“Isolated for over thousands of years”
Channel Islands National Park encompasses five remarkable islands and their ocean environment, preserving and protecting a wealth of natural and cultural resources. Isolation over thousands of years has created unique animals, plants, and archeological resources found nowhere else on Earth and helped preserve a place where visitors can experience coastal southern California as it once was. The park staff and I wish to welcome you to Channel Islands National Park, one of North America's magnificent treasures. Close to the California mainland, yet worlds apart, the park encompasses five of the eight California Channel Islands (Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, San Miguel, and Santa Barbara) and their ocean environment, preserving and protecting a wealth of natural and cultural resources. The park bridges two biogeographical provinces and in a remarkably small place, harbors the biologic diversity of nearly 2,500 miles of the North American coast. The Channel Islands are home to over 2,000 plant and animal species, of which 145 are found nowhere else in the world. Like the Galapagos Islands of South America, isolation has allowed evolution to proceed independently on the islands. Marine life ranges from microscopic plankton to the blue whale, the largest animal to live on Earth. Archeological and cultural resources span a period of more than 13,000 years of human habitation.
You should know: The islands can only be accessed by boat or plane.
The Channel Islands were a highlight of our trip to SoCal! We took a boat the company Island Packers for about $60/person round trip to the largest Island Santa Cruz. They don't run boats everyday, so check the schedule well a head of time! The hiking was phenomenal - trails ranging from a half mile to 10 miles. The longer the hike, obviously, the fewer the people. We did a 6-mile round trip hike and we had the trail to ourselves about 75% of the time! The visitors center both on and off the islands were extremely well done and interesting. Sweeping views of coast line and crystal blue waters. There is camping on the island and we want to go back to SoCal just to camp there! You can also rent Kayaks on the island. A must stop when in SoCal!
Ive been to 7 National Parks so far. Channel Islands is in the top 3. Probably a tie for #1. Anacapa Island is small and can take an hr to complete the walking loop. Santa Cruz is the biggest Island, so much to explore! Still beautiful. Now, Santa Rosa, by far the most beautiful beaches I have experienced so far! In Southern California. Boat ride is 3hrs long, but so worth it! You will get to see lots of sea wildlife there is no need to do a wildlife cruise, just go to Santa Rosa. Check Island Packers for boat date rides, time, and cost.
This small destination is perfect for kids. It has lots of touch displays and is small enough to be a quick stop. Stunning views from the top observatory ( bring a jacket it gets windy up top). It’s also right across the parking lot from a safe kids beach and next door to harbor cafe.
Beautiful! It was wonderful being away from everything but nature for a day. We even rode alongside dolphins on the boat ride there!
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Channel Islands National Park
- Sun - Sat: 8:30 am - 5:00 pm
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Good for bird watching, boating, and 8 more activities.
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- National park