Southern California’s coast is so blessed by nature, yet so densely developed, that it’s only natural to imagine what it must have looked like 150 years ago. That’s when it’s time to look offshore — namely to the Channel Islands. Call them Bonus California — mirrors of the mainland, with sea cliffs, beaches, rugged canyons thick with scrubby chaparral, profusions of wildflowers — but missing the crush of humanity.
In fact, their human population is effectively zero – just a few park rangers and researchers. That’s all. No towns, no stores, no paved roads. But such natural abundance that they’ve been clichéd into the moniker “America’s Galapagos.”