Channel Islands National Park

By Staff ,

A couple hiking in Channel Islands National Park. 

Photo courtesy of Ventura County Lodging Association

Take a day to explore the “American Galapagos,” otherwise known as Channel Islands National Park.

Home to eight unique mammal species found only on the islands, including the island fox and deer mouse, you’ll find solitude and beauty on Channel Islands National Park. It takes about an hour to reach the closest island, Anacapa, from the Channel Islands Harbor in Oxnard. It’s the second largest of the eight Channel Islands.

The boat ride to Santa Cruz Island via the Ventura Harbor can range from 2 hours to 2 hours and 45 minutes, depending on stops and wildlife sightings. In summer, you can spot blue and humpback whales from the ferry. The island is home to one of the world’s largest sea caves, Painted Cave. If the weather is good, the boat makes a stop here.

Journey into one of the largest sea caves in the world on Santa Cruz Island. 

Photo by Doug Mangum courtesy of Island Packers

“I would encourage everyone to go,” says Rebekah Evans, executive director of Ventura County Lodging Association, who learned to scuba dive off the islands. “You can go for the day or take a dinner cruise around the island and see whales. What I love is our captains are so aware of our animals. They’ll even spot whales with babies.”

No one lives on the islands today, but the Island Chumash people inhabited them for thousands of years, making tomols, a type of plank canoe, to navigate between islands. Human remains dating back more than 13,000 years were discovered on Santa Rosa island in 1959, making them some of North America’s oldest ever found.

For more information:

Ventura County Coast

Discover Oxnard

Central Coast Tourism

Tours and Transportation to Channel Islands

Island Packers
(805) 642-1393