Best Islands of California To Visit in 2018

  • UPDATED Aug 02, 2018

California is all about the Beaches, mountains, deserts, valleys, islands, and heritage buildings. No wonder, it has got abundance of beauty that nature has rendered to this beautiful state and the best of all are the islands that are worth exploring in the state. The islands offer people an opportunity of exploring some of the adventure activities, some blissful things, camping, exploring the scenic and panoramic beauty, and restaurants. This state gets you the best ever list of islands that are worth a hit. Have a look at the list we have created for you:

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1. Enjoy watching Blue Whales at Santa Cruz Island

Santa Cruz Island in California is one of the best islands you need to visit if you are out to have a one-day outing, or maybe an overnight camping, or enjoying some of the recreational activities. This is the place where you will find a good number of blue whales on the planet. There are a number of activities that one can pursue being here that are:


There are dozens of sea caves that are waiting to be explored. Come and witness them along with a kayak tour that you will definitely going to enjoy. With the kayak guiding tour, you will enjoy approximately 1-5 hours of paddling. The caves and mesmerizing cliffs will keep you engrossed.


This is the place that will get you the most wonderful snorkelling experience. Enjoy the California sea lions, and the Garibaldi, along with panoramic glimpses.


Find the spectacular hiking opportunities here as there are mountainous paths and flat surfaces.

Some of the other activities that one can enjoy here are fishing, wildlife witnessing, whale watching, and camping. Ventura and Santa Barbara centres are easily accessible and you can reach Santa Cruz island by Park concessionaire boats and planes.

2. Adventurous activities at Anacapa Island

This island is comprised of three islets that look like a mirage. You can only be able to access these three islets by boat. Here you can witness sea cliffs, sea caves, bridges, and Channel Islands National Park. The island’s native vegetation and wildlife are also worth witnessing. You can explore the whole of the island in just half-a-day. You can do the following things once you are here:


Camping is available here and you will be provided with food storage box, pit toilet, and picnic table. This can be an experience to count on.

Water sports

There are numerous water sports here that one can opt, be it kayaking, snorkelling, diving, or swimming. It is a cliff island and hence water is accessible only at the Landing Cove on East Anacapa via a dock.

Wildlife Viewing

You will love watching seabirds like brown pelicans, pigeon guillemots, and sea lions. You will surely feel blissful watching the wildlife, as well as plants here as naturally this is a very beautiful place to be.

concessionaire boats and planes or private boat are the only ways that you can reach here from the mainland visitor centres in Ventura and Santa Barbara.

3. Picnic at Santa Rosa Island will Rejuvenate you

This is the second largest island in California and is just three hours boat ride away from Ventura. This is the place that you should hit if you are looking for isolation or adventure. The flora here is worth watching and you will love hiking here. 


Yes, this is indeed a perfect place for picnic and you can avail picnic tables at Water Canyon Beach. This could be a perfect family outing with kids and they will surely love this.

Water sports

Swimming, snorkelling, diving, and kayaking are some of the water sports that the experiences ones of you can go for and will surely love doing. However, surfing can be done at many locations on this island and will be worth doing.


Here you can have lovely hiking opportunities ranging from flat surface to the mountainous path, you will have experiences to share once you are here.

You can be here in three hours via a boat ride from venture. If you don’t have this much of time, worry not as Channel Islands Aviation flies here that takes merely 25 minutes and you can be here at this worthful place.

4. Water sports at Santa Catalina Island are Thrilling

The rocky island of Santa Catalina is a blissful place. The lovely stretch of coastline between the island and the Southern California makes you feel overwhelmed and mesmerized. This is the place that will cater to all of your visiting demands, be it sightseeing, water sports, or plenty of delicious sea food. There are enormous activities that you can pursue when you are here and they include:

Catalina Aerial Adventure

This is a unique outdoor experience as you are deep in the woods, climbing on trees, swinging, and sliding from one tree to another, along with a series of obstacles suspended high.

Catalina Wall Climbing

This is an exciting activity where you will be climbing a 32- feet of rock along with color-coded routes. Just take a deep breath and challenge yourself to attain goals.

Zip Line Eco Tour

This ziplining experience takes you 600 feet above the ground and you will enjoy the enchanting ocean views. This will take two hours and there will be guides who will share interesting facts about this place.

You can take a Catalina Express ferry that will take an hour from Long Beach, San Pedro, or Dana Point, or the Catalina Flyer from Newport Beach. The other more convenient option that you have is a helicopter ride that will take 15 minutes in total that starts from San Pedro or Long Beach.

5. The lovely cliffs of Santa Barbara Island

This island is a little deceptive as if you get to see this from quite a distance, you will find it to be a barren land. It is a small island which is triangular in shape and has cliffs too. The flora and fauna of this place are enchanting. The blooming yellow flowers are the reasons that people come to the smallest island of California.


You can be a part of interpretive program that offers you guided hikes offered by national park volunteers or concessionaire naturalists. 


Rugged cliffs to gentle slopes, this island will get you the best ever hiking experience. The magnificent coastal views get you spellbound.


There are approximately 10 sites available for picnic and you need to make the reservations in advance. Pit toilets are there, but water is not. So, make sure that you carry your stock. Once you are here, you need to stay for a minimum of three days because of the boat schedule.

It will take a three-hour boat ride for you to reach the island from Ventura Harbor. towering eucalyptus runs approximately a dozen trips each year.

No matter what, you surely need to visit these islands as you will feel engrossed to have come here. The activities like snorkelling, hiking, camping, surfing, and swimming will refresh you and you need a day out that soothe you well.