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“the best views in California come from the cliffs of Channel islands” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Santa Cruz Island

Santa Cruz Island
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Located off the coast of Santa Barbara, this island is a popular place for kayaking and exploring sea caves.
colorado
Level Contributor
133 reviews
45 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
“the best views in California come from the cliffs of Channel islands”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 10, 2013

One word: STUNNING! On my tour of the California coast, this was one decision I will never forget. Get the boat from Ventura harbor and reserve beforehand. My boat and the others leaving that day were fully booked. call/ go to: Island packers 1691 Spinnaker Dr #105B Ventura, CA 93001(805) 642-1393. Remember to spend time in the next door visitor center museum and movie theater that are free. The fee to get out there is around $60pp. You will have a good 4-6hrs to explore. I would definately recommend the boat, then hike/explore. Then come out later to kayak. I didnt get sea sick but its a small boat that will feel each wave for those that get the tummy jitters. Theres a chance you will see whales. You will see sea lions and dolphins. If you go on one hike, I would go to cavern point. The cliffs and flowers are spectacular. I then followed the mesmerizing coast to potato point and went back to the harbor look outs, which took all day. Note: the campground is not great and a day should do it for any particular activity. They raved about the birds and fox that only the island has. I saw neither.

Visited March 2013
Helpful?
8 Thank 1965kathy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
23 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Rugged Wild Beauty”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 4, 2013

I left from Ventura Harbor, and even the boat ride was great. We saw dolphins and sea lions, and the clouds cleared up when we got to the island. Once on the island, my family and I hiked around the north eastern part of the island. It truly is unique on the island, as it is wetter then the mainland. There are yellow and blue wildflowers dotting the hills, craggy mountains, and best of all, huge sea cliffs by the deep blue pacific. What really surprised me was how clear the water was by the shore. I could see all the rocks and kelp.

Visited April 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank slidingsands87
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Orinda, California
Level Contributor
29 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Perfect day!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 23, 2013

Took a day trip to Santa Cruz island from Ventura. It was cold and foggy when we left Ventura but was sunny when we reached the island. We took a hiking tour with the naturalists which gave us the history of the island. We then continued our hike to Potato Cove, about 5 miles round trip. We had a great time. Many wildflowers in bloom. On the return trip, the captain took some extra time so we could see some humpbacks in the area. A wonderful bonus. Island Packers were very efficient and personable. We definitely recommend the trip.

Visited March 2013
Helpful?
3 Thank Sebilia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ventura, California
Level Contributor
14 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Great day excursion or camping”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 13, 2013

A great way to spend a day! Santa Cruz Island provides a great hiking trail with lots of wild life both off shore and on the island. I was lucky to see a curious Santa Cruz Island fox! The visitors center is close to the harbor where the boat drops you off. Bring your own pic-nic, layer your clothes for comfort and comfortable shoes. You will need to transport out what you bring in, including your own garbage, so pack accordingly...

Visited May 2012
Helpful?
3 Thank tracy805
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ohio
Level Contributor
183 reviews
81 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 218 helpful votes
“Excellent Day Trip”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 1, 2013

Santa Cruz is one of the five Islands that together, are the Channel Islands National Park (Four of the five islands are listed here on TripAdvisor).

The Island Packers are the sole concessionaires for island transportation. Their dock is not too far from the park's visitor center on the mainland, and it takes about an hour to reach Santa Cruz Island. A pod of common dolphins escorted us on our way out, but sadly no whales. We were surprised, though, to see oil rigs so close to protected waters.

In December there were two choices to disembark from the boat, Prisoners Harbor and Scorpions Anchorage. We docked at Scorpions Anchorage, where there are national park exhibits and the last island resident's (private) house. We took a naturalist lead hike up to Cavern Point. It's a steep, one mile trail, but the information we received was interesting. We learned that researchers determined a patch of unassuming dirt was once at the bottom of the ocean.

From there we hiked to Potato Harbor on the treeless cliffs, seeing two foxes on the way. We finished the five mile loop back to Scorpions Anchorage by going down through the valley. Amazingly, all this took up most of the time we had on the island and soon enough, we were boarding the catamaran back to the mainland. We saw an additional three foxes as we waited for the boat.

Note to remember: you have to pack in your own food and pack out your trash. Water is available near the campground.

Visited December 2012
Helpful?
2 Thank NPS_Tumbleweeds
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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