La Purísima Mission State Historic Park

Historic Site in Santa Rita Hills

One of the most evocative of Southern California’s missions, La Purisíma was founded in 1787 and completely restored in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Today its buildings are furnished just as they were during Spanish Colonial times. The mission's fields still support livestock, while outdoor gardens are planted with medicinal plants and trees once used by Chumash tribespeople.

Start in the excellent visitor center where exhibits tell the stories of the Chumash, the Spanish missionaries and the work of the CCC. Self-guided visits are the usual way to explore the buildings themselves, though guided tours, lasting 1½ to 2 hours, are available too. The mission is just outside Lompoc, about 16 miles west of Hwy 101 (take Hwy 246 west from Buellton).