How to Explore the Channel Islands

Zack Garhart
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Have you ever dreamed about island hopping? While you’re in Cali, go check out the Channel Islands. With ferry services to the Channel Islands, you have plenty of options to explore some of nature’s most magnificent wonders!

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Ways to Explore the Channel Islands:

The cheapest charter boats out to the Channel Islands depart from Ventura, California. Ventura is roughly 30 miles south of Santa Barbara. The ride from Los Angeles is longer, but Ventura is still only approximately 70 miles north of LA.

Accessible by both car and train, Ventura is easy to get to. Amtrak offers services on their Pacific Surfliner, with one-way tickets from Santa Barbara to Ventura running for less than $20. The train ride is less than an hour, so it’s one of the quicker ways to access Ventura. Check the Amtrak website for updated times and prices!

From Ventura, one of the boat services is operated by a company called Island Packers. They offer one of the more affordable ways to see the Channel Islands. Also, Santa Barbara Adventure Company offers a variety of packages, but the prices for their packages are higher.

Once you’re in Ventura, getting to and from the Channel Islands will cost you north of $65; one-way tickets are $33 each.

Important to note: the ferry requires a return ticket, so you cannot purchase a one-way ticket to the island without having a ticket back. But, once you’re on the island, there are options to spend the night camping. 

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About the Channel Islands

The Channel Islands are a string of five islands off the coast of Southern California. A sanctuary, these secluded islands are cherished for their vast ecosystems and incredible topography. People come here to get away from the hustle and bustle of the cities and tap into nature. Think of it as a way to detach for the day.

Once you’re on the islands, you’ll find one-of-a-kind sea caves, incredible marine life, and interesting wildlife. There are plenty of activities to choose from once you’re on the islands.

If you’re an adventurer, consider booking a kayak tour! Or, if you’re into diving, check out the options for scuba diving and snorkeling on the islands! For a free adventure, try hiking some of the many trails on islands like East Anacapa. 

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Stay the Night

The islands also offer opportunities to camp. You can find these on the east islet of Anacapa, at Scorpion Canyon on Santa Cruz, above the Landing Cove on Santa Barbara, at Water Canyon on Santa Rosa, and above Cuyler Harbor on San Miguel. Camping on the islands requires a reservation. Sites are roughly $15 per night.

As with camping anywhere, come prepared! Pack the appropriate supplies before you get on the island, and settle in for a magical night under the stars.

Want an inside look at the Channel Islands? Watch this video!

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