Channel Islands National Park

California, United States of America

Partially Family Friendly

About Channel Islands National Park

Established in 1980, five of the eight Channel Islands in Southern California make up this national park: San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Anacapa, Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz. The park is 1,010 km2 (389.9 sq mi), only half of which are land, the other half Pacific Ocean, and it’s accessible to visitors only by boat. Preserved for their unique natural and cultural resources the islands contain, among other features, 145 species of plants and animals that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.


The climate is classed as Mediterranean, typically warm all year-round but conditions are unpredictable due to its location by the ocean and the islands can experience high winds, rough seas and fog at any time.


The area is an important nesting and breeding ground for birds, including the Brown Pelican. This species was reduced to dangerously low numbers in the 1970s, but due to research, careful preservation and management, the Channel Islands now supports a healthier population as well as sustaining the only breeding colonies in the western United States.

There are few mammals living on the islands due to their isolated and remote location. However, the waters surrounding them support 27 species of whales, porpoises and dolphins, and one of the highlights of visits here can be boat trips, run by one of the park’s concessionaires, to watch them during the year. Four types of seal or sea lion – northern fur seals, northern elephant seals, harbour seals and Californian sea lions also gather together here to breed and raise their young, and there are several designated locations for viewing them.


The islands are known for great fishing and surfing conditions, and kayaking through the sea caves is a popular and rewarding pastime, but needs care due to the frequently changing weather conditions. Hiking is permitted on all islands, and established trails, some marked, exist. However some areas are protected and some can only be visited accompanied by a park ranger, so watch out for signs.

Wild Camping
Scuba Diving
Free Diving
Wildlife Watching
Guided Tours
California, United States of America
Latitude: 33.977531, Longitude: -119.910278