Carmel Mission. Photo Danielschreurs/Dreamstime.

History of the California Missions

In the mid-1700s, Spain pushed for colonization of Alta California, rushing to occupy North America before the British beat them to it. The Franciscan order built a string of missions; each was intended to act as a self-sufficient parish that grew its own food, maintained its own buildings, and took care of its own people. These missions influenced the history of early California not necessarily for the better.

Light filters through the leaves and fruit of clustered purple grapes on the vine.

Santa Barbara Wine Country

At the heart of Santa Barbara’s wine country are the towns of Santa Ynez, Los Olivos, Solvang, and Santa Maria. These small farming communities are often overlooked in favor of the surrounding beach communities, but they have much to offer travelers. Learn about their history, lifestyles, and more.