Beyond Catalina: Exploring the Channel Islands by Powerboat

One fabulous boating adventure that exists off the Southern California coast is the Channel Islands National Park. It’s important to note that this is not a novice boater’s destination. Shifting fog, currents, swells, and winds can get an inexperienced captain into trouble quickly. However, for those with the skills, it is an incomparable adventure. If you are interested in purchasing a used boat for Southern California sailing trips, check out the current inventory of boats at Ballast Point Yachts.

The Channel Islands National Park consists of five islands: Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, San Miguel, and Santa Barbara. Depending on the kind of activity your interested in, different islands are great for different kinds of explorers.


Has a rich archaeological history, and its small two-mile trail system makes Anacapa one of the best day-trip islands on the archipelago.

Santa Cruz

The largest in the chain and Santa Cruz has longer trails and more diversity of climate. It is also busier, as the park brings visitors from the mainland twice daily.

Santa Rosa

Also large, but more remote. It is broken up by a central mountain range and has been the home of many cultures, from the Chumash Indians to Aleut Sea Otter hunters. At one time Santa Rosa was even a military installation.

San Miguel

Mostly a wind-swept plateau, and is one of the largest hangouts for seals and sea-lions in the area. If you have younger sailors on board with you, San Miguel is always a favorite.

Santa Barbara Island

The smallest, at only one square mile. It is a haven for wildflowers and seabirds alike, making Santa Barbara Island the perfect destination for the nature enthusiast.


It’s destinations like the Channel Islands that remind boat owners why they even considered buying a used boat in the first place. The Islands are a wonderful source of diving, fishing and sightseeing. From lovely rock arches to kayak through, to whale and wildlife watching, the sights are spectacular. It is known as one of the top destinations for diving in the state of California, as there are a number of volcanic reef formations that provide great wildlife habitat. Love to fish? Don’t worry. Fishing spots are also plentiful, although keep a look out for marine protected areas throughout the islands; there are thirteen that prohibit fishing.

The Channel Islands are open year-round however the season you choose to visit will depend on which activity you are most interested in. For instance, there are generally more whales in the winter and spring, but hiking may be more pleasant in the summer. And if you’re thinking about staying in the area, the larger islands have good anchorages for staying and there are no fees for mooring.

For more information about sailing around the Channel Islands, contact Ballast Point Yachts at 619-222-3620 or visit our website at for information about buying or selling a used boat in San Diego.