Contact Channel Islands National Park, 1901 Spinnaker Dr., Ventura, CA 93001 (tel. 805/658-5730; www.nps.gov/chis).
For information on Ventura, try the Ventura Visitors & Convention Bureau, 101 S. California St., Ventura, CA 93001 (tel. 800/483-6214 or 805/648-2075; www.ventura-usa.com).
The main visitor center for the islands is on the mainland, in Ventura Harbor, where you'll also find the park headquarters. Visit the Robert J. Lagomarsino Channel Islands Visitor Center, 1901 Spinnaker Dr., Ventura, CA 93001 (tel. 805/658-5730), to get acquainted with the various programs and individual personalities of the islands through maps and displays. A wide variety of publications are available; among the most helpful are the free handouts focusing on the individual islands. The center is open daily from 8:30am to 5pm (closed Thanksgiving and Dec 25). The visitor center on the mainland in Santa Barbara at the Outdoors Santa Barbara Visitor Center, 113 Harbor Way, 4th floor, Santa Barbara, CA 93109 (tel. 805/884-1475), is open daily from 10am to 5pm.
Anacapa, Santa Cruz, and Santa Barbara islands also have smaller visitor centers with exhibits and other information. Rangers and volunteers run interpretive programs on the islands and the mainland year-round.
The park does not charge entrance fees, but you should consider the cost of getting to the islands when planning your budget. There is a nightly $15-per-site charge for camping on all five islands; you must make reservations.
Special Regulations & Warnings
The islands' relative inaccessibility makes preplanning a must. The boat concessionaires are often booked a month or so in advance, so be sure to make reservations. Also remember to bring anything you might need (including water, food, and equipment if you're camping). If you're camping, bring a good tent. If you don't know the difference between a good and a bad tent, the island wind will gladly demonstrate.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.