The Channel Islands: A Sea Kayaking Guide

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Anacapa and Santa Barbara Islands have more moderate winds. Winds are often calm in the early morning and increase during the afternoon. Generally the wind comes from the northwest, but kayakers must be also be prepared for strong east or Santa Ana winds at anytime, especially from September through April. Dense fog is common during the summer months, but may occur at any time, making chart and compass navigation mandatory.

Ocean currents of considerable strength may be encountered both near and offshore from the islands. There are closed and restricted areas on each island.

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Please note that rocks or islets on or near any of the islands are closed year-round to any landing and pets are not allowed in the park. Please click here link to Park Regulations and Guidelines for more information on regulations and guidelines.

Channel Islands Kayaking Day Trip

A permit is not required to land or hike on Santa Barbara Island. Access to the island is permitted only at the landing cove.

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The landing dock is available for unloading purposes only. No craft, including kayaks and inflatables, should be left moored to the dock.

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West Anacapa except Frenchys Cove is a protected research natural area and is closed to visitors. Visitors are allowed on Middle Anacapa by permit only and when accompanied by a park ranger. Due to surf and swell conditions, boaters should use extreme caution when making surf-landings at any beach, especially Smugglers Cove and those beaches facing south and southeast between San Pedro Point and Sandstone Point. A fee is charged and no overnight island use is permitted.

Channel Islands Coastal Camping and Sea Kayaking

Boaters may land along coastline and on beaches without a permit for day-use only. Beaches between and including Skunk Point and East Point are closed from March 1st to September 15th in order to protect the threatened snowy plover.


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The beaches around Sandy Point are closed year-round. A pier is available at Bechers Bay. Kayakers may land only on the beach at Cuyler Harbor. Visitors may walk the beach at Cuyler Harbor and hike up Nidever Canyon to the ranger station. To hike beyond the ranger station, visitors must be escorted by a ranger and have a permit.

Channel Islands National Park

Call prior to mainland departure to obtain a permit. Blog Twitter! Santa Barbara Harbor is always a fun choice for a quick ocean jaunt.

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For the ultimate sea kayaking adventure, make sure to plan a trip to Channel Islands National Park, which possesses some of the best coastal kayaking in the world. With unbeatable views, delicious dining and dozens of exciting activities, the Santa Barbara Harbor is the perfect place to spend the day by—or, better yet, on—the water.


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    Kayaking is the best way to see The Channel Islands up-close and personal. Photo Credit: Instagram Fan sbadventure. Beautiful marine life, pristine kelp forests, and hidden sea caves along The Channel Island's rugged coastline make it hard to stay away.


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