channel islands national park--more than a park
I have written several articles about working and commercial diving in the channel between Ventura and the channel islands. Today we are going to talk about what else there is to do on the islands and in the channel.
There are three harbors to use to get out into the channel, and those are located in Santa Barbara, Ventura, and Oxnard. The harbor in Oxnard is mostly used for the working fishing and diving boats. Almost all of the things that would be of interest to the tourist, would be located out of the Santa Barbara harbor and some out of Ventura.
Here is a list of the various posible things of interest that are available to see and to do.
- Whale watching boats leave daily on most days out of the s.b. harbor on a large boat called the Condor. The boat is complete with a galley for a more than reasonable cost.
- Kayac lessons and tours are also easily available.
- Surfing lessons.
- scuba diving, and snorkaling tours.
- camping sites are available on three islands, but are very rustic and not modern facilities so as to not disturb the wildness and wildlife on the islands.
- guided hikes
- tide pool talks and lectures
- seal and sea lion watches
- wild flower viewing
If you plan to camp on the islands, be sure that you are prepared. There is camping on every island , but there is absolutely no place to buy anything. This means that what you bring is what you have. All food, water, and whatever is needed for your comfortable camping experience must be brought with you. There are no live phones, or any other modern convenience, for the islands are kept as they were when they were inhabited by only the indians. All supplies, gear, and clothing must come with you, and leave with you. the pristeen and delicate wilderness values of these islands must be preserved for future generations. Camping is limited to four campsites per island, and four people per site. Pit type toilets are available.
Santa Barbara Harbor and the adjoining waterfront
whale watch boats start here, as well as lodging and restaurants.
Santa Cruz Island
lodging accomidations and eating
Because the Islands themselves are kept natural, commercial businesses of any kind are forbidden. If you intend to stay in a hotel or motel, these must be found on the mainland and are plentiful in santa barbara and ventura. Although Oxnard is also listed in most of the brochures as someplace to find lodging and food, I would discourage doing so for several reasons. First, Oxnard is not located as convieniently and it is easy to become lost for it is not close to freeway exits. It also has more of a crime problem and less of a tourist attractiveness than ventura or santa barbara.
Between Ventura and santa barbara, there are over 70 well known motels and lodges, both chain and privately owned. I would recommend making all reservations for anything you may want to do on the islands or lodging well in advance of your trip.
Santa Barbara Island
There are five islands in the national park, and each island is as individual as people are. It is amazing that as close as they are to one another, how very different they are from one another.
Just so that you can compare for yourselves here are a few pictures of each island for you to look at and compare and enjoy. They are have left as untouched as they were 200 years ago, and appear exactly as they did then. I have tried to show you a variety of not only the islands themselves, but hopefully a variety of things you might find through the whole experience.
Channel Islands National Park
Made up of five islands, this group of islands have not changed in over 150 yrs. There are many exciting and fun things to do on a family vacation.