entrance fee is $4/psn.