- Snorkelers should take a dive boat from the Channel Islands Harbor in Oxnard to Anacapa Island.
- Hit the beach on the north side of Frenchy's Cove for good snorkeling.
- Note that water temperatures range from 55 to 65 degrees; the warmest water is in the summer and fall.
- Visit from February through April, when the island blooms with native wildflowers. At the end of April, you can hear the squawking of western gulls as they guard their nests of eggs.
- View television monitors and talk to divers at the Landing Cove via an underwater communication link on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
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Expert Review of Anacapa Island
Parks and Outdoors Review of Anacapa Island
- Of all the Channel Islands to choose from, more visitors go to Anacapa Island than any other. Why? Because at only 12 miles from Port Hueneme, it's the closest island to the mainland. The boat ride can take as little as 35 minutes. Anacapa Island is actually three tiny islets, and the only one open to visitors is the largest, East Anacapa.
- The single trail on East Anacapa Island is a two-mile semi-loop. The trail visits two scenic viewpoints: Cathedral Cove, where you can look down on seals and sea lions on the rocks below, and Inspiration Point, which overlooks the other two Anacapa islets and huge Santa Cruz Island beyond. Birders, bring your binoculars. Thousands of western gulls and brown pelicans nest on Anacapa.
- Anacapa's beaches are not accessible because of its high cliffs, but you can swim and snorkel at the landing cove. The island's cliffs are riddled with more than 130 sea caves, creating a watery playground for kayakers.
Family Review of Anacapa Island
- All trips to Anacapa Island are arranged through Island Packers (www.islandpackers.com), the park's official concessionaire.
- There is no running or potable water on the island, so you'll need to bring your own. Don't pack it with your luggage—it'll be put in special storage on your boat.
- If you're hoping to camp, you'll need to make reservations in advance. First reserve your transportation; then visit http://www.nps.gov/chis/planyourvisit/camping.htm and www.recreation.gov.
You'll be able to explore the shoreline and waters of the Landing Cove. Swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking are popular activities, but keep in mind that the water here is cold—55-65 degrees year-round—so you'll need protective water gear. A small beach on the west of the island called Frenchy's Cove offers an excellent opportunity for tidepooling.
When you arrive on the island, you'll walk up a winding set of stairs that will take you to a plateau about 200 feet above sea level. Enjoy the views, and set off for the visitor center where you'll see some Coast Guard buildings, an historic lighthouse, outhouses, and a picnic area. A 1.5-mile self-guided nature trail is here to enjoy as well.
Camping is available at the campground on the east side of the island, about half a mile from Landing Cove. You will need to remove all your own trash from the island and secure it in the storage box provided to keep it away from critters and birds. No fires are allowed on the island, but propane camp stoves are okay.
Anacapa Island is known for its diversity of marine life, nesting seabirds and gorgeous displays of wildflowers in the late winter and early spring. Its proximity and size make it a natural choice for a family trip.(-) Close
Beach Review of Anacapa Island
- Kelp forests just off shore make Anacapa great for divers, snorkelers, and kayakers. You can see the kelp forest from land beforehand through the park's summer program when ranger divers, armed with a video camera and microphone, broadcast back to land and answer questions. The program is at the landing cove three days a week at 2:00 p.m.
- Kayakers don't need permits to land on East Anacapa, but other areas have restrictions so check with park rangers first.
- Frenchy's Cove on West Anacapa, with limited access, has excellent tidepooling.
Active and Adventure Review of Anacapa Island
- Arch Rock is on Eastern Anacapa. This part of the Channel Islands National Park is known for its wildlife from sea lions to seals.
- Anacapa Island is actually a series of three thin "islets" formed from volcanos.
Channel Islands National Park, California
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