Out of all of the Channel Islands, Santa Cruz is probably the most famous for its sea caves – because not only is Santa Cruz the largest island of California, but it contains one of the largest (and deepest) sea caves in the world. It’s actually illegal to set foot inside of the caves, but you can kayak your way in with the help of a number of park-authorized outfitters based in Ventura, Oxnard, Santa Barbara, and Goleta. The beaches are easily accessed and make a good launching point for your vessel. Expect clear waters, lots of birds, and colder and windier conditions than you might think. Sea kayaking isn’t for first-timers, as the ocean can offer unpredictable swells and rougher waters than if you were in a bay or a cove. Because of that, you’ll need to wear a helmet – particularly while you’re actually in a cave. Painted Cave is the most famous of those on Santa Cruz, with its colorful rock walls, lichen, and algae; but the entire shoreline is riddled with caves, giving you lots of chance to explore.