Escape to the Channel Islands

The Channel Islands are 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.

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 harbors in both Oxnard and Ventura. 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, the Channel Islands are a known playground for divers and offer 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!

Whale Watching

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 and for kayaking excursions of up to three hours through some of the world’s most beautiful sea caves. Be sure to catch the ferry from Ventura Harbor no later than 9 a.m. to partake in this memorable experience!

With so many great activities and places to explore on the Channel Islands, 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.

REMARKABLE EXPERIENCES

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Visit these regions of Ventura County Coast

Camarillo
Oxnard
Ventura
Port Hueneme
Channel Islands National Park

Regions

Ventura County Coast

Ventura County Coast is a string of four communities that radiate warmth from welcoming people and California sunshine. The region embodies the casual and active spirit of classic, where the seafood is fresh, the beer is handcrafted and the weather is the kind you dream about. Spend the day exploring miles of beaches, incredible harbors or lush green golf courses. Hop on a boat for a day trip to the Channel Islands National Park, where you can see breathtaking views of the Southern California coastline. With a bustling culture, high end and vintage shopping, a lively culinary spirit and beautiful outdoor experiences, Ventura County Coast calls on every visitor to find their vibe. From hiking and biking to sailing and snorkeling, from shopping and dining to just plain relaxing, Ventura County Coast will fill your days with a lifetime of memories.

Camarillo

Camarillo

An hour north of Los Angeles, Camarillo is nestled at the base of the Conejo foothills surrounded by verdant green fields and cool ocean breezes. With more than 300 days of sunshine a year, enjoy Camarillo alfresco. From outdoor shopping and concerts, to delicious dining and fun events, Camarillo has it all. With small town charm and a rich history, it is the place for romantic weddings and corporate venues. Visit the historical sites and museums during the day, and walk along Old Town for dinner and drinks at night. A great getaway for everyone, Camarillo is the ideal place to Come for the Sun, Stay for the Fun.

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Oxnard

Oxnard

Rally your tribe and head for the Central Coast. California cool, panorama-perfect, culturally authentic and vibrant beyond measure. Oxnard is home to miles of pristine white sand beaches, electric nightlife, some of the best taquerias in the state, historic Victorian era architecture, the California Strawberry Festival, and an expansively picturesque harbor that serves as the closest access point to the Channel Islands National Park. Just sixty miles northwest of LAX and in close proximity to Santa Barbara and other major destinations, Oxnard is one of California’s best kept secrets.

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Ventura

Ventura

A place that embodies a casual soul and unexpected allure, Ventura is a vibrant town that checks stress and pretense at the door.  Its artistic culture, enduring history and privileged locale is crazy-inviting, very much alive, and refreshingly human.

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Port Hueneme

Port Hueneme

Just sixty miles northwest of Los Angeles, in the heart of the Central Coast, you’ll find Port Hueneme, the friendly city by the sea. Port Hueneme is the place for travelers looking to dig their toes in the sand, take a long walk, drop a fishing line off the pier or just kick back and relax. With walking and biking trails winding throughout the city and a perfect climate almost year round, you can revive your soul in Hueneme.

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Channel Islands National Park

Channel Islands National Park

Channel Islands National Park is an American national park that consists of five of the eight Channel Islands off the coast of the U.S. state of California, in the Pacific Ocean.

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