Frequently Asked Questions
I want to use the missions as backdrops in my family and wedding photographs. What do I need to know?
If you or a family member is taking pictures, there is nothing special you need to do. We simply ask that you not physically touch, lean on, or sit on the historical structures, and not block the access of other park visitors to any area.
If you are using a professional or commercial photographer, you or the photographer must apply for a permit at least 14 days in advance. There will be a fee involved. Click here for more information.
While the National Park Service generally does not issue permits for weddings on the grounds of the four missions, each church does allow weddings. Couples must contact the individual church in which they are interested.
Which mission has an active church?
Of course, much will depend on how interested you are, but we recommend that visitors allow at least 3-4 hours. Mission San José and the park's Visitor Center usually take about 1½ to 2 hours to see and do everything. Missions Concepción, San Juan, and Espada can be viewed in 30 minutes or less. Add more time in order to visit the Espada Dam and Aqueduct.
Does the park give tours of the four missions and the Alamo?
Park Rangers and Docents conduct free tours at the four missions within the park – the Alamo is not part of the national park. We do not give tours between the missions; visitors must make arrangements to travel to each mission.
Did You Know?
that Spanish missions were not churches? They were Indian towns, with the church as the focus, where, in the 1700s, the native people were learning to become Spanish citizens. In order to become a citizen, they had to be Catholic; that is why the King of Spain sent missionaries to acculturate them.