The Galapagos of California by

by Kyle Frost

Take Big Sur, wrap it around an island and then place some idyllic green countryside covered in wildflowers in the middle.

Throw in a mountain for good measure and sprinkle liberally with adorable island foxes. Now place it just a 45 minute boat ride off the coast of Los Angeles.

This is the case with Santa Cruz Island, the largest island in California and the crown jewel of the Channel Islands National Park chain. Although most of the island was dominated by ranching for many years, it is currently jointly owned by the Nature Conservancy and the National Parks Service, and offers plenty of amazing kayaking, hiking and snorkeling.

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