The Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary is a beautiful spot off the coast of Ventura County that's only accessible by boat. Santa Cruz Island is nestled within the sanctuary and boasts incredible biodiversity and stunning views. The best way to take it all in is via kayak.

As the largest of the Channel Islands, Santa Cruz Island in the Channel Island National Park is an ecological treasure, and to kayak it is to get to experience it in a manner unlike any other. Getting to the island is easiest through Island Packers where you can also reserve a kayak (so pack efficiently due to limited space).

From Ventura Harbor you will travel to Santa Cruz Island and then disembark for a short chat with your guide before gearing up and hitting the water. The guides from the Channel Islands Adventure Company will happily answer questions and point out wildlife as you paddle around, exploring sea caves and sampling the local kelp. If you are lucky you might even see the seals "hauling out" aka sitting on rocks above the surface of the water to warm up after swimming for hours. 

Make sure you bring a picnic lunch to enjoy on the island when you are done paddling around; you will be hungry!

Pack List

  • Swimsuit or other fast-drying clothes
  • Water compatible shoes
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat or other sun protection
  • Towel
  • Camera
  • Lunch
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Activities Stand Up Paddle, Kayaking, Swimming, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Family Friendly


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Really cool caves

There are at least 3-5 cool sea caves to check out with crystal clear visibility in the water. Just try to go when the wind is calm because it’s hard to fight the wind. Go to the left of the dock first so you don’t have to fight the wind and waves coming back

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Nearby Adventures

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Hike to Smuggler's Cove, Channel Islands NP

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