Frequently Asked Questions


Where is Channel Islands National Park?
Channel Islands National Park consists of five of the eight Channel Islands that span 160 miles off the coast of southern California.

Please visit Maps to view a variety of park maps.

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When was Channel Islands National Park established?
Although Anacapa and Santa Barbara Islands were designated a national monument in 1938, it was not until March 5, 1980 that Congress established San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, Anacapa, Santa Barbara, and the submerged lands and waters within one nautical mile of each island as Channel Islands National Park. Learn about the history of the park at: Establishing the Park

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How do I visit Channel Islands National Park?
While the mainland visitor centers in Ventura and Santa Barbara are readily accessible by car or public transportation, the islands are only accessible by park concessionaire boats (Island Packers) or private boat. Advanced planning is highly recommended.

Please visit Directions and Things To Know Before You Come for more information.

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What is the best time of year to visit Channel Islands National Park?
Since the park is located in "sunny" southern California, it may seem that the obvious answer is "any time of year." And, true, you can visit throughout the entire year. But, believe it or not, we actually do have seasons here. While the seasonal changes are nothing like one would find in Minnesota, there are differences that visitors should take into consideration when visiting the park. Each season has its own character and casts a unique mood over the islands.

For more information, please visit When to Visit and Weather.

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What island should I visit?
The islands are very different from each other, offering unique experiences. To help you decide, please visit Places To Go for a description of each island and Things To Do for a list of activities in the park.

Also, consider the following if you have:

One Hour
Stop by one of our visitor centers in Ventura or Santa Barbara.

Half Day
Take a half-day non-landing boat tour around Anacapa or a half-day, express boat trip to Anacapa or Santa Cruz Islands via Island Packers. During gray whale season (December through April), take a half-day whale watch trip out of Ventura, Oxnard, or Santa Barbara Harbors.

Full Day
Take a day trip to any of the park islands via our park concessionaires. During blue whale season (Spring through Summer), take an all day whale watch trip out of Ventura or Santa Barbara Harbors.

Multiple Days
Camp on any of our park islands or take a multi-day, multi-island, live-aboard boat trip with Channel Islands Expeditions.

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What can I do at Channel Islands National Park?
The islands not only offer a delightful break from the congestion and clamor of urban life, but also numerous outdoor activities—hiking, camping, snorkeling, kayaking, birdwatching, photography, or just relaxing to the soothing sounds of the natural world.

Please visit Things To Do and Activities for more information.

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Last updated: July 31, 2023

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

1901 Spinnaker Drive
Ventura, CA 93001


805 658-5730

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