Visit the Channel Islands

Channel Islands National Park & National Marine Sanctuary

Just 11 miles from the Channel Islands Harbor, yet worlds apart, Channel Islands National Park encompasses five remarkable islands (Anacapa, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, San Miguel and Santa Rosa) 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 archaeological resources found nowhere else on Earth and helped preserve a place where visitors can experience coastal southern California as it once was.

The park, often referred to as the Galapagos of North America, is surrounded by the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, a destination to project species, sensitive habitats, shipwrecks and maritime heritage artifacts.

Between the National Park and the Sanctuary, this stretch of the Pacific off the Ventura County coast offers plenty of adventures for the outdoor enthusiast – camping, hiking, kayaking, sailing, snorkeling, diving, sportfishing, whale watching, and more. If you are seeking to discover this uncrowded natural paradise, look no further than starting your adventure at the Channel Islands Harbor.

Get to the Channel Islands National Park and Explore

Island Packers Cruises is the official concessionaire to the Channel Islands National Park and offers trips to each island, depending on the season. Once you reach the islands, take a scenic hike, with pristine views and opportunities to see native plants, wildlife, birds, and natural features and ecosystems. There’s also ample opportunities to learn about the National Park by participating in interpretive programs. If you can’t see it all and one day, and chances are you can’t, there’s plenty of camping opportunities.

Paddlers move their kayaks through a keyhole rock in the Channel Islands

Kayak the Channel Islands

Enjoy a kayaking adventure at Anacapa Island with Channel Islands Expeditions aboard the Sunfish, a custom built supported kayak vessel. With the Sunfish, your tour starts at one end of the island then you are picked up at the other end. You will not have to fight the wind, current or repeat the same sights on the way back.

View of the Pacific from the deck of a sailboat

Sail the Channel Islands

Sail Channel Islands offers luxury or economy charters for up to six people. Your best bet to see the Channel Islands in all its glory via sail boat is to charter a full day trip. The full day trip includes the opportunity to kayak, snorkel, and you can even try your hand at navigating the boat!

A humpback whale leaps breaches the water, a whale-watching vessel in the background

Whale Watching

If you’re going whale watching, you don’t have to look any further than the Channel Islands Harbor. Whale watching excursions out of the Harbor will bring you closer to the whales and the beautiful Channel Islands National Park.

Islands Packers Whale Watching tours depart for a 3 to 3 ½ hour cruise along the Santa Barbara Channel. If you increase your trip from a half day to a full day, you can enjoy a landing on the Channel Islands at Anacapa Island or Santa Cruz Island.

Channel Islands Whale Watching offers breathtaking excursions through the waters surrounding Channel Islands National Park and the National Marine Sanctuary. Hop aboard Ranger 85 with Captain Frank, who began his career at sea in 1976 and has been offering eco tours since 1990. Captain Frank offers AM and PM cruises.

Channel Islands Expeditions also offers whale watching excursions for a group of guests (up to 16).

Hooks Sportfishing vessel 'New Hustler' moves through the harbor


Fishing in and around the Channel Islands is second to none. Fortunately, there are two well established sportfishing companies in the Harbor that can meet any angler’s needs. Depending on the season, expect to catch calico bass, white sea bass, halibut, sand bass, barracuda, yellowtail, rockfish, and lingcod while enjoying breathtaking views of the Channel Islands.

Channel Islands Sportfishing offers a variety of trips available including local half-day trips, ¾ day island trips and overnight outer island trips.

Hook’s Landing’s sportfishing fleet will take you around the outer Channel Islands to Santa Barbara, Santa Rosa, San Miguel and Santa Cruz Islands or to local reefs with bass, rockfish, and halibut abound. They offer a variety of trips to meet your needs, including half-day trips, ¾ day trips, and overnight trips.