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Channel Islands

The Channel Islands National Park is made up of five of the eight Channel Islands National Park; San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Anacapa, Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz is the largest of the islands, measuring 60,645 acres and Santa Barbara is the smallest of the islands, measuring 639 acres. The park headquarters and the visitor centre are located in California’s main land city of Ventura, also referred to as San Buenaventura, in Ventura County.

The smallest and the most southern island, Santa Barbara is found about 50 miles off southern California, near to L.A.  The island is uninhabited by human life, though it is home to a big sea lion rookery and also many types of seabird. One of the type of seabird found on Santa Barbara, the Xantus's Murrelet is considered a threatened species but has a large breeding colony on the island. The second smallest island in the park, Anacapa, is a volcanic island, unlike Santa Barbara, and is found about 14 miles off the coast of Ventura. In fact, Anacapa is made up of three islets; West Island, Middle Island and East Island.

San Miguel Island is the most westerly of the Channel Islands, and the third largest measuring 52,794 acres. The island has 28 miles of coastline but around it there is a lot of submerged rock, which makes navigating large boats to its shores very difficult. No more than thirty visitors are allowed on the island at one time, which is an easily achieved restriction, with no more than two hundred visitors coming to the island in any average year. Visiting the island is a fun experience, as since there is no peer, visitors must arrive in small boat, though rough seas can often cause cancellation.

The second largest island is Santa Rosa Island and is found approximately 26 miles off the coast of Santa Barbara. The geography of the island is really very beautiful, with its stunning coast, pretty hills, canyons and lagoons. Many reasons entice visitors to the Santa Rosa Island, a trip to which can be organized with a private boat company, one of the most interesting being the possibility of watching Orcas in the surrounding waters. The largest island in the group is Santa Cruz Island which is the largest privately owned island off the coast of the U.S.A. It measures 61,764 acres and is adorned with fantastic coves, caves and beaches.

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