History, Culture & the Outdoors

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Featured Review
Channel Islands National Park
Anacapa Island had and open and dry environment. That lighthouse is visible from much of the island. 7.83 California ratingStar
Channel Islands National Park guyonthego

Not far from Los Angeles, Channel Islands National park was established in 1980 to preserve scenic and diverse island and marine environments. Formerly used by ranchers and by the military, the Channel Islands have been restored to a nearly pristine natural state.

The Channel Islands formed about 5 million years ago through volcanic activity. About 20,000 years ago, the islands were one large island. Today Santa Cruz is the largest island at 61,764 acres and Santa Barbara is the smallest at 640 acres. As the islands were isolated from outside influences for many years, they are home to a number of endemic species.

Visiting the islands offers a chance to experience a California free from development and distractions. A trip requires planning for choice of island and length of stay. Santa Cruz and Anacapa Islands are the closest and best suited for a day visit. Camping is available on any of the main islands, however Santa Cruz is the most popular and has the most to do. Hiking trails here range from easy to difficult and star gazing can be vivid. While all the islands have seabirds, remote San Miguel Island hosts one of the largest annual pinniped gatherings in the world in winter. Trying to see it can be challenging because the winter weather is unpredictable. Santa Rosa Island is less visited than Santa Cruz, nearly as large and has airplane transportation. Tiny Santa Barbara Island offers some of the best snorkeling, but you will need a wetsuit. The main transportation concessionaire is Island Packers, www.islandpackers.com. Channel Islands Aviation www.flycia.com provides flights to Santa Rosa. Truth Aquatics www.truthaquatics.com arranges diving, kayaking and hiking outings. The islands are a great place to enjoy nature and the outdoors.
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October 2014
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