San Juan Bautista State Historic Park

UPDATE (May 1, 2020): This park is temporarily closed to vehicular access, meaning there are no parking facilities and parking on roadways is prohibited to protect public health from the COVID-19 pandemic. Although this park is open to local residents, they must abide by the following guidelines:

  • Stay Local: Walk or bike into the park. Do not drive to the park.
  • Stay Active: Keep walking, jogging, hiking and biking. Watch for one-way trails.
  • Stay Safer at 6 Feet: Maintain a physical distance of 6 feet or more. Gatherings, picnics and parties are not allowed. Visitors are being asked to leave if there are too many people at the park or on trails to allow for the required physical distance.
  • Stay Clean: Be prepared. Bring soap/sanitizer and pack out all trash.

Statewide, many parks and beaches are temporarily closed or have very limited access to ensure Californians are abiding and practicing physical distancing. The goals are to make sure people are safe and to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 as much as possible. To view the list of closures and what they mean to the public, please visit

Phone Number

(831) 623-4881

Park Hours

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

Dogs Allowed?


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.

Historical/Cultural Site
Picnic Areas
Exhibits and Programs
Guided Tours
Interpretive Exhibits
Family Programs
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.

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

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


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 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.