A Guide to the Channel Islands

Channel Islands National Park


The Channel Islands National Park is comprised of five islands, home to 2,000 land and sea plants and animals, many of them found nowhere else in the world. It’s a hiker and photographer’s paradise. Harbor seals, elephant seals and California sea lions rest on the Islands’ shores. Kelp forests make for vivid snorkeling. Coves and cliffs are perfect for diving. Kayaking and swimming is also available in some areas.

But preservation efforts keep visitation highly restricted. There is no commerce on the islands of any kind; visitors must bring food and water and take their tash with them when they leave. As a result, these beautiful and pristine islands make for a special excursion.

Options for visiting include:
* Half or full-day non-landing boat tour.
* Whale-watching tour (December through April).
* Guided day trip to one or more of the islands.
* Guided camping trip by permit.

The Five Islands

Anacapa: Sea cliffs and caves give this island a craggy, mysterious charm. A kelp forest makes for vivid snorkeling.

Santa Cruz: This island rich in Native American heritage is lush with vegetation and is perfect for hiking and camping.

Santa Rosa: This windy island has swimming beaches and rugged canyons. Weather conditions determine available activities.

San Miguel: Ranger-led hikes take you to see native vegetation and forests.

Santa Barbara: Scenic trails and wildflowers make this, the smallest of the islands, one of the easiest islands to explore.

Vehicle Permissions

Visit via permitted private boat or through these approved concessionaires.

By boat:
Island Packers
1691 Spinnaker Drive
Ventura, CA 93001

By plane:
Channel Islands Aviation
305 Durley Avenue
Camarillo, CA 93101

Diving, hiking and kayaking adventures:
Truth Aquatics
301 West Cabrillo Boulevard
Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Born and raised in L.A., Andrea Renskoff’s knowledge spans trendy hubs to the diamonds in the rough to escapes from the ordinary. She currently writes about food, travel, families, health, wellness and lifestyle.
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