Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary

Just off the coast of Oxnard, await the waters that swirl around the five islands within Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary protects 1,470 square miles of ocean waters around the Northern Channel Islands: Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, San Miguel, and Santa Barbara islands.

The sanctuary provides protection for endangered species, sensitive habitats, historic shipwrecks, and cultural resources, through research, education, conservation, and stewardship. Known as the “Galapagos of North America”, Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary is a place of converging warm and cool currents that provide nutrients to support one of the most biologically diverse concentrations of marine life in the world. Visitors to Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary can enjoy recreational opportunities such as tidepooling, fishing, diving, snorkeling and kayaking.

This natural viewing gallery hosts over 27 species of whales and dolphins, including the rare blue whale, humpback whales and gray 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.

Dive Giant Kelp or historic shipwrecks: 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.

Santa Barbara Channel - Whale Heritage Area

The Santa Barbara Channel has recently earned the title of the 9th Whale Heritage Area (WHA) in the world, a recognition for destinations that excel in supporting cetaceans and their ocean environments. Spearheaded by the World Cetacean Alliance in collaboration with World Animal Protection, the WHA program seeks to formally acknowledge and accredit areas that showcase the relationship between cetaceans and humans. They're dedicated to promoting responsible ecotourism, enhancing ocean education and advancing conservation efforts.

Visitor Centers

Visitors can find information about Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary at the following Oxnard- Channel Islands Harbor locations:

For getting to the sanctuary and for information on whale watching, fishing, kayaking, boating and scuba diving charters and island tour operators, check with local businesses within Oxnard's Channel Islands Harbor.

Ocean Etiquette

Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary needs your help in promoting responsible encounters with marine wildlife and their habitats in national marine sanctuaries. Please visit ocean etiquette to learn more about how you can recreate responsibly.