Ah, peace and quiet: the luxurious yet elusive antidote to city chaos, the blaring horns of snarled traffic, and that upstairs neighbor who definitely opened a competitive late-night bowling league in his kitchen. We all know that closing your door isn’t always enough to invite peace and quiet to hang out and stay awhile. Sometimes, drastic measures are required—like walking beyond your doorstep and venturing forth into parts unknown. In case the city’s pulse has muddled your memory, let us remind you that Mother Nature thrives just beyond the horizon, and she’s promising a quick drink from the elixir of introspection.
Strung along the California coast and rising up from the Pacific Ocean is an introvert’s paradise, an isolated constellation of protected natural wonders. Channel Islands National Park is comprised of five of the eight remarkable Channel Islands: Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, San Miguel, and Santa Barbara. As the crow flies, the islands are about 12 to 70 miles off the coast, but because there are no connecting bridges, getting to the islands is an adventure in itself. If it’s peace and quiet you truly seek, restoration and solitude is a mere windswept boat ride away.
Often referred to as “the Galapagos of North America,” the Channel Islands sit at the crux of two major ocean currents and remain unfettered by the boorish conveniences of modern life: you won’t find any restaurants, lodging, or stores to distract your travels. Having been isolated since what feels like the dawn of time, the islands enjoy immense autonomous biodiversity (those adorable grey and rust-colored foxes aren’t leaping around anywhere else here on Planet Earth). In total, there are 23 known animal species endemic to Channel Islands National Park, and all park wildlife can thank their ancestors for either flying over from the mainland (shout out to the bat population) or for hitching a ride atop floating branches and driftwood.