Diving and Snorkeling
The kelp forests, sea caves, and coves of the park await the adventurous swimmer, snorkeler, and diver. Some of the best snorkeling and diving in the world can be done right here within the park.
These activities are best done on Santa Barbara, Anacapa, and eastern Santa Cruz Islands. Due to extremely windy conditions on Santa Rosa and San Miguel, these activities should not be attempted on these islands by the novice or anyone who is not properly trained, conditioned, and equipped.
For more information about specific swimming, snorkeling, and diving locations, please visit Places To Go and read the the "Things To Do" section for each individual island. Also, please refer to local area dive shops, dive operations, and diving publications for more detailed information on island snorkeling and diving sites and dive boat trips.
Since the marine environment can be unforgiving, use extra caution when engaging in these activities. Ocean conditions are highly variable and sometimes dangerous. Many beaches on the islands have steep, dangerous shore breaks. The wind and swell generally come from the northwest and become stronger as the day continues. From October through January, visitors must also be prepared for strong east or Santa Ana winds. The ocean currents outside of coves and protected beach areas can be strong and extremely dangerous. These conditions should be carefully considered when planning your trip and entering the water.
In addition to the regulations and guidelines listed at Laws and Policies, the following suggestions should also be considered:
Did You Know?
Painted Cave on Santa Cruz Island is one of the world’s largest known sea caves. The cave measures 1215 feet in length (the size of more than four football fields), has a 160 foot entrance, and is almost 100 feet wide.