Visiting the Channel Islands is like traveling back into the past. Here you can discover a world protected for current and future generations to explore, learn from, and enjoy. The Channel Islands are accessible year round. Variations in weather, underwater visibility, wildlife migration and spawning cycles, as well as seasonal changes in plant life, present a variety of experiences that change constantly.

Close to the California mainland, yet worlds apart, Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary and National Park encompass the ocean environment and five of the eight California Channel Islands (Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, San Miguel, and Santa Barbara). The islands' remote, isolated position at the confluence of two major ocean currents creates remarkable biodiversity. The Channel Islands offer adventure and breathtaking scenery just 100 miles from Los Angeles.

people on a ship and a small boat next to them

Plan Your Visit

Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary is located off the coast of Southern California and is only accessible by boat (visitors can also access Santa Rosa and San Miguel Islands by plane).

Two women looking at birds flying away from the surface of the ocean

What Will I See

The waters surrounding Channel Islands are a popular destination to observe wildlife year-round for a variety of seabirds, whales, dolphins, sharks, fishes, seals, and sea lions.

A man padding on his surf board

Things to Do

Whale watching, bird watching, boating, diving, fishing, and kayaking are all popular things to do in Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary.

A diver taking a picture of a herd of fish


Towering kelp forests, sea caves, and coves of the Channel Islands offer some of the best diving in the world. Explore the remains of historic shipwrecks that line the ocean floor, but please do not disturb or remove them as they are protected by law.

A man fishing from a boat

Recreational Fishing

The rich and productive waters of the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary present both seasonal and year-round sport fishing opportunities "from the pier or by boat".

A wide shot of a kayaker


Sea kayaking is most popular around Scorpion Landing on East Santa Cruz Island. There are numerous beautiful sea caves, arches, and cliffs to explore.

Visitors at a meusuem look at different exhibits

Visitor Centers & Exhibits

The sanctuary works with many partners throughout central and Southern California to interpret the living and maritime heritage resources that are a part of this iconic place.

A person fishing from a boat

Get Into Your Sanctuary

The annual "Get Into Your Sanctuary" celebration and photo contest raises awareness about the value of our national marine sanctuaries as iconic destinations for responsible recreation.

person walking on the side of the water looking at the sunsetting

Channel Islands Camping Itinerary

A rugged camping trip in Channel Island National Park is a great way to immerse yourself in nature and explore the surrounding waters of Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary.