Explore Santa Cruz Island’s Sea Caves

Fog rising off of Santa Cruz Island, part of Channel Island National Park.

Photo © David Wan, icensed Creative Commons Attribution.

At 96 square miles, Santa Cruz Island is the largest island within Channel Islands National Park. There is a lot to see on land, from the old ranching equipment at the Scorpion Ranch Complex to the stunning views on the two-mile round-trip Cavern Point Loop, but the island’s most breathtaking features are the sea caves that riddle the coastline and can be explored by kayak.

The island’s most breathtaking features are the sea caves that riddle the coastline and can be explored by kayak.First off, secure a place for a kayak when reserving your space on Island Packers, the boat concession that transports visitors to the national park from Ventura Harbor or Oxnard Harbor. Then you can rent a kayak from the Channel Islands Kayak Center, conveniently located next to the Island Packers’ Ventura and Oxnard locations. It’s also possible to sign up for a two-person island cave tour with Channel Islands Kayak Center.

Once you’re out on Santa Cruz Island, paddle to the left out of Scorpion Anchorage. In no time, you’ll see all sorts of sea caves ripe for exploration. Be sure to wear a helmet to protect your head—waves and ocean surge can rapidly change the height of Santa Cruz’s sea caves.

Exploring the sea caves of Santa Cruz island via kayak.

Exploring the sea caves of Santa Cruz island via kayak. Photo © David Wan, icensed Creative Commons Attribution.

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