Channel Islands National Park is located off Ventura on the coast of California, not far from Santa Barbara, and includes five of the eight islands in the archipelago, as well as an extensive swath of undersea territory. The Channel Islands National Park is made up of Santa Rosa, San Miguel, Anacapa, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz Island. The territory preserved by the Channel Islands National Park is an important sanctuary for land and marine wildlife—the Channel Islands Marine Sanctuary extends six nautical miles off the coast of certain islands—as well as many species of plants. It is also a relatively remote place for tourists to visit and provides a great break from the hustle and bustle of the more developed Southern California coast.
Channel Islands California has sometimes been referred to as Southern California's Galápagos due to the great diversity of species found there. There are more than 2,000 species found in the park, with several of them endemic to the islands, meaning they are found nowhere else on earth. Among the rare species here is the largest mammal in the world, the blue whale, which can be seen in the waters of Channel Islands National Park in the summer, when the collision of warm and cold waters prompt the proliferation of plankton, the staple food of many whale species.
Other whales such as the humpback and the gray whale can also be seen in these waters, as well as dolphins, all of which make this the best national park in California for whale watching. Tourists can potentially see these whales by boat, and tours are available through several companies in Ventura harbor.
The largest island at Channel Islands California is Santa Cruz Island. It contains many unique species of land and marine life, including the Island Scrub Jay, which is found only on the island. Santa Cruz Island is also very popular among kayak enthusiasts, as it is home to the Painted Cave, the biggest and deepest sea cave in the world. Kayakers can explore the cave, which in the spring is curtained by a waterfall at the entrance, through kayak tours arranged with major tour companies such as the officially licensed Island Packers. Other attractions at Santa Cruz include a breathtaking coastline, with tidal pools that contain sea urchins, starfish, and many other coastal creatures. You can also go scuba diving, hiking, and swimming in the waters around Santa Cruz.
If you want to find a remote beach at Channel Islands California, look no further than Santa Rosa Island. Santa Rosa has beautiful white sand beaches and excellent hiking trails for those who want to explore nature at their leisure. There are also some picnic areas and a hundred-year-old cattle ranch, though the latter is no longer in operation.
You can gain access to the Channel Islands through chartered boat companies at Ventura harbor. Tourists should remember that the Channel Islands are not only a national park, but also an important center for biodiversity. Therefore, it’s important to stay only on the marked trails and to bring any garbage you create back out of the park when you leave.