Getting there & away
Two boat companies and one air operator offer camper transportation and excursions to the islands.
Island Packers (805-642-1393, recorded information 805-642-7688; www.islandpackers.com; 1691 Spinnaker Dr, Ventura), near the visitors center, offers numerous day trips and packages to all the islands. Rates begin at $42/25 per adult/child for the East Anacapa trip. Going to the other islands costs more and campers pay extra for their gear. Nonlanding whale-watching tours start at $26/17 for a 3½-hour gray whale trip (January to March).
Most trips require a minimum number of participants and may be canceled anytime due to surf and weather conditions. In any case, landing is never guaranteed, again because of changeable weather and surf conditions. Reservations are recommended for weekend, holiday and summer trips, and advance payment is required.
Those in a hurry or prone to seasickness might want to consider taking a 25-minute flight to Santa Rosa Island with Channel Islands Aviation (805-987-1301; adult/child $130/105) instead. Day trips leave year-round from the airports in Camarillo and Santa Barbara.