Mission San Luis Rey de Francia
Named after the 13th-century French king Louis IX, the mission was home to 3000 Payomkawichum people, also known as Luiseño. Building of the church started in 1811. And, says their website, “By 1830, the mission was the largest building in California.” San Luis is unique among California missions in that it’s domed. The wood for the dome was brought down off of Palomar Mountain. After touring the rustic yet ornate church, check out the museum full of articles from daily mission life 150 to 200 years ago. Stroll through the cemetery where some graves date as far back as 1798. Relax under the gnarly old pepper tree in the courtyard. Planted in 1830, it’s believed to be the oldest pepper tree in California. Admission is $4 for adults, $3 for children 5–18. Under five and military are free.