Map of Channel Islands National Park. Satellite map of Channel Islands National Park
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Channel Islands National Park
Off the southern coast, in the Santa Barbara Channel
In this park are live islands (Anacapa, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, and San Miguel) and 125,000 acres of submerged lands that provide habitat for marine life from microscopic plankton to Earth s largest creature—the blue whale. Like the Galapagos Islands, the Channel Islands have nurtured unique plant and animal species. It's an exceptional place for kayaking, bird-watching, and diving; you can also see the remains of Chumash villages and visit the largest known sea cave, known as the Painted Cave for its colorful lichen and algae. But you can also get a taste of the islands without even leaving the mainland by stopping by the visitor center in Ventura, which has exhibits, an observation tower, and a tide pool. The park was proclaimed a national monument April 26, 1938, and designated a Biosphere Reserve in 1976 and a national park on March 5, 1980.
WHAT TO SEE & DO
Bird-watching, boating (permit required, see below), camping, diving, fishing, hiking, kayaking, picnicking, snorkeling, swimming, whale-watching. Facilities: 3 visitor centers—Ventura (1901 Spinnaker Dr.), Anacapa, and Santa Barbara islands, beaches, hiking trails. Book and map sales (Ventura), picnic tables (Anacapa and Santa Barbara). Programs & Events: Ranger programs (Ventura, weekends 11 and 3) and guided walks (islands, daily) available. Underwater video program (Memorial Day-Labor Day, Tues. and Thurs. at 2). Tips & Hints: Be prepared for high winds; wear shoes with sturdy, nonslip soles. Bring binoculars for whale- or bird-watching. Visit Jan.-Mar. to see migrating gray whales, in spring to see wildflowers. Busiest July and Aug., least crowded Oct.-Dec.
FOOD, LODGING & SUPPLIES
Camping: 6 campgrounds in the park: Anacapa Island (7 sites; $10; pit toilets), Del Norte (Santa Cruz Island; 4 sites; $10; pit toilets), San Miguel Island (9 sites; $10; pit toilets), Santa Barbara Island (8 sites; $10; pit toilets), Santa Rosa Island (15 sites; $10; pit toilets), Scorpion Valley (Santa Cruz Island; 40 sites; $10; pit toilets). Hotels: None in park. In Ventura: Clocktower Inn (181 E. Santa Clara St., tel. 805/652-0141; 50 rooms; $89-$109). X Restaurants: None in park. In Ventura: Jonathon's at Peirano's (204 E. Main St., tel. 805/648-4853; $8-$16).
Groceries: None in park. In Ventura: Vons Market (2433 E. Harper Blvd., tel. 805/642-6761), Village Market at the Marina (1559 Spinnaker Dr., tel. 805/644-2970).
FEES, HOURS & REGULATIONS
Free. Boating permits required (free) and available from the Nature Conservancy (tel. 805/898-1642). No pets. No mountain bikes. Park open daily. Visitor centers open daily 8:30-5.
HOW TO GET THERE
The park is in the Santa Barbara Channel. Closest park island is 14 mi and farthest is 55 mi from Ventura harbor. Main visitor center is in Ventura harbor. Transportation available through boat and airplane concessionaires, information available from park. Private boats permitted. Closest airports: Los Angeles (70 mi), Oxnard (5 mi), Santa Barbara (30 mi).
Channel Islands National Park (1901 Spinnaker Dr., Ventura, CA 93001, tel. 805/658-5700, fax 805/658-5799). Ventura Visitors & Convention Bureau (89 S. California St., Suite C, Ventura, CA 93001, tel. 805/648-2075,).
Channel Islands National Park. How to get by car to the Channel Islands National Park. How to book a room and its price in the Channel Islands National Park