Established in 1769 above Old Town, this was the first link in a chain of 21 California missions founded by Spanish missionary Junípero Serra. In 1774, the mission was moved from Old Town to its present site for agricultural reasons -- and to separate the indigenous converts from the fortress that included the original building. The mission was sacked by the local tribe a year after it was built, leading Father Serra to reconstruct it using 5- to 7-foot-thick adobe walls and clay tile roofs, rendering it harder to burn. In the process, he inspired a bevy of 20th-century California architects. A few bricks belonging to the original mission can be seen in Presidio Park in Old Town. Mass is said daily in this active Catholic parish. Other missions in San Diego County include Mission San Luis Rey de Francia in Oceanside, Mission San Antonio de Pala near Mount Palomar, and Mission Santa Ysabel near Julian. Known as "the King of Missions," the San Luis Rey is the largest of California's missions and one of its most beautiful. You can tour the church and grounds in about 45 minutes.