The Channel Islands


The California Channel Islands extend in a northwest to southeast direction for about 160 miles from Point Conception to San Diego, and lie from eleven to sixty miles offshore.


  • San Miguel Island
  • Santa Rosa Island
  • Santa Cruz Island
  • Anacapa Island 


  • San Nicolas Island
  • Santa Barbara Island
  • Santa Catalina Island
  • San Clemente Island 
From largest to smallest they are:
  1. Santa Cruz Island (96 square miles)
  2. Santa Rosa Island (84 square miles)
  3. Santa Catalina Island (75 square miles)
  4. San Clemente Island (56 square miles)
  5. San Nicolas Island (22 square miles)
  6. San Miguel Island (14 square miles)
  7. Anacapa Island (1.1 square mile)
  8. Santa Barbara Island (1 square mile)

Five of the eight islands fall within the boundaries of Channel Islands National Park: San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, Anacapa and Santa Barbara Islands. Of these, the western nine-tenths of Santa Cruz Island is privately owned by the Nature Conservancy as an in holding within the boundaries of Channel Islands National Park. Only the eastern portion of Santa Cruz Island is a part of Channel Islands National Park. Acquisition of this portion was completed on February 10, 1997, when Congress, through a Legislative Taking, acquired the last privately held interest.

San Clemente, San Nicolas and San Miguel are owned by the U.S. Government, although San Miguel is managed by Channel Islands National Park. Currently, military activity occurs on the islands of San Clemente and San Nicolas.

Among many things that make the Channel Islands special are plants and animals found on the California Channel Islands, which are found nowhere else on earth. In addition, hundreds of miles of unspoiled coastline surrounding these islands offer undisturbed habitats to colonies of sea birds, seals and sea lions.

In 1980, in recognition of he significant marine life and resources around the Channel Islands, the waters within six nautical miles of the four Northern Channel Islands and Santa Barbara Island were declared Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. This includes about 1,252 square nautical miles of habitat. It is administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

All of the islands with the exceptions of San Clemente Island and San Nicolas Island have available public transportation by boat and/or by air. Transportation within Channel Islands National Park is provided by boat concessionaire, Island Packers, Inc. and air concessionaire, Channel Islands Aviation.

With a permit and/or reservations, camping is allowed on Santa Catalina, Anacapa, the east end of Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, Santa Barbara, and San Miguel Islands. Channel Islands National Park issues camping permits.

Island Packers transports campers by boat to all Park Islands. The Catalina Travel Connection, Hermit’s Gulch and Doug Bombard Enterprises, and the Cove and Camp Agency issue permits for Santa Catalina Island.