Located just south of Laguna Niguel and east of Dana Point, San Juan Capistrano is a unique community whose history is still evident with the Mission established by Franciscan missionaries in 1776 and a strong Native American influence, which is apparent in much of the city's architecture. San Juan was officially incorporated as a city in 1961 and recently celebrated its 40th birthday.
San Juan has evolved from a small community of approximately 10,000 people in 1974 into a city of more than 32,000 and growing. Residents are provided with excellent recreation, housing and employment opportunities. With nearly 40% of San Juan being open space and parkland, the city prides itself on effectively maintaining its many open spaces and preserving ridgelines, hillsides and trails for residents to enjoy.
San Juan Capistrano offers residents an abundance of recreation opportunities and a trip back in time. From the Mission San Juan Capistrano to San Juan's historic downtown and Los Rios Historic District, there is much to do and see in the city. The area is filled with an array of unique shops and restaurants. Residents are just minutes away from the beautiful Pacific Ocean, Dana Point Harbor, Doheny State Beach, San Onofre State Beach, Salt Creek Beach Park and San Clemente Pier -- all of the beautiful beaches that line South Orange County. The city is truly has it all: a mild climate year round, history, attractions and amenities.
"Excellence in Education" is the motto of the Capistrano Unified School District. The district provides educational instruction to more 46,000 students in seven cities and a portion of the unincorporated area of Orange County. The district supports 35 elementary schools, eight middle schools, five high schools, one alternative school and one adult education facility. It is the largest employer in south Orange County, with 50 schools covering more than 195 square miles. Six of the district's elementary schools were recently named California Distinguished Schools by the California Department of Education.
Numerous colleges are located within an hour's drive or less including the University of California at Irvine, Saddleback Community College in Mission Viejo, California State University, Fullerton; California State University, San Marcos; Chapman University in Orange and Concordia University in Irvine.
Known as "The Jewel of the Missions," Mission San Juan has been the center of Orange County since its founding by Padre Junipero Serra on November 1, 1776. It has become one of California's most important historical, cultural, and educational centers. The seventh of 21 Spanish Missions established in California by Franciscan Padres, the Mission was sold in 1845 for $710 to Don Juan Forster. Forester and his family lived at the Mission until 1865, when Abraham Lincoln returned the Mission to the Catholic Church. Today, the Mission is a non-profit historic site supported solely by tourism and gifts.