Visitors to Southern California looking for a natural getaway should consider booking a trek to the Channel Islands National Park. Situated along the Santa Barbara Channel, this national park consists of the islands of San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, Anacapa, and Santa Barbara Island, which represent five of the eight California Channel Islands. This park comprises 249,353 acres, half of which are under the ocean, replete with 2,000 species of plants and animals with 145 of these species unique to these islands.
First time visitors might want to start their explorations with Anacapa Island, the closest island to the mainline situated just 12 miles from the Channel Islands Harbor in Oxnard. Upon departing the book, take their one-hour guided nature hike to get a good overview of this island. As the terrain is rocky wear light hiking shoes and sandals and leave the beach flip-flops at home. Bear in mind there are no facilities on the island for day hikers beyond simple toilets. While one can purchase a limited range of food and drinks on the boat, consider packing along a lunch if you wish to have a more varied picnic. The the islands have a strict leave no trace policy to be sure to take all garbage off the island. Also, visitors are welcome to take pictures but cannot take any of the varied flora found on the island home with them.
While most tourists frequent these islands during the summer, consider booking a trip in the winter and spring to see the wildflower displays and migrating gray whales. In autumn, the minimal winds and clear ocean water provides great opportunities for diving and kayaking.
Advance ferry recommendations are recommended. Contact Island Packers Cruises for ferry times and fares. Operating half-day, full-day and overnight trips to Anacapa and Santa Cruz islands year-round, they expand to the outer islands of San Miguel, Santa Rosa and Santa Barbara in the summer and fall.
Those who want to rent a kayak on Channel Island need to contact Channel Islands Kayak Center and book a kayak rental prior to boarding the ferry. For additional information about booking a trek to Ventura, contact the Ventura Visitors & Convention Bureau.