Travel by air is quick, travel by bus is economical, but travel by car is my favourite. It allows you the freedom to set your own schedule and to really explore. I had a few stops planned on our way to Pacific Grove during our California road trip but Channel Islands National Park wasn't on my radar until the last minute when we made plans to meet family for a picnic lunch at the visitor center.
Channel Islands National Park includes five islands not far off the mainland yet are isolated enough to sustain life not found anywhere else in the world! Kind of like the Galapagos islands of North America. We were able to explore the visitor center, native plant garden and marina but there is so much more to see here! The trick is to give yourself enough time to visit the islands, only accessible by boat. The furthest island, San Miguel, is a 4 hour boat ride away. On it's 27 miles of coastline you can find thousands of seals and sea lions basking in the sun. Here you can also take an ancient look at the habitat of the pigmy mammoth, and over 11 thousand year old native Churmash archeological sites.
The waters surrounding the islands are prime for spotting marine life, with 27 sighted species including orcas, dolphins, grey, blue and humpback whales! Oh my heart! I think it would be well worth spending the day just relaxing and exploring this very unique National park.
The marina was a lovely spot for a picnic. Luke and Eve enjoyed the visitor center which included a giant elephant seal model and some native star fish among other interesting displays. We took a walk through the native plant garden and I admired some prickly cactuses & succulents. They sure grow 'em bigger here than we can at home!
This post was inspired by the National Parks Service Find Your Park campaign which encourages visitors to share their favourite park at FindYourPark.com or by using #FindYourPark on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Every story uploaded to the site automatically enters the author into the Centennial Project Contest which has a ton of cool prizes, one of which is collaborating with a Find Your Park brand ambassador to build a passion project! We think it's a fantastic way to encourage people to take advantage of what wonders lie in our very own back yards. Check it out friends!
All Photos in this article taken by Jill & Todd Munro @ luneblog.com