Over a 54-year period, from the mid 1700s until the early 1800s, Spanish padres established a series of 21 missions that stretched more than 600 miles along California’s picturesque Pacific coastline from San Diego north to Sonoma. Mission San Diego de Alcala was the fi rst of the Spanish Missions. Known as the Mother of the Missions, it was founded by Father Junipero Serra on July 16, 1769. Originally the mission, along with the Spanish presidio, was on a coastal hill overlooking Old Towne San Diego— itself a popular tourist destination today—before being moved five miles inland to its present day location. More than 200 years later, travelers still visit many
of the missions—San Juan, San Luis Obispo, Santa Clara, and San Francisco among them.
No trip to visit the missions would be complete without cruising the famous Pacific Coast Highway. In California there are three distinct sections of note: Los Angeles and Ventura Counties, the Central Coast, and, of course, the San Francisco Bay Area and the Redwood Empire—each off ering a unique experience united by one all-American Road.
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UNBEATABLE EATS: If you’re starting in San Diego and heading north, be sure to enjoy breakfast at Cora’s Coff ee Shoppe, just a few blocks south of the Santa Monica Pier. Unless it’s Sunday, in which case you’ll want to continue on your journey a few miles north for an opportunity to experience the brunch served at Duke’s in Malibu. Overlooking the ocean, with dolphins known to make their way past the window seating, Duke’s has an aff ordable all-you-can-eat menu that is beyond compare.