La Purisima Mission in Lompoc, California, is one of the state’s most complete missions with popular activities for school field trips and visitors. The first thing you notice when you pull into the parking lot is that there is no mission. All you can see is a modern-looking visitor center and a few old buildings off in the distance.
Don’t be disappointed; there is a mission, but take the time to walk through the visitor center. There are some excellent displays about mission life, plus a happy park ranger on duty to answer any questions you may have.
Be sure to pay for parking all of us need to help keep our California parks open. Every dollar helps, and La Purisima Mission State Historic Park is worth every penny of your parking fee.
La Purisima Mission visitor center has a bookstore and gift shop where many artifacts are created by local Native Americans and people who still work at the mission. Ok, now, where is the mission?
Take a walk down the hill from the visitor center and across a small bridge (watch out for poison oak), and all of a sudden, your back in the early days of California. Be sure to check out the donkeys as you walk across the field to the mission.
You can spend hours exploring the buildings and surrounding gardens. All roads are hidden from view, and it’s easy to imagine what life was like at La Purisima when it was a hub of activities for the Lompoc area of California.
The animals that live at the mission are unique; some represent the animals that would have inhabited the people who lived and worked at the task over a hundred years ago.
La Purisima Mission History
La Purisima Mission was the eleventh mission of the twenty-one Spanish Missions established in what became California. Mission La Purisima Concepcion de Maria Santisima was founded on December 8, 1787, by Franciscan Padre Presidente Fermin Francisco Lasuen.
The end of the California missions came in 1834, when the Mexican government, which had gained independence from Spain, transferred control of the tasks from the Catholic Church to civil authorities.
The property passed into private ownership, and the mission buildings fell into ruin. In 1933, the Union Oil Company deeded several parcels to the State of California. Under the direction of the National Park Service, the Civilian Conservation Corps restored or reconstructed many of the mission’s adobe buildings.
La Purisima Mission Events
If you only ever visit one California Mission, make La Purisima Mission the one. This is truly a fascinating place and an excellent day trip for all. One top-rated event at the mission is the Mission Life Days. Many people work hard to make these days fun and educational for any age.
Visitors can walk around the mission property and sample what life was like in the old mission days. You can participate in grinding corn to make tortillas, making your soap, or your nails out of melted metal.
During the People Days events, you can watch costumed people as they act out real-life at the mission, give lectures, and host tours. Village Days offers more hands-on activities along with more games and things related to the Chumash Indian tribe.
The other notable event is the semi-annual visit by the American Mountain Men, who camp out and talk to people about life in the 1800s. There are also many hiking trails that many people use.
Getting to The Mission
La Purisima Mission is open for self-guided tours from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. seven days a week, except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. La Purisima Mission 2295 Purisima Road Lompoc, CA 93436