Channel Islands Kayaking

Channel Islands Kayaking: Elephant's Belly Cave
Only 90 miles from one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world rests an ancient island chain known as the Channel Islands. It is a world renown kayaking destination, known particularly for it vast sea caves! See vast marine life & snorkel!

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Details of Channel Islands Kayaking, Santa Barbara, California Kayaking & Canoeing Details for Channel Islands Kayaking

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No Experience Necessary. Have have many different offerings that range from 1hr, 2.5hr, 5hr, to multi-day camping, kayaking and snorkeling adventures! You may see various types of whales & other marine life on the ferry crossing over to the Channel Islands National Park. The Channel Islands National Park is known for it's large density of navigable Sea Caves. The oldest Human remains found anywhere in North America was discovered here, a Chumash woman over 12,500 yrs old! Come explore with knowledgable guides, sea lion, garibaldi, sea stars, bald eagles and more!

Typical Day

Start with some whale watching:
The ferry that takes you to the islands is operated by Island Packers out of Ventura Harbor. You will be aboard one of their very stable high-speed catamarans for the 1 hour journey to Santa Cruz Island. As you cross the marine rich Santa Barbara Channel the captain and crew keep a look-out for wildlife, including Humpback, California Gray, and Killer Whales! It is a common occurrence to find ourselves among MEGA-PODS of dolphins. For total enjoyment, it is best to enjoy a very light breakfast of fruit, saving a nice snack for your arrival at the island.

Gearing up for a Sea Cave Adventure:
Upon arrival at Santa Cruz Island your guide/s will show you to the Channel Islands Outfitters (CIO) base camp where picnic tables, locked storage, and all of the gear we will need for the day of kayaking are located. Each kayaker will be handed a 3mm farmer john style wetsuit that is sized specifically, so be honest with heights and weights. Wetsuits are necessary for protection from the rocks and the sharp things living on them. It can also be a little chilly and most guests find the wetsuit quite comfortable.

Exploring Sea Caves by Kayak:
What you've been waiting for all day! We won't spoil it here, but it's safe to say this 2 1/2 hr sea cave journey is an experience that you will not be able to compare with anything else. We've heard people say "It's like Disneyland!"... but the honest truth is Disneyland comes to the sea caves at Santa Cruz for ideas!

The Rest of Your Day:
Following your unforgettable kayaking adventure there is typically free time. In their free time, guests may enjoy going snorkeling, searching for Santa Cruz Island Fox, or enjoying a nice picnic lunch on the beach. The ferry will arrive late in the afternoon to pick adventurers up and return them to Ventura Harbor by 5:30.

Quick Facts:

Single OR Double (Tandem) Kayaks available at no additional cost. These are Sit-On-Top kayaks for use in sea caves.You can make a request ahead of time or decide on the island based on the conditions.
All paddlers over 5 yrs old who can swim are welcome.
While we would love to cook you a wonderful lunch, at this time we are not permitted to do so... please bring your own lunch, snacks, and water.
All sea cave kayaking and snorkeling gear is provided. This includes wetsuit, paddle jacket.

Age range, type of group

8 to as long as you have an adventurous spirit and are physically fit!

Sleeping and meals

Camping is available online


No pets, sorry!

Rates & Availability

Camping is $20/night

Other Information

Ferry tickets are sold separately.

Seasons at Santa Cruz Island:
Spring is when the island is in full bloom and the marine mammals and nesting sea birds are actively rearing and fledging their young respectively. (Kayaking, Backpacking, Hiking, Camping)
Summer and Fall is dryer but the sea is much calmer making sea caving a great adventure. (Kayaking, Snorkeling, Backpacking, Hiking, Camping)
Winter can be an amazing time to visit, but sea conditions are more variable. If a trip is possible in the Winter, it is always worth the effort and planning! (Kayaking, Hiking, Backpacking, Camping)

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