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Discover Channel Islands National Park on Your Next California Camping Trip
Channel Islands National Park is comprised of five beautiful islands, which are Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, San Miguel, and Santa Barbara. The Park protects the islands' oceans and environments, which after thousands of years in solitude have created some some very unique animals and plant life that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Many people consider the Channel Islands to be a small slice of California that was lost long ago. These beautiful and unique lands offer much to see and do for people of all activity levels.
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Weather on the Channel Islands tends to remain fairly stable year round, although it does vary some day to day and island to island. Summer temperatures average in the low 70's, the ocean gets warmer and underwater visibility improves. However, wind and fog is a common occurence. In the spring, ocean and land temperatures begin to rise, as does dense fog. Fall continues with warm weather and water with the possibility of strong Santa Ana winds by mid-October. Winter brings cooler air and a lot of rain from December through March. In any type of weather though, the Channel Islands are beautiful. Just remember to come prepared for all weather conditions. There are no fees to enter the park.
The parks are located miles off the coast of California, so it is important to have at least half a day in order to properly see the islands. For those with limited time, there are half-day non-landing trips available. The Blue Whale season is December through April, and whale watching trips are available out of Ventura, Oxnard and Santa Barbara harbors.
If you have at least a full day, you can take a landing boat trip out to the islands. Anacapa Island is comprised of 3 separate islands and has often been considered an island of mirage as it seems to change shape, length and size in the summer fog or afternoon heat. A 1.5 mile long system of hiking trails allows visitors to see the island’s natural wild and plant life, as well as offering a chance to learn the cultural history of the island. Winter rains bring the vegetation alive, turning the island green and vibrant. Anacapa is overflowing with bird life, and the rocky shores of the island are the perfect resting and breeding areas for California sea lions and harbor seals. There are two overlook areas that offer excellent views of the lions.
Santa Barbara Island is the smallest of the five islands. But don't let its size deceive you. Santa Barbara Island is filled with resting elephant seals, a rich cultural history, beautiful yellow flowers and it is a crossroads for both people and animals. Each island has a unique attraction and scuba diving; snorkeling and other water activities are great on all the islands.
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