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part ofChannel Islands National Park, National Park Service
Status: Open through Thu Dec 31 2015   Season Dates


Santa Barbara lies much further south than the other four Channel Islands and is the smallest, measuring just one square mile. The island is adored by sea birds as well as campers looking for a peaceful island getaway.

Sea bird colonies flourish here, and efforts to restore the overall bird habitat is a top priority. The island is one of the most important seabird nesting sites in the region. Its cliffs are home to endangered brown pelicans, three species of cormorants, three species of storm-petrels, and one of the world's largest colonies of Xantus's Murrelets.

Sea lions and seals are also very popular inhabitants of Santa Barbara Island, feeding on the rich kelp forests. A special plant to look out for is the Santa Barbara Island liveforever, a rare succulent plant that grows on the island's rocky bluffs.

Natural Features:

Steep cliffs on this small island rise above rocky shores and give way to a grassy mesa flanked with twin peaks. The highest point, Signal Peak, is 635 feet in elevation.


Wildlife viewing opportunities include California sea lions, harbor seals and northern elephant seals. Among the many birds, look out for the horned lark, orange-crowned warbler and house finch, three birds found only on Santa Barbara Island. Hiking trails circle the island, and it's common to see nesting gulls just off the trail.


Camping is primitive and campers must bring their own food, equipment and water. From the boat drop, the campground is reached via a challenging half-mile hike up stairs and steep inclines.

Nearby Attractions:

The Landing Cove is an ideal place for snorkeling. Common sightings include sea urchins, orange Garibaldi fish and brightly-colored sea stars.

Activities and Amenities

Within Facility
  • Boating
  • Educational Programs
  • Hiking
  • Picnic Area
  • Pit Toilets
  • Ranger Station
  • Swimming
  • Visitor Center
Know Before You Go
  • Boat transportation arrangements to island are required before making campsite reservation
  • Campsites must be reserved prior to arrival
  • Steep 1/4-mile hike to campground; Must carry all gear
  • Primitive camping: Bring low profile tents, drinking water and extra food in case of weather delays
  • No beach camping or off-trail hiking
  • Food storage lockers are available
  • Alcohol permitted in campground
  • Smoking allowed only on the dock
  • To protect resources, no cardboard or corrugated boxes are allowed on the island
  • No stores or services on island
  • No pets or vehicles
  • No fires, campstoves only
  • No firearms or fireworks allowed on the island
  • No fishing in state marine reserves. California fishing license and ocean enhancement sticker required
  • Due to Hantavirus in mice, take precautions to reduce exposure to rodents
  • Upon arrival, meet ranger (if available) at landing dock or visitor center; Please bring confirmation letter or receipt with you
  • Kayakers: ocean conditions can rapidly change; experts only
  • Getting There:

    GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude):
    33.47985, -119.02989
    33°28'47"N, 119°1'48"W

    Island can only be reached by boat transportation.

    Contact Information:

    Mailing Address:

    1901 Spinnaker Drive
    Ventura  CA  93001

    Phone Number:

    Information:  (805)658-5730
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