Photo Credit: Bob Perry

There are 12,843 square miles of national marine sanctuaries on the West Coast; these marine protected areas are found in the Channel Islands, Cordell Bank, Greater Farallones, Monterey Bay and Olympic Coast. Each of the five west coast national marine sanctuaries is a jewel unto itself.

Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary 1,110 square nautical miles (1,470 square miles) of water from mean high tide to six nautical miles offshore of Santa Barbara, Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, and San Miguel islands. The sanctuary is a special place for species close to extinction, sensitive habitats, shipwrecks and maritime heritage artifacts. Many valuable commercial and recreational activities, such as fishing, shipping, and tourism occur in the sanctuary.

Whale watch and wildlife enthusiasts can discover over 27 species of whales and dolphins, including rare blue and humpback whales. On the islands, seabird colonies and groups of breeding seals and sea lions flourish. Brown Pelicans and Western Gulls glide overhead, among the 60 species of birds that grace the local skies. Take advantage of the friendly and knowledgeable Channel Islands Naturalist Corps volunteers, who lead tours on whale watch vessels and island hikes at Channel Islands National Park throughout the year.
On the surface there are hundreds of reasons to explore the Channel Islands – and thousands more beneath it. Strap on your snorkel or SCUBA gear to wander among the forests of giant kelp that provide refuge to numerous fish and invertebrates. Take in scenery that makes the area a favorite among underwater photographers. Explore the depths that have claimed over 150 historic shipwrecks … and only 25 have been discovered! Fortunately, many of the shipwrecks in Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary are accessible to divers at depths appealing to a variety of skill levels.

Visitor Centers: Visitors can find information about Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary at the following local visitor centers, museums and aquariums:
• California Welcome Center, Central Coast – Oxnard
• Channel Islands Boating Center
• Sea Center Aquarium
• Santa Barbara Maritime Museum
• Channel Islands National Park Visitor Center

Reservations & Information

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