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Outdoor Lovers of all ages welcome!
Channel Island National Park is an outdoor adventurer’s dream. The five islands — Santa Cruz, San Miguel, Anacapa, Santa Barbara and Santa Rosa — provide a peaceful escape from Southern California’s metropolitan areas, with miles of breathtaking coastal views, beautiful beaches, excellent hiking trails and more.
Explore The Treasures of Channel Islands National Park
The adventure begins with a scenic boat ride to the islands from Ventura County Coast, during which you might receive a warm greeting from whales or dolphins. Both 60- and 90-minute boat rides are available to the islands from Channel Islands and Ventura Harbors. Schedules vary depending on the season.
Once you arrive, try one of these exciting Channel Islands outdoor activities for an unforgettable adventure!
Take a dive!
With their giant kelp forests and marine life, Channel Islands National Park is a known playground for divers and offers a unique and memorable scuba diving experience. Channel Islands Adventure Company does a guided snorkeling tour along the gorgeous shoreline of Scorpion Anchorage on Santa Cruz Island. It’s the perfect opportunity to see the beauty of the sea caves and sea life. Gear rental is included in the price of the snorkeling tours, which are open to all levels.
Photo Credit: National Park Service
Hiking with a view
Hiking is one of the best ways to experience the Channel Islands National Park. From easy hikes for beginners to advanced hikes for those who are more experienced, there is something for everyone. A popular hike is Smugglers Cove on Santa Cruz Island, which offers gorgeous views of the ocean, valleys, and mountains, and you’ll see the lush island plants and wildlife.
Over on Anacapa Island, guests can experience easier hiking trails with spectacular views. Anacapa is just an hour away from Ventura Harbor Village by boat, and the easy trails make it a great place for families. Camping is available as well!
Channel Islands National Park is a premier destination for whale watching. Whales and dolphins put on quite the show for guests who board the tours that sail between Ventura County Coast and the Channel Islands. Island Packers offers tours that give guests a chance to see gray whales as they make their annual migration from late December through mid-April. In the summer months, humpback whales and occasionally giant blue whales can be seen on the tours.
Explore by Kayak
Kayaking is another great way to explore the spectacular sea caves at Scorpion Anchorage on Santa Cruz Island. Santa Barbara Adventure Company’s Adventure Sea Cave Kayak Tour meets twice a day on the island for kayaking excursions of up to three hours. Be sure to catch the ferry from Ventura Harbor no later than 9 a.m. to partake in this memorable experience!
With so many places to explore at Channel Islands National Park, you’ll certainly want to stay a while. Year-round camping is available on each of the islands, or you can catch an afternoon or evening boat ride back to the mainland and find great accommodations in Oxnard, Ventura, Port Hueneme or Camarillo.
Day trips to the islands are great, but nothing compares to camping overnight to explore the vast riches of this archipelago. There’s campsites on each of the Islands at great locations. You can reserve your campsite online. You can also check out the Channel Islands National Park Visitors Centers in Ventura or Oxnard for more information about the park. You’ll need to secure your transportation 1st before making camping reservations so be sure to check out the Ferry Service information below.
Channel Islands Ferry
Both Ventura and Oxnard have a Channel Islands Ferry service through Island Packers. They offer daily trips to the islands with multiple excursions such as guided kayak tours, sea cave tours, and self guided hiking tours. You can also book a drop off and pickup ferry service to Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa and San Miguel Islands if you want to camp overnight.
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