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Channel Islands National Park

Channel Islands National Park - BEST Places to Picnic

1901 Spinnaker Drive
Ventura, CA 93001

Visitor Information
(805) 658-5730

WELCOME to the Channel Islands!

Close to the California mainland, yet worlds apart, Channel Islands National Park encompasses five remarkable islands (Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, San Miguel, and Santa Barbara) and their ocean environment, preserving and protecting a wealth of natural and cultural resources. 

Isolation over thousands of years has created unique animals, plants, and archeological resources found nowhere else on Earth and helped preserve a place where visitors can experience coastal southern California as it once was.

Island Restoration

In order to save a variety of species, including the island fox, from the brink of extinction as well as protect internationally significant archeological sites, the National Park Service (NPS) has embarked upon restoration programs to restore park islands. 

These restoration programs are part of the NPS mission, as mandated by Congress, to preserve unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the national park system for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations

The Channel Islands support the two primary breeding colonies of California Brown Pelicans on the west coast of the United States with rookeries on Anacapa and Santa Barbara Islands.

Channel Islands National Park provides a delightful break from the congestion and clamor of urban life. The islands are ideal for quiet, uninterrupted time with family and friends�wonderful places to hike, camp, snorkel, kayak, birdwatch, take photographs, sketch, or just relax to the soothing sounds of the natural world.

Surfacing over the horizon from the depths of the Pacific Ocean, the coastal mountains of California's Channel Islands offer an extraordinary gateway to the past, spanning more than 12,000 years of human history.

The Channel Islands have attracted many explorers, scientists and historians during the past few centuries. Today, island visitors can explore the world of the native Chumash, walk the shores where European explorers landed, discover new tales from California�s ranching history, and witness the remains of off-shore shipwrecks.

The northern Channel Islands were home to many native Chumash communities who are believed to have inhabited the islands for thousands of years. When Europeans first reached the islands in the 16th century, they discovered a rich culture dependent upon the resources of the land and the sea for sustenance and survival. 

By the nineteenth century, the islands were fulfilling different purposes: vast sheep and cattle ranches occupied Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, and San Miguel islands and the channel waters were aggressively harvested for fish and marine mammals. The remains of ancient Chumash villages are intermingled with historic ranch complexes and later military structures, testifying to the diverse heritage of human experience on these offshore islands.

Each of the five Channel Islands has a unique history. Channel Islands National Park invites you to learn more about the people, places, and stories associated with each of these islands and to experience the fascinating heritage of coastal southern California!

There are no services on the islands. Visitors must bring all their own food and water (potable water is available in the Scorpion Ranch campground on Santa Cruz Island and the Water Canyon campground on Santa Rosa Island).

A limited amount of food and drink is available on the concessionaire boats.

Did You Know?
The Channel Islands are home to the oldest dated human remains in North America - Arlington Springs Woman (13,000 BP).

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