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HotelTonight – Great Hotels in San Juan Capistrano

When you think Orange County, its rich history doesn't usually come to mind. The small town of San Juan Capistrano is nestled in between the brand-new strip malls and beige stucco that make up most of the OC. Home to one of California's famed missions and a small historical village, it nods to how California used to be, before the plastic surgery and all of the surfers. So when I saw it was a stop on my train headed up north, I knew I had to take a day to explore. With an unexpected hop-off like this, the first order of business was finding a place to stay. I logged into HotelTonight and scored a great deal on a San Juan Capistrano hotel in minutes.

I dropped off my bags and set out to explore the small city. Situated right just a few miles from the beach, the ocean air and soft squawks of seagulls made me as if I was a thousand miles away from my inland home. The sun's warm rays welcomed me as a strolled down San Juan Capistrano's sleepy streets.

The Mission

To really soak up Southern California's history, I headed to Mission San Juan Capistrano with a book in hand. Instead of touring the mission and seeing the great artifacts and art it's home to, I opted to relax in the beautifully maintained gardens and read. Birds chirped and bees buzzed around me as I devoured chapter after chapter in my novel. The historic chimes and calm breeze really added to the historic yet relaxing atmosphere. Hanging out in the garden was not only was it a peaceful way to see the historic building, it kept me away from the fourth graders on field trips inside.

Los Rios Historic District

From Mission San Juan Capistrano, I decided to wander farther down the street to the Los Rios Historic District. Packed with cute boutiques and restaurants, you would never know it's actually the oldest neighborhood in California. Along the way, I spotted a few original adobe houses and marveled at the kind of history not usually found smack dab in the middle of Southern California. In this small Spanish town, brown hand painted signs offered old-school directions for where to find everything from the petting zoo to souvenir shops. After window shopping a little, I found a cute cafe complete with an outdoor patio perfect for a tranquil al fresco lunch. I took my time sipping on my iced tea before heading out to explore the rest of the shops and sites nearby.

Farmers Market

Lucky for me, my spontaneous Wednesday trip meant the San Juan Capistrano Farmer's Market would be up and running. Situated right in the middle of the small downtown, it was impossible to miss. I wandered the bustling stalls of organic fruits and sampled freshly baked bread. After sampling enough fresh food to fill my stomach two times over, I grabbed a juicy peach to go and headed the picturesque beach just outside San Juan Capistrano.

One Thousand Steps Beach

Following the advice of a local I met at the farmer's market, I headed to the 1000 steps beach. It was hard to find, but worth the extra effort. Unlike the other beaches in OC that attract tourists in troves, this off-the-beaten-path beach had more of a locals-only vibe. But be warned, the name is no exaggeration. After descending down what felt like 10 miles of steps, I kicked off my sandals and realized I had arrived at a secluded sea paradise, complete with tide pools, a cave and views of some of the most lavish houses in Orange County. I threw down a towel, whipped out my book and enjoyed the last few hours of sunshine the day had to offer.

Great Dining

After a day relaxing in the small city of San Juan Capistrano, I opted to enjoy a classy dinner top it off. After a quick stop at the hotel to freshen up after my day at the beach, I headed to an upscale American restaurant by the train tracks. The adorable patio complete with twinkly lights really added to the Southern Californian Ambiance. After consuming one of the best burgers of my lives, I headed back to my hotel and sunk into the plush pillows on my King-size bed.

HotelTonight –San Juan Capistrano Hotels Made Easy

Hopping off the train for a little adventure in San Juan Capistrano turned out to be a real treat. The historic buildings and slowed-down lifestyle made it feel as if I was miles away from the hustle and bustle of Southern California, rather than smack dab in the middle of it. If you have the chance to stopover in this small historic town I highly recommend it. And if you need to find a great deal on a last-minute hotel in San Juan Capistrano, look no further than HotelTonight.