November 24 2014
Written By
Paul Jaworski
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The Great 59 - Part 11: Channel Islands National Park

The Great 59 is a series on America’s National Park Service.

Channel Islands National Park

State: California

Created: May 5, 1980

Size: 249,561 Acres

The Channel Islands are a group of five islands located off the coast of Southern California that are only accessible by plane or boat. These beautiful remote islands contain some plant and wildlife that are found nowhere else on earth. You may also remember that we listed paddling Santa Cruz Island as one of our 9 Best Adventures in California.

There are plenty of activities to participate in as you traverse the Channel Islands. If you are looking for a diving, snorkeling, or kayaking adventure this is one of the best National Parks to go to. The most astounding fact about this park is that it contains more endangered animals than any other National Park in America.

What To Do:

Kayaking - As we’ve mentioned in previous articles the Channel Islands are one of the best places to go kayaking on the west coast.

Backcountry Camping - An incredible experience, it is not for the inexperienced backpacker or kayaker. Due to difficult weather, rugged terrain, and off-trail hiking, backcountry camping is an arduous endeavor and should be undertaken only by experienced, well-conditioned backpackers and kayakers. - NPS

Whale Watching - This is actually one of the best places in the entire world to go whale watching. The best time to go is between Mid-December through March. The wildlife watching doesn’t stop at whales though; you can also see dolphins, sea lions, porpoises, and a bunch of other amazing animals.

Places Of Interest:

Santa Cruz Island - This is the largest of the islands and resembles a miniature California. The island is 96 square miles in size and contains two mountain ranges, deep valleys, a rugged coastline, and deep sea caves.

Santa Rosa Island - Located 40 nautical miles away from the visitor center, this is the second largest island in the group. The oldest human remains found in North America were found here, dating back to 13,000 BC.

The Sea Caves - You can take guided tours of the Sea Caves that are flat out awesome. You get to see the beauty of the caves, but you also get the challenge of kayaking through them and avoiding obstacles and physically challenging yourself.

Channel Islands National Park is open all year round, but we’d recommend heading there during peak whale watching season from mid-December through March.


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