White-capped seas lick the sandy shores and foam over rocky promontories in Channel Islands National Park, a place seemingly a world apart from the California mainland but really only an easy boat ride distant. The five islands of which this national park is comprised are home to an astonishing variety of plant and animal life, assorted archaeological sites, and boast a dramatic coastal setting. The park consists of some quarter of a million acres, half of which are under the ocean, encompassing a wide variety of terrain from beaches and sea caves to forests and mountains. Over 2,000 species of plants and animals can be found within the park, more than a hundred of which are found nowhere else in the world.
Even though the islands seem tantalizingly close to the densely populated southern California coast, their isolation has left them relatively undeveloped, making them an exciting place for visitors to explore. After traveling by boat to one of the five islands, visitors can enjoy hiking, sea bird watching, seal and whale spotting and sandy beach-side strolls. In the shallow waters around the islands, snorkeling and scuba diving provide firsthand glimpses of colorful tidal plants and marine creatures. Sea kayaking and camping are other popular activities, as are guided tours of interesting park areas.
Channel Islands National Park is located off the coast of southwest California, with the mainland Visitor Center located in Ventura.