While 14-sq-mile San Miguel can guarantee solitude and a remote wilderness experience, its westernmost location in the Channel Islands chain means it's often windy and shrouded in fog. Some sections are off-limits to protect the island's fragile ecosystem, which includes a caliche forest (hardened calcium-carbonate castings of trees and vegetation) and seasonal colonies of seals and sea lions. Peregrine falcons have been reintroduced, and some of the archeological sites from when the Chumash lived here date back almost 12,000 years.

San Miguel can be accessed by both Island Packers boat services and Channel Islands Aviation planes.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby attractions

1. Santa Rosa

15.69 MILES

The indigenous Chumash people called Santa Rosa ‘Wima’ (driftwood) because of the redwood logs that often came ashore here, with which they built plank…