From stunning views to some of the world’s rarest trees to amazing marine life
Written byPeter FishJuly 23, 2015
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1 of 10Tim Hauf
Inspiration Point, Anacapa Island
Selfie alert! A 1½-mile hike from the boat landing takes you to Anacapa’s highest point, with stunning views of the Channel Islands and the Southern California mainland.
2 of 10Tim Hauf
Tidepools, Frenchy’s Cove, Anacapa Island
Reachable only by boat, this cove on Middle Anacapa has some of the richest and most beautiful tide pools anywhere on the Pacific Coast.
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3 of 10Tim Hauf
Anacapa Lighthouse, Anacapa Island
Built in 1932, this 40-foot tower was the last lighthouse to be constructed on the West Coast—and a welcome sight for sailors navigating a shipwreck-prone stretch of Pacific.
4 of 10Tim Hauf
Arch Rock, Anacapa Island
This picturesquely eroded, 40-foot high arch is so distinctaive it’s become a symbol for all of Channel Islands National Park. Best way to see it is via kayak.
5 of 10Tim Hauf
Gray, blue, and humpback whales all call the waters off Channel Islands home, at least for part of the year. There’s a good chance you’ll spot one or two on a day trip to the island; or join one of the whale watching expeditions that leave from Oxnard, Santa Barbara, or Ventura harbors.
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Torrey Pines, Santa Rosa Island
The Channel Islands are famous for plant and animal species that exist nowhere else. One of these, the Santa Rosa Island subspecies of Torrey pine, is one of the rarest pines in the world.
7 of 10Tim Hauf
Scorpion Beach, Santa Cruz Island
Its fans say this may be the best beach in Southern California. It has all the pluses a good California beach should possess (notably clear blue water great for swimming and snorkeling).
Flickr user Ken Lund
8 of 10Flickr user Ken Lund
Potato Harbor, Santa Cruz Island
Take the Cavern Point Loop and North Bluff Trails on a 4-mile hike filled with views of islands, ocean, and passing whales to reach this picturesquely rugged harbor on Santa Cruz’s northern coastline.
Courtesy of National Park Service
9 of 10Courtesy of National Park Service
Water Canyon Beach, Santa Rosa Island
This long, windswept white sand beach is stunningly beautiful, and makes a good launching point for experienced sea kayakers.
10 of 10Tim Hauf
Flowering coreopsis, Santa Barbara Island
Brilliant yellow coreopsis is the signature wildflower of Channel Islands. They’re found most spectacularly on Anacapa and especially Santa Barbara. Peak bloom comes from late January through March.