The Mission Espíritu Santo was established on the Texas coast in 1722 to convert native Karankawa Indians to Christianity. The Karankawa were not receptive to this new religion and the mission was moved two times before it settled along the San Antonio River near present day Goliad, Texas. The native Aranama in the area converted to Christianity and accepted a life of farming and ranching in return for food, shelter and protection from more aggressive tribes. The mission became the first large cattle ranch in Texas, with nearly 40,000 free roaming cattle. It was closed in 1830, slowly crumbling, until the 1930s when it was restored by the CCC under President Roosevelt’s New Deal programs.
The mission is part of Goliad State Park and includes the restored church, a small museum and a mission school building with exhibits on the crafts taught to the Aranama. The park also has two RV campgrounds and two tent only campgrounds.
To access the paved path to the mission enter through the front door of the ranger station and exit through the back door. The church is accessible. The museum is accessible but has a steep ramp between the rooms. A packed gravel path leads to the school building. Follow it around to the rear of the building to access the ramp. We did not stay at the campground.
The parking lots are large enough for RVs.