Of the twenty-one missions that dot the coast of California, La Purisima Mission, in Lompoc, has always been a favorite of mine. As kids, my friends and I used to pack a picnic lunch and ride our bikes out to the mission grounds, eager to explore the gardens, pat the livestock and wander through history.
Years later my three boys loved their childhood visits to La Purisima just as much as I did…so on a recent trip home for my Dad's 90th birthday, Reg and I returned with two of my (now adult) sons to relive the memories.
La Purisima is one of the most completely and authentically restored missions, so be prepared to let your imagination take you on a trip back through time.
Individual rooms are furnished as they would have been when it was a bustling community hub. Wander into the church, shops, blacksmith shop, living quarters and more.
Wear your walking shoes. There are miles of hiking trails around the perimeter of this 1,860 acre park as well as paths through the gardens and around the buildings.
The Visitors Center is the best place to learn the history of La Purisima and to start your tour. Be sure to allow enough time to see this treasure of California's Central Coast…and don't forget your lunch!