Channel Islands National Park, California
Off the coast of California lies a special, remote archipelago: the Channel Islands. It is hard to believe that such a densely populated state has such quiet, untouched islands. They are loved by California residents and tourists alike. During a visit to the beautiful Channel Islands you can completely relax and be one with nature. The wild landscapes, the flower-strewn plains and the colorful underwater world form a true piece of paradise.
According to agooddir, the Channel Islands consist of eight islands, five of which are part of the National Park. The protected underwater world covers half of the park. The largest and most diverse island is Santa Cruz . Two mountain ranges cross the island, giving you a fantastic view of the area after a short climb. Canyons, rivers, caves and beaches ensure that there is always something new to discover on Santa Cruz. The island of Santa Rosa comes after Santa Cruz in size. It has a wealth of sandstone gorges, rare Torrey pine trees and archaeological finds.
Sant Miguel is a lot smaller and has many extremes. The wind and the water chase over the island, which is dotted with beaches, dunes and green fields. Despite these conditions, Sant Miguel is an important place for seals and sea lions. Hundreds of these animals lie here to rest, eat and care for the puppies. A beautiful sight! The tiny island of Santa Barbara is very small and is characterized by craggy cliffs, wildflowers, and huge colonies of seabirds. On volcanic Anacapa you will discover beautiful sea caves, natural bridges and nesting bird colonies.
A special tribe of Indians lived on the Channel Islands: the Chumash. Despite the difficult conditions on the islands, they managed to survive here. With the arrival of the Spaniards, diseases drove them to the mainland. Many archaeological objects, some thousands of years old, have been found on the Channel Islands. Remains of very former inhabitants have also been excavated here. These teach a lot about the tough life on the rugged Channel Islands.
Flora and fauna
The flora and fauna in Channel Islands National Park is unique to say the least. There are more than 150 plants and animals that you will not find anywhere else. Rare animal species, such as the Scrub jay and the island fox, also live in the wild here. Thousands of seabirds come here every year to nest and rest. Brown pelicans, cormorants, seagulls and oystercatchers swarm around the islands in large numbers. Large animals such as elephant seals, sea lions, seals and whales also feel at home on the Channel Islands.
The breathtaking underwater world shows a wealth of life. Colorful fish, such as the Garibaldi, swim among the green kelp forests and beautiful corals. Dolphins and seals curiously approach you as you explore this magical world. Because of all this life and the mysterious underwater caves, the Channel Islands are loved by divers. You can also enjoy the underwater life in pools and bays on land. In these mini worlds you will discover crabs, starfish and small fish. The underwater world of the Channel Islands is one of the most diverse in the world!
What to see
Besides the beautiful landscapes, there is much more to see in Channel Islands National Park. For example, there are two visitor centers: Santa Barbara Visitor Center and Robert J. Lagomarsino Visitor Center. Here you will learn more about the nature and culture on the islands. Furthermore, the lighthouse on Anacapa and the Caliche Forest on Sant Miguel (fossilized trees) are real must-sees. Ancient mammoth bones can also be admired on Sant Miguel.
What to do
There are a thousand and one activities to do on the various islands in Channel Islands National Park. Hiking, walking and camping are the most common. After all, you will discover most of the islands while walking and climbing. Those who want to discover more remote parts can explore the islands by boat. Canoeing, kayaking and boating are therefore very popular. This way you get close to all kinds of beautiful rock formations such as the Painted Cave at Santa Cruz. Other outdoor activities include picnicking, scuba diving, snorkeling, fishing and surfing. There are also special tours that bring you closer to nature. You can join whale, sea lion or bird watching tours.