Channel Islands

"The Galapagos Of North America," the eight islands that make up The Channel Islands are an amazing destination you can see from the California mainland, however many people never set foot on the islands to experience how magical they truly are. San Clemente and San Nicolas Islands are controlled by the military and access is not allowed, five of the islands make up Channel Islands National Park (Santa Barbara, Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, and San Miguel), Catalina Island is the only island accessible to the public that is not part of the national park. These islands have many endemic plants and animals which can be found nowhere else on the planet. There are several ways to get to and from the islands, Catalina Island is the most accessible with ferry services from Long Beach, Newport Beach, and Dana Point, it's also accessible by air via plane or helicopter charter with IEX Helicopters. Catalina is the only Channel Island with a town, Avalon. The other islands are much more isolated which is a great thing if you're looking to explore without many people around. Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa Islands are easily accessible from Ventura and Santa Barbara aboard a ferry with Island Packers who offers trips to all five of the Channel Islands National Parks. You can take a single day trip there and back or camp out overnight.

Did you know the oldest known human remains in North America were discovered on Channel Islands? The Islands have lots of history dating back to the original inhabitants of what is now California. In more recent history, some of the islands had ranches with livestock grazing them before they were inducted into the national park system.

Catalina Island

PLEASE NOTE

This section is still a work in progress, more info/photos coming soon!!

Anacapa Island

Size rank: #2 (699 acres)

Highest Point: 930 ft.

Population: 3 (Park rangers)

Access: Public

Conservation: National Park

Length: 5 miles

Closest land: 9 miles (Port Hueneme)

County: Ventura

Transportation: Island Packers (Oxnard & Ventura)

The closest island to shore of all the Channel Islands, Anacapa is located just 9 miles from the mainland. Anacapa is the only island in the chain without a Spanish name, instead the name derives from the native Chumash People. Composed of 3 sections (West, Middle, and East) which are not accessible from each other, East Anacapa is the only one with a landing and a trail system. Anacapa Island is home to the largest breeding colony of brown pelicans and is home to several other seabird breeding colonies as well.

Anacapa Island
Anacapa Island
Anacapa Island
Anacapa Island
Anacapa Island
Anacapa Island
Anacapa Island
Anacapa Island

San Clemente Island

Size rank: #5 (36,358 acres)

Highest Point: 1,965 ft.

Population: 148 (approx.)

Access: U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force

Conservation:

Length: 21 miles

Closest land: 41 miles (Palos Verdes)

County: Los Angeles

Transportation: None

The southernmost island in the Channel Islands chain, San Clemente Island has been owned by the U.S. Navy since 1934 and has a runway is long enough to accommodate any size plane/jet in the military. Although the area surrounding the island is popular for diving with its clear water and kelp forests, the public cannot set foot on the island. During World War II, this island played a crucial role for amphibious vehicle landing training. The island has many types of testing by the military and is home to a mock Afghan city training facility for the Navy SEAL's. It's common to see military training in the area surrounding the island including battleships, aircraft carriers, hovercraft, helicopters, and other vehicles from several different countries.

San Clemente Island
San Clemente Island
San Clemente Island
San Clemente Island
San Clemente Island
San Clemente Island
San Clemente Island
San Clemente Island

San Miguel Island

Size rank: #3 (9,325 acres)

Highest Point: 831 ft.

Population: 1 (Park Ranger)

Access: Public

Conservation: National Park

Length: 8 miles

Closest land: 26 miles (Point Conception)

County: Santa Barbara

Transportation: Island Packers (Ventura)

Holding one of the largest concentrations of wildlife in the world, there are 5 pinniped species that can be found here along with 1/3 of all the breeding bird colonies of Channel Islands There is no pier or landing to get onto this island so the only way is anchor and take a skiff ashore.

San Miguel Island
San Miguel Island
San Miguel Island
San Miguel Island
San Miguel Island
San Miguel Island
San Miguel Island
San Miguel Island
San Miguel Island
San Miguel Island
San Miguel Island
San Miguel Island
San Miguel Island
San Miguel Island
San Miguel Island
San Miguel Island

San Nicolas Island

Size rank: #4 (14,562 acres)

Highest Point: 905 ft.

Population: 200 (approx.), no permanent inhabitants

Access: U.S. Navy

Conservation: Military and volunteers

Length: 9.2 miles

Closest land: 61 miles (Ventura)

County: Ventura

Transportation: No public access

San Nicolas Island
San Nicolas Island
San Nicolas Island
San Nicolas Island
San Nicolas Island
San Nicolas Island
San Nicolas Island
San Nicolas Island

Santa Barbara Island

Size rank: #1 (640 acres)

Highest Point: 634 ft.

Population: 2 (Park rangers)

Access: Public

Conservation: National Park

Length: 1.7 miles

Closest land: 38 miles (Malibu)

County: Santa Barbara

Transportation: Island Packers (Ventura)

Santa Barbara Island
Santa Barbara Island

Santa Catalina Island

Size rank: #6 (47,987 acres)

Highest Point: 2,097 ft.

Population: 4,100 (approx.)

Access: Public

Conservation: Catalina Conservancy

Length: 22 miles

Closest land: 22 miles (Palos Verdes)

County: Los Angeles

Transportation: Catalina Flyer (Newport Beach), Catalina Express (Dana Point & Long Beach), IEX Helicopters (John Wayne and Long Beach Airports), Pacific Offshore Expeditions (Newport Beach)

The most easily accessible of all the islands, Catalina is a great place to visit with a lot of activities! Snorkeling, scuba diving, zip lining, bison viewing, wine tasting, hiking. You can spend the day hanging out in the town of Avalon or visit Two Harbors which is much more quiet but still has facilities like restrooms, picnic tables, a cafe, bar, and market.

Catalina Island
Catalina Island
Catalina Island
Catalina Island
Catalina Island
Catalina Island
Catalina Island
Catalina Island
Catalina Island
Catalina Island
Catalina Island

Santa Cruz Island

Size rank: #8 (61,764 acres)

Highest Point: 2,429 ft.

Population: 2 (Park rangers)

Access: Public

Conservation: National Park, Nature Conservancy

Length: 22 miles

Closest land: 20 miles (Port Hueneme)

County: Santa Barbara

Transportation: Island Packers (Ventura)

Santa Cruz Island
Santa Cruz Island
Santa Cruz Island
Santa Cruz Island
Santa Cruz Island
Santa Cruz Island
Santa Cruz Island
Santa Cruz Island
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island 32.jpg
island 33.jpg
island 34.jpg

Santa Rosa Island

Size rank: #7 (53,195 acres)

Highest Point: 1,589 ft.

Population: 2 (Park rangers)

Access: Public

Conservation: National Park

Length: 15 miles

Closest land: 30 miles (Santa Barbara)

County: Santa Barbara

Transportation: Island Packers (Ventura)

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island 32.jpg