Channel Islands National Park in California
Located off the coast of Santa Barbara and Ventura counties in California, the Channel Islands National Park consists of five islands: San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Anacapa, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz. They're open year-round, but go January to March for the best gray whale migration, and April to September for blue whale and humpback whale sightings.
How To Get There: Trips to the island are available through the official Island Packers ferry that departs from the Ventura and Oxnard harbors. These boat excursions fill up especially fast during whale-watching season. Should you prefer to fly, the Camarillo airport takes visitors to Santa Rosa Island. Kayaks are allowed on the islands — perfect for exploring the many sea caves in the channel — but once you arrive, be prepared to traverse each island only by foot. Camping is available year-round, but only Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa islands have potable water, so plan accordingly.