Channel Islands National Park provides a wide variety of recreational opportunities and a delightful break from the congestion and clamor of urban life. However, since the park encompasses five islands and their surrounding one mile of the ocean, the decision of where to go, what to do, and how to do it can be challenging. So compiled within this "Planning Your Visit" section is detailed information to help you make sense of it all. Click on the links below or in the navigation to start planning a great trip to the park.
Plan Like a Park Ranger: Top 10 Things to Know Before You Go
Welcome from the Superintendent
Like the Galapagos Islands of South America, isolation has allowed evolution to proceed independently on the islands. Marine life ranges from microscopic plankton to the blue whale, the largest animal to live on Earth. Archeological and cultural resources span a period of more than 13,000 years of human habitation.
The protection of these fragile island resources was ensured when Congress, in the act that created Channel Islands National Park in 1980, established a long-term ecological monitoring program to gather information on the current health of resources and predict future conditions. This information provides park and natural resource managers with useful products for recreation planning, conservation and restoration programs, and early identification of critical issues.
The islands were set aside by Congress not only to preserve these resources, but also to provide for your enjoyment. If you visit the park, you will be one of a very select group. Few people actually see this park because it is not easy to get to-you can't drive to the islands. A short but exciting ocean voyage or a commercial flight in a small airplane is required. The park is one of the least visited of all of America's national parks. The relatively light visitation enhances the islands' feeling of solitude and assists in the protection of fragile resources. In establishing the park, Congress recognized the value of solitude by allowing for low intensity, limited entry visitation. So a visit to this national park will always provide a marked contrast to the bustle of southern California most people experience. It will always be a place where you can step back in time and experience coastal southern California the way it once was.
We are delighted you are interested in this marvelous place. Thanks for making the effort! We hope our park website encourages you to safely explore and discover Channel Islands National Park while taking care to protect and keep these beautiful and fragile islands unimpaired for future generations.
Last updated: May 9, 2023