San Juan Bautista State Historic Park

Update (March 19, 2021): With the Regional Stay at Home Order lifted, State Parks is reopening campground sites for existing reservation holders. The department will be using a phased approach to reopen other campground sites for new reservations, starting January 28. The public is advised that not all campground sites are open to the public due to the pandemic, wildfire impacts and other issues. Additionally, group campsites remain closed. Day use outdoor areas of park units currently open to the public remain open.

As State Parks increases access to the State Park System, it is critical that Californians continue to recreate responsibly in the outdoors as the pandemic is far from over.

Please take the time to read the information contained on this webpage to find out what is open and closed, and the COVID-19 guidelines for this park unit.

What is open now?
  • All park facilities are open with limited capacity.

What is currently closed at this park and throughout the State Park System?
Statewide:
  • Some park units and campground sites continue to be temporarily closed due to the pandemic, impacts from wildfires or other issues. Please visit the webpage of your local outdoor destination to find out if it is open.
  • High public-use indoor facilities, including museums and visitor centers.
  • Special events and tours continue to be canceled until further notice.

Are there any new visitor guidelines?
State Parks has implemented the following guidelines to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the outdoors:

  • Stay Local: Stay close to home during this pandemic period. If you or anyone in your household is feeling sick, please remain at home and plan your trip for another time. 
  • Plan Ahead
    • The ongoing pandemic response continues to be dynamic and fluid. Prior to leaving home, check the webpage of your outdoor destination you plan to visit to find out if it is open, if parking is available, and what visitor guidelines are in effect.
    • Learn what safety precautions you should take when exploring the outdoors at parks.ca.gov/SafetyTips.
    • SNO-PARKS: Make sure your vehicle is snow ready. A permit is required for each vehicle parked at a SNO-PARK site. Parking is on a first come, first-serve basis at all SNO-PARK sites. The public is advised that parking lots are filling up early in the day. Illegal parking is prohibited. More information can be found at ohv.parks.ca.gov/SNOPARKS.
  • Stay Safer at Six Feet: No matter the recreational activity, maintain a physical distance of six feet or more. Your guests should only include those within your immediate household. This means no guests or friends, and no gatherings or parties. If there are too many people to maintain the required physical distance, please visit us on a different day. 
    • Boating: Do not raft up to other boaters or pull up onto a beach next to other recreators.
    • Off-highway Vehicle Recreation: Do not ride next to others or pull up next to someone else as it could put you in close proximity to others. Stage 10 feet or more from each other during unloading and loading.
  • Keep Clean: Be prepared as not all services may be available. Some restrooms will be temporarily closed to keep up with cleaning schedules. Bring soap/hand sanitizer. Please pack out all trash. Park units are experiencing heavy use and you can help alleviate the impact on park facilities.
  • Stay Covered: The state requires you to wear a face covering when you cannot maintain a physical distance of six feet or more. Individuals must have a face covering with them at all times.

Although law enforcement entities have the authority to issue citations, the expectation is that the public is responsible for adhering to the advice of public health officials, visitor guidelines and closures.

California State Parks continues to work with local and state officials on a phased and regionally driven approach to increase access to state park units where compliance with state and local public health ordinances can be achieved. However, the situation remains fluid and park operations can change at any time. For information on statewide current closures and available services, please visit parks.ca.gov/FlattenTheCurve

Phone Number

(831) 623-4881

Park Hours

Day Use Area 10:00am to 4:30pm

Dogs Allowed?

No

Driving Directions to San Juan Bautista SHP

The park is located in the city of San Juan Bautista, on Highway 156, 3 miles east of Highway 101, 7 miles west of Hollister.

Online reservations are not available for this park.

Upcoming Park Events

No events scheduled at this moment.

DAY-USE ACTIVITIES & FACILITIES
Historical/Cultural Site
Picnic Areas
Exhibits and Programs
Guided Tours
Interpretive Exhibits
Museums
Family Programs
OTHER FACILITIES & VISITOR INFORMATION
Parking
Drinking Water Available

San Juan Bautista State Historic Park

The park is part of a nationally recognized historic landmark adjacent to California's 15th Spanish era mission. The park and its Plaza represent what was once the "town square" of the largest town in central California and a vital crossroad for travel between northern and southern California. Visitors can gain an appreciation of California's people, from Native Americans through the Spanish and Mexican cultural influences, right up to the American period in the late 19th century.


       Early Days at San Juan

The park includes several structures built in the 1800s. The four main historic museums are the Plaza Hotel, the Zanetta House/Plaza Hall, the Plaza Stables, and the Castro-Breen Adobe. Many of the interiors are furnished vignettes or colorful and informative exhibits that help create a unique learning environment for people of all ages. The park also features a blacksmith shop, the historic jail, and an early American settler’s cabin.

Tours
The park is open daily for self guided visits and also offers guided walking tours by advanced reservation. Call 831-623-4881 for information.

Location-Directions
The park is located on Second Street, between Washington and Mariposa Streets in the city of San Juan Bautista, 3 miles east of Highway 101, 7 miles west of Hollister, 15 minutes south of Gilroy. From Hwy 101, go east on Highway 156, take a left at the light onto The Alameda; from Hollister or Pacheco Pass on 156 westbound, take a right at the same intersection. Landmarks: the Windmill Shopping Center.

Seasons/Climate/Recommended Clothing
The weather can be changeable. Layered clothing is advised.

Program Descriptions

Introducing

Park Online Resources for Teachers and Students!

San Juan Bautista State Historic Park On-Demand PORTS Programs.

Explore - San Juan Bautista State Historic Park online with Zoom. 

Imagine a place where you can step back into history and walk the paths of the Spanish padres, Mexican government officials, European emigrants, Gold Rush Miners, and Victorian ladies. All in one place.

San Juan Bautista, the crossroads of California.

The Amah-Mutsun village of Popelouchum once overlooked the rich marshlands of what is now San Juan Bautista. Called Ohlone, the Amah-Mutsun people arose to form an advanced culture and civilization.

In 1797 the Spanish created the mission using Native labor. The colony drained the marshes and grew wheat, corn, grapes, olives, and vegetables. Thousands of cattle, sheep, horses, pigs, and goats roamed the hillsides, destroying the natural habitats.

Later, Jose Castro and others moved from Mexico seeking independence from country and church. These Californios acquired huge cattle ranches in the 1830s when the missions broke up. The Amah-Mutsun lost their second home and livelihood.

The Californio dream did not last long. Immigrants from the United States, Europe, and Asia swarmed into California. Gold, land, and freedom brought thousands of settlers. The Breen family, John Comfort, Angelo Zanetta, and other immigrants built a new life in this rich valley.

Take a journey and discover how San Juan Bautista State Historic Park preserves the heritage of the many diverse peoples that crossed into California.

Our On-Demand PORTS Programs are designed for teachers and students in their digital and in-person classrooms. If you are a parent or student learning at home, please visit our website at

https://www.ports-ca.us/ports-programs/ports-on-demand/san-juan-bautista-state-historic-park to register for Home Learning Programs. 

Please remember:

    • Reservations to the Park DO NOT include the Mission, reservation at the Mission are made separately.
    • Mission Reservations
    • Paid programs also include all day admission to the state park with no additional reservation required.
    • Paid Interpreter-Led programs require extra staff, failure to submit payment or last minute cancellations will result in an invoice to the school’s district.
    • Programs and activities may be limited or changed by weather.
    • A teacher must be present during all Interpreter-Led programs.
    • Can’t come to us? Call the state park and ask about Outreach Programs, (831) 623-2753.