Channel Islands National Park
The Galapagos of North America
For my 30th birthday (gasp!) my parents came to visit me in LA from Connecticut. I kinda figured they might be up to something since we did a surprise birthday party for my older sister’s 30th birthday 15 months prior….
Sure enough both my sisters from MA came to spend the long weekend with me too! And my brother-in-law, and my 2 cousins from CT, and my cousin and his family from San Diego, and my Aunt and Uncle from CO! It was a FANTASTIC surprise!
Needless to say we spent the next 4 days drinking, partying and enjoying some good ol’ fashioned family time. My friends were good sports and came along for some of the celebrations too!
My parents have a house in Oxnard, CA so I’ve spent countless days gazing out at the islands on the horizon, wondering what they looked like in person. My parents decided to surprise me with the half-day adventure and I loved it!
We started with a one-hour ferry ride over to the island where we saw lots of dolphins on the way! They were having a great time playing in the boat’s wake. Some of us got a little wet too!
The islands are considered to be the “Galapagos of North America” since it’s endemic to a lot of different species. The islands even have their own subspecies of fox! It’s a great area for whale watching and there is a family of bald eagles that you can watch a live, online feed of their eggs hatching every year – seriously, it’s a great place if you’re a wildlife enthusiast. But I digress…
Since the island’s not inhibited, there isn’t anything to do except walk around and enjoy the SPECTACULAR views, which are totally worth it! You can venture out on your own, or you can walk with a park ranger who gives you a history of the islands and talks about some of the indigenous wildlife. There’s an abandoned light house that you can check out too.
After our hike, we enjoyed a picnic that my mom packed for us and took the ferry back to the Oxnard harbor.
There are so many different ways to enjoy the islands. We did a half day adventure, but you can do a full day, camp overnight or even kayak through the island’s natural caves. It’s one of California’s least visited National Parks with only about 30,000 visitors a year, so make sure to put this on your bucket list! Check out the website for more info.