California’s Channel Islands National Park: Take a Camping Trip Back in Time

One of the most popular outdoor areas in southern California is the Channel Islands National Park, and marine sanctuary which sits just off of the coast in the Pacific Ocean. It’s an ideal spot for hiking and camping or just relaxing. There are 5 islands in the park, which are Santa Cruz, San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Barbara, and Anacapa.

They all feature beautiful landscapes and some intriguing wild life. In addition, the earliest human remains ever found in North America come from this area. They were discovered back in 1959 on Santa Rosa Island at a location called Arlington springs and are believed to be over 13,000 years old.

Channel Islands National Park(photo by kenlund)

The weather’s quite agreeable in the park due to its Mediterranean climate, making it a great place to explore at any time of the year. The temperatures are usually quite stable with the highs usually sitting in the mid-60s Fahrenheit and the lows steady in the low-50s. Some of the area’s plant life and creatures are unique and can’t be found anywhere else on the planet. Visiting the park can really feel like taking a trip back in time as nothing much has changed over the years.

You can camp out all year round on the park’s islands with each one of them having its own campground. However, the campgrounds are quite a distance from the boat docks, which means you’ll have to carry your camping equipment to your site. So keep this in mind when you’re preparing for your camping trip here. Don’t take along anything that isn’t really necessary unless you’re prepared to carry it.

The campgrounds are quite basic, but charming. You’ll be given a designated site to camp in and each one of them comes with a pit toilet and picnic table. The campgrounds on Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa Islands have a water supply, but the other ones don’t, so you’ll need to make sure you have some drinking water with you. You’ll also need to pack and take your garbage with you since there aren’t any receptacles on the islands.

Because the campgrounds are relatively small, you’ll need to reserve a site before taking your trip. You’ll receive confirmation and just need to give it to the park ranger when you arrive on one of the islands. There’s a small fee for camping, but there’s no charge for exploring and hiking around the park. There are boat crossings available each day to the five islands.

There are several other rules to follow while camping in the national park. Campfires aren’t allowed so you’ll need to use stoves or barbecues for cooking. The mice on the island are known to sometimes carry a virus which can be spread via their feces and urine. Make sure you store all of your drinks and food inside of sealed containers which are rodent-proof and keep your tent zipped up at all times to make sure the mice are kept out.

There are several types of wild animals on the islands, including pigs on Santa Cruz. It’s a good idea to store your garbage and food inside of food storage boxes which can be found at national park campgrounds. If you follow the simple rules of Channel Islands National Park you should have a very enjoyable stay where you can get in touch with nature.

If you’d like to check the park out before deciding on making a trip you can visit the park’s live web page where you can view the live broadcasts and web cams. This will enable you to get a close-up look at the park before leaving so you know what adventures lay in store for you once you get there.