Channel Islands National Park
Good for: adventure seekers.
Lonely Planet review for Channel Islands National Park
The Channel Islands is an eight-island chain lying off the coast from Newport Beach to Santa Barbara. The four northern islands - San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz and Anacapa - along with tiny Santa Barbara island 38mi (61km) west of San Pedro comprise the Channel Islands National Park. The islands have unique flora and fauna and extensive tidepools and kelp forests.
Here you'll find almost around 150 plant and a few animal species that are not found anywhere else in the world.
On Anacapa, Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa are several snorkeling, diving, swimming and kayaking opportunities among the kelp beds and sandy beaches. San Miguel and Santa Barbara are host to colonies of the gigantic northern elephant seal.
Beautiful any time of year, the islands receive most of their visitors between June and September. However, the nicest times to visit are during the spring-wildflower season (in April and May) and in September and October, when the weather conditions are the most calm.