Sunday, January 31, 2010

Channel Islands National Park

The Channel Islands are truly a hidden gem of Southern California. They consist of 5 islands (Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, San Miguel and Santa Barbara) and are accessible by boat via several concessionaires. A good amount of preparation is required for a visit to the Channel Islands and should be done using the National Park Service's website. You can take a boat to one of the islands for a few hours - day trip from LA using Island Packers or you can camp overnight.

We opted for the 5-hour visit to Anacapa Island. The Island Packers' small boat didn't fare well on the hour plus journey to the island through rough seas - nor did we. But once on dry land, the day got better. We stopped at a Whole Foods in LA before embarking and had our very own picnic on the island. Five hours was plenty of time to traverse the entire island, read all of the interpretive signs, take plenty of photos and still have time to watch for the return of the boat. Some visitors opted for a kayak trip along Anacapa's coastline or snorkeling from the pier.

On the return trip from Anacapa Island to the mainland, the Island Packers boat motored past a sea lion colony, interesting rock formations and a handful of floating oil platforms.

Take a backpack, water and dress for the weather. This trip is kid friendly and can run start to finish from Edwards in one long day.

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