A Stop at Channel Islands National Park Visitor Center

Over Labor Day weekend I headed up the coast for a quick overnight stay in Santa Barbara. Normally, I speed up the 101 so I can get there as quickly as possible but this time I decided to do something a little different. I didn’t have a set itinerary so I decided to take my time and travel along the coast avoiding the freeway as much as possible. Not only did I enjoy a beautiful ocean view but I came across several fun spots like the Channel Islands National Park Visitor Center.

I’m a total National Park nerd and hope to visit as many as possible during my lifetime. In the past year I’ve checked Yosemite, Joshua Tree and Crater Lake off my list and am eager to visit more. In California, we’re lucky to have 8(!) national parks and several are within a few hours drive from LA.

Ventura County is home to Channel Islands National Park which is made up of 5 islands (Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, San Miguel and Santa Barbara) off the coast of Southern California. Only accessible by boat it’s not the easiest place to get to.

The park has always piqued my curiosity but I must admit I haven’t made much of an effort to figure out how to get to it. And on this mini road trip it was far from my mind but as I traveled along the coast I came across a sign for Ventura Harbor and the Robert J. Lagomarsino Visitor Center at Channel Islands National Park. Always game for a new adventure I decided to check it out.

Located in the heart of the harbor the center serves as an introduction to this unique park. There are tide pools, dioramas and gardens dedicated to the flora and fauna of the Channel Islands.

It’s a one shop stop for all you need to know about visiting this diverse landscape. From Chumash settlements, to vast kelp forests to the famed Island Fox the islands are filled with fascinating cultural and natural landscapes.

In addition, the center offers a viewing platform so visitors can get a glimpse of the park. I, of course, had to check it out and was rewarded with a spectacular view although the islands weren’t visible at the time.

Stopping by the Channel Islands National Park Visitor Center only increased my curiosity about these special islands. Now, I’m determined to get out there and start exploring them myself.

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