Channel Islands, California
This chain of eight islands just off the coast of Southern California offers a diversity of visitor activities. Five of the rocky islets (San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, Anacapa and Santa Barbara) were designated as the Channel Islands National Park in 1980.
Free of commercial development and human habitation, these five islands are home to an extraordinary variety of indigenous wildlife. More than 2,000 species of plants and animals flourish in the mountains, canyons, coastal cliffs, sea caves and tide pools protected within the park.
Island Packers, a park concessionaire, offers whale watching and wildlife cruises to all five islands, affording visitors kayaking, hiking and camping opportunities.