AskPatty's Guide to 12 Great National Parks: Channel Islands National Park, California
Comprised of five in a chain of eight southern California islands near Los Angeles, Channel Islands National Park is home to a wide variety of nationally and internationally significant natural and cultural resources. Established as a national park in 1980, the Channel Islands are home to over 2,000 plant and animal species, of which 145 are found nowhere else in the world. Surrounded by a mile of coastline, the islands offer access to marine life ranging from microscopic plankton to the endangered blue whale, the largest animal to live on earth.
The park consists of 249,354 acres, half of which are under the ocean, and include the islands of San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, Anacapa, and Santa Barbara. Even though the islands seem tantalizingly close to the densely populated, southern California coast, isolation over thousands of years has created unique animals, plants, and archeological resources found nowhere else on Earth and helped preserve a place where visitors can experience coastal southern California as it once was; in fact, archeological and cultural resources span a period of more than 10,000 years. The Channel Islands are ideal for quiet, uninterrupted time with family and friends with wonderful places to hike, camp, snorkel, kayak, birdwatch, take photographs, sketch, or just relax to the soothing sounds of the natural world.
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