Channel Islands National Park

National Park in Santa Barbara County

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 southern Santa Barbara, comprise Channel Islands National Park. The islands have unique flora and fauna and extensive tide pools and kelp forests.

Here you'll find almost almost 150 plant species 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 northern elephant seals.

Beautiful any time of year, the islands receive most visitors between June and September. However, the nicest times to visit are during the spring wildflower season (April and May) and September and October, when ocean conditions are calmest.

As of 2017, Santa Barbara was closed to visitors because of storm damage to its landing pier. Check the NPS website for the latest information.