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Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary

Nature & wildlife areas, Nature & Parks
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Address: Off the coast of Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties, Channel Islands National Park, CA
Phone Number: +1 805-893-6431
Website
Activities: Viewing wildlife, Whale watching
Description: The waters that swirl around the five islands within the Channel Islands...
The waters that swirl around the five islands within the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary combine warm and cool currents to create an exceptional breeding ground for many species of plants and animals. Forests of giant kelp are home to numerous populations of fish and invertebrates. Every year over 27 species of whales and dolphins visit or inhabit the sanctuary, including the rare blue, humpback and sei whales. On the islands (which are part of the Channel Islands National Park), seabird colonies and pinniped rookeries flourish while overhead brown pelicans and Western gulls search the water for food. The Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary is located 25 miles (22 nautical miles) off the coast of Santa Barbara, California. Visitors to the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary can enjoy recreational opportunities such as tidepooling, diving, snorkeling and kayaking.
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Most recent review
Fantastic day trip

We took the 10 am boat to Santa Cruz (had to be there at 9:15) and lingered on the one-hour crossing to watch the dolphins playing in our wake and then the 3 gray whales hanging... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed February 1, 2015
Jeanne J
,
Bellevue, Washington, USA
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12 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Date | Rating
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English first
Bellevue, Washington, USA
Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
17 attraction reviews
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 1, 2015

We took the 10 am boat to Santa Cruz (had to be there at 9:15) and lingered on the one-hour crossing to watch the dolphins playing in our wake and then the 3 gray whales hanging out on the surface, blowing and diving We finally left them to get to the island about noon. Still had time to hike to... More 

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Dacula, Georgia
Top Contributor
78 reviews 78 reviews
52 attraction reviews
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 17, 2015

Used Island Packers to cruise to Santa Cruz Island. The channel is teaming with marine life. We actually saw a Steller sea lion (normal seen further north along Oregon and Washington). Pods of dolphins swimming. Winter is migration for gray whales returning to Alaska with their young.

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NOAA-ONMS, Tourism and Recreation Coordinator at Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, responded to this review

We're glad to hear you enjoyed your visit! More 

California
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
7 attraction reviews
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2015

Took a day trip to see the Santa Cruz Island (part of the 5 Channel Island). Booked tickets online with Island Packers (1691 Spinnaker Drive #105B, Ventura, Ca 93001 - Phone: 805-642-1393 Info@IslandPackers.com) and took their 9:00am ferry to Santa Cruz ($59 adult, awesome service, quick booking). We reached SCruz in about an hour and took a short hike with... More 

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Montana
Top Contributor
53 reviews 53 reviews
16 attraction reviews
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 25, 2014

Took the boat out to Santa Cruz Island in August. Beautiful day. Took a guided hike to a bay bordering the Nature Conservancy side of the island. Was disappointed we didn't have time to make it all the way to the bay but other than that we really enjoyed ourselves. The boats should leave earlier to accommodate the time it... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Vail, CO
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 25, 2014

Taking a boat out to The Channel Island is a must do for all nature lovers. From sea birds, sea lions, seals, dolphins, whales and other marine life to the rare Island foxes This is a must stop when you are in the area.

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VA
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
6 attraction reviews
46 helpful votes 46 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 27, 2014

We spent a day on Santa Cruz island, one of the channel islands off of the coast north of Los Angeles, and to the west of Santa Barbara. Island Packers tours are the only boats allowed to land, so check them out for the transportation (boats out of Ventura and Oxnard). They were great. We did not realize how unshaded... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Cardiff
Top Contributor
341 reviews 341 reviews
157 attraction reviews
261 helpful votes 261 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 21, 2013

A Must-Do for anyone in the LA to San Fran corridor. I began at the Ventura Visitors center, watched the amazing video and then drove to Oxnard Marina and got a boat trip "on standby" The TA choices to review this marvel are frustrating as there is no CINP option.! The options to visit the islands or cruise around them... More 

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Bath, Maine
Senior Contributor
47 reviews 47 reviews
8 attraction reviews
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 11, 2012

Watched a 15 minute video about the islands that was narrated by Kevin Costner. It was very informative and made you want to visit the islands.

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Ojai, California
Top Contributor
172 reviews 172 reviews
39 attraction reviews
162 helpful votes 162 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 31, 2011

If you have young children and you want an awesome place to take them to learn about nature and particularly the Channel Islands, take them to the National Park Service's Visitor Center located in Ventura Harbor. Go to the end of the Harbor entrance road, just past the Island Packers where you board boats for a trip out to the... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 5
San Luis Obispo, California
Top Contributor
100 reviews 100 reviews
51 attraction reviews
51 helpful votes 51 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 7, 2011

Boat leaves from Channel Islands Harbor, Oxnard. Trip takes an hour, maybe longer if the captain finds Whales to watch. The Island is completely made up of tall cliffs. No beach access. Anything that is accessible has Sea Lions on it and are protected. There are trails on top of the Islands with magnificent views of the cliffs, ocean, and... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 3

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