The Channel Islands National Park is picturesque, pristine, and wildly beautiful collection of islands that were once referred to as Ancient String of Pearls. Located off the coast of California, the national park is a collection of five different islands closely dispersed on the Pacific Ocean. Discovered by Juan Rodrguez Cabrillo along with his Spanish fleet in 1542, the islands were brimming with beautiful foliage, graceful mountain peaks, and marine ecosystems.
Date of Establishment
Before the Channel Islands Archipelago was officially declared as a national heritage site, it was home to the Chumash community. They were natives who inhabited the islands for many years until the European Contact in the 18th Century. The islands were then transformed economically and physically for seal and otter hunting, fishing, and the establishment of European Industries.
All the five national islands were affected by the Second World War, Cold War, and 20th century development. It was finally on the 26th April, 1938 after a series of significant events, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt established Santa Barbara and Anacapa Islands as part of the Channel Islands Archipelago. The present national park, which comprises five national islands was officially created in 1980.
The national park can be visited all year-round and during any season. However, since it’s essentially a trove of islands, the best time to enjoy outdoor activities like kayaking, fishing, and snorkeling is usually during Summer and Fall. The ocean temperatures are optimum at 70 degrees and the ocean visibility is as deep as 100 ft. Many people therefore visit the park from early June all the way into September.
The extreme winter and early spring months are typically less frequented by visitors. The islands are beset by high tides, winds, and heavy downpour. However, tourists who love the extreme coastal weather won’t mind it at all. Each season offers a unique experience. For example, visiting in late December all the way to April, is a good time to enjoy gray whale watching. Peak wildflower blooms can also be witnessed after blissful rain showers from January to March. All in all, depending on your preference, anytime is a good time to visit the Channel Islands National Park.
Like every park in the US, the Channel Islands has an insightful and informational Visitor Centers that are usually a first stop for most tourists and travelers. The Robert J. Lagomarsino Visitor Center at Ventura features a fun bookstore, a tour of the marine aquatic life, and exhibits that display the unique features of each of the five islands. There is also Outdoors Santa Barbara Visitor Center offering the best view of the island, short informational sessions on the national park, and the lovely Santa Barbara Maritime Museum.
With so much to see, admire, and be mesmerized by, let’s explore the Channel Islands National Park.