Train & Bike San Juan Capistrano
By David Hail, founder of hotdateideas.com
San Juan Capistrano is well-known for the famous swallows that flock to the Old Mission in March every year like clockwork. What people may not know is the town also offers a number of historic and scenic areas that are perfect for a biking tour. This is an ideal daytrip from San Diego because the train ride up has nice views and is relatively short, plus the size of the town allows visitors to bike the historic areas and sites in around four hours including lunch. Add time on the train to that and the entire trips takes around 6-7 hours.
The big draw is the Old Mission San Juan Capistrano, which is the oldest building in California and one of the more beautiful California Missions. Founded over 200 years ago by Father Junipero Serra, the mission covers 10 acres and includes gardens, fountains, a chapel, barracks, and a number of other buildings. Other historic sites that are worth looking at include the Capistrano Train Depot and the Los Rios Historic District which contains some of the oldest residences in California, including three adobe homes built in 1794. For more information about things to do in the city, check here. After you finish with the historic sightseeing, head down Camino Capistrano to the Dana Point Harbor for some good views and a number of excellent restaurants. Here's a map of the main historic areas, you can pick up a copy at most of the local stores for free.
If you can make it up on March 19th you will be rewarded with the return of the famous Swallows of Capistrano to the Old Mission, where they will begin rebuilding their mud nests. They also put on a somewhat less spectacular show when they depart in unison on October 23.
Check the website for Amtrak train schedules and availability. The trip from the main San Diego station takes about 80 minutes, Old Town 70 minutes, Solana Beach 45 minutes, and Oceanside 30 minutes. Bike racks are generally available on the Surfliners, but you should call (800) 872-7245 to make sure they're available on your particular train and route. The racks do not accommodate recumbent, tandem, or other unusual bikes.
Depots (main SD depot listed at top)
San Diego Old Town
4005 Taylor Street
San Diego, CA 92110
105 North Cedros Avenue
Solana Beach, CA 92075
235 South Tremont Street
Oceanside Transit Center
Oceanside, CA 92054
Driving Directions and Costs
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