The Channel Islands National Park is formed by an eight-island archipelago along the Santa Barbara Channel in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of southern California. From the eight islands that year we ended up visiting Santa Cruz, Anacapa, and Santa Catalina. Each one of them was different but they all were beautiful and had plenty of awesome views and landscapes.
Anacapa is only a mile long and as per Wikipedia has a population of only 3 people. We personally did not see anyone there other than the people who were with us on the boat. There is no food or water available on the island. There are bathrooms however as well as few shaded places to rest. We noticed also that camping on Anacapa is quite popular. About 30 percent of the people arriving with us were there to camp.
We arrived via boat to the island (island transportation schedules). You would need to be careful when transferring from it to the island since the actual process is border-lining dangerous (and there have been few very bad accidents). The boat backs to a cement platform with a ladder on it on which you need to climb. There are crew members from the boat that help with the process but you need to really pay attention and be careful. Once you are on the platform there are few more steps to go through and you are at the starting point. The boat would be at that same point at the scheduled time for the pickup via the same process.
Santa Cruz Island
The second island we explored was Santa Cruz. Very different in size (96 miles) and quite nice if you are into hiking and long walks. There are more than a few famous points there but to see them all you would need more than one day so plan accordingly. We were able to visit only a few of them in the 5+ hours we had on the island but with a small kid that was enough for us to get the idea and enjoy the experience.
One thing that we noticed as a big difference between the Anacapa and Santa Cruz was the number of activities you can choose from enjoying there. A lot of peopleware kayaking, diving, and snorkeling. You can also bring on the actual boat your own kayak and enjoy it on the island (space however is limited).
Another thing to note is that the Anacapa was significantly less packed with people. Santa Cruz seemed quite crowded at times. Being a much larger island with a lot more places to camp and see that is understandable.
Here are the few pics we took from the island:
Santa Catalina Island
We visited prior to Anacapa and Santa Cruz the Santa Catalina Island. As you can see from the photo below that the island is populated and a place for a few days vacation with plenty of hotels and entertainment.
You can read more about our trip to Catalina Island here. Overall we truly enjoyed the islands we visited and we are actively planning to explore the remaining ones as well soon.