Channel Islands National Park

Often described as the Galapagos of North America, Channel Islands National Park is filled with adventure and discovery, both on land and in the surrounding  marine waters. Consisting of five distinct islands, there are great places to hike, kayak, camp, look at wildlife and plants, snorkel/SCUBA dive, and unplug. Remote and primitive, it is worth camping or backpacking overnight to fully experience what the islands have to offer.

There are great hiking opportunities on every island. Kayaking around the islands, especially in sea caves, is world class, as are snorkeling and diving.

Abundant watchable wildlife includes: the Island Fox (a remarkable recovery story), California sea lions, harbor seals, northern elephant seals, tidepool life, seabirds (including the only nesting population of California brown pelicans on the West Coast of the US), island scrub jay, and vast seabird rookeries.



Pacific Ocean, Off-shore Santa Barbara and Ventura

Managed By

National Park Service

Distance from UCSB

30 miles (approximately)

Things To Do

Backpacking, Beach Activities, Birdwatching, Camping, Hiking, Historic/Cultural Interest, Other Recreational Activities (Kayaking, Snorkeling, Diving), Picnicking, Relaxing, Running, Swimming, Viewing, Walking, Watchable Wildlife

Fun Facts

The Chumash thrived on the Channel Islands for thousands of years, and some of the oldest human remains in North America have been discovered here, dating back 8,000 to over 13,000 years ago.

There are more than 60 plant and animal species on the Channel Islands that are found nowhere else.

Other Information

It is worth watching the official and beautifully done film of the Channel Islands. Scroll down to "Official Film of Channel Islands National Park" to find it.

There is an excellent Bird Checklist and Plant Checklist for the Channel Islands. Notable plants include the giant coreopsis (or sunflower tree), Island barberry, and the island rush-rose. 

The mainland visitor center in Ventura is accessible, as is the contact station in Santa Barbara; however, the islands have very limited accessibility. Click here for more information, which also contains links for virtual tours.

Nearby Public Lands Worth Visiting

Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. The first 1 nautical mile off the coast of the islands is part of the Channel Islands National Park. Waters and submerged lands beyond that (out to 6 nautical miles) are protected by the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. The Marine Sanctuary is filled with fish, marine mammals, and even shipwrecks.

Best Time To Visit

Spring, Summer, Fall

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