Anacapa Island Day Trip / Carmen Varner // Travel Influencer, Blogging Coach, Social Media Consultant

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Anacapa Island Day Trip

Magic exists in the natural marvels of Channel Islands National Park. Off the coast of Southern California, you'll find five islands: San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, & the smallest of them all, Anacapa Island. Available by boat only, these islands are secluded from the buzzing freeways & cell phone chatter of everyday life. You won't find a Wi-Fi signal out here, but you might find yourself.

Scroll down to learn the answers to: Where is Anacapa Island? How do you get there? What are some things to do on Anacapa Island? Is there camping? Are there hotels in Downtown Oxnard? How can you do an Anacapa Island day trip?


About Carmen

Hello, welcome to my blog! I'm Carmen. I'm a travel writer (also known as a travel blogger or travel influencer). Some of my most popular travel posts are Things to Do at Playas de Tijuana, Mexico, How You Can Visit Central Perk Cafe from Friends, & Your Guide to Oslo, Norway. I prefer black tea over coffee. I've worked with brands & companies such as The French Ministry of Agriculture, KAABOO Del Mar, Queen of the South TV show on USA,  OLLY, & more. You can learn more About Me here.

* Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you click &/or make a purchase through certain links on this site or my social media platforms, I may make a small commission from that click &/or purchase. It's at no additional cost to you. Learn more about my disclosure.

Dolphins near Anacapa Islands Arch on board the Island Packers Channel Islands National Park
A pod of dolphins followed our Island Packers boat on the return trip from Anacapa Island - near Anacapa Arch.

Where is Anacapa Island?

Part of the Channel Islands National Park, you can find Anacapa Islands off the coast of Oxnard, California. Oxnard is 60 miles northwest of Los Angeles; 38 miles south of Santa Barbara. Anacapa Island has three islets named East, Middle, & West Anacapa Islands. However, you aren't permitted to explore all three of them. It's not like you can walk from one island to the next anyway, that's why you need a boat for transportation.

Other things to do in California: Go skydiving & wine tasting in Lompoc, California

 On the way to Anacapa Island on the Island Packers boat whale watching dolphins
Travel to Anacapa Island on the Island Packers boat.

Transportation Around the Islands

I took a majestic boat ride with Island Packers. Arrive at the Oxnard Harbor. Travel time takes about an hour each way. Fred & I downloaded a few episodes of the Dr. Death podcast so we could listen with headphones from our phone. A layer of clouds protected us from the sun & the waves of the ocean. Apparently, the clearer the skies, the choppier the water. The more you know, right?

As we ventured past the Anacapa arch our way back to Oxnard, we saw a pod of dolphins. They swam right next to us. It was a top life experience. Island Packers offers trips to Santa Cruz Island, Santa Rosa Island, Santa Barbara Island, whale watching, & other exciting options.

Once the Island Packers boat docks, adventurers step onto a ladder at Landing Cove then they corral everyone to cover the essential rules of Anacapa Island. After that, get ready for your quads to burn because you have 157 steps to climb. I felt a bit winded but the view from the top was spectacular, the first time you can see what it looks like from the island. You're really stuck out there on a small blip of land in the middle of the ocean, okay well it's about 10 miles off the coast of Oxnard, California.

Other things to do in California: Beach hopping & meditation in Encinitas, California

Animals on Anacapa Island: Western Gulls, Pelicans, Island Fox
Western Gull mama (probably) & cute little spotted chick.

Animals on Anacapa Island: Western Gulls, Pelicans, Island Fox, Oh My!

Visit Anacapa Island from April through mid-August & you'll run into some seabirds, particularly the Western gull. An annoyed gull pooped on Fred's backpack as we walked by its nest. If you're not a fan of birds, guano (bird poop), possible bird carcasses, loud squawking (literally anytime you walk by a nest or chicks), questionable smells, then avoid voyaging to the island during this time frame. However, if you want to experience an absolutely remarkable natural phenomenon, then mark your calendarbook a ticket. You might spot brown pelicans, cormorants, pigeon guillemots, western gulls, California sea lions, harbor seals. I saw pelicans, Western gulls, sea lions, & dolphins!

Animals on Anacapa Island: Western Gulls, Pelicans, Island Fox, Sea lions Island Packers boat tour whale watching
Sea lions relaxing & making a bunch of noise in a private cove.

Anacapa Island Camping

We only did a day trip on the island, but there are Anacapa Island camping options. We saw several campers already setup from the day before. There were a couple campers who left on the evening boat out for the day. The campsites are "primitive." That's the wording from the National Park Service website, but I'd called them minimal or bare. 

Anacapa Island provides picnic tables, food storage boxes, & pit toilets for use. But ultimately, you need to take all trash with you as there are no rubbish bins. The island has 7 campsites that fit 4-6 people per site. Reservations are required, so you can't just decide you're having a great time staring at the baby Western Gulls & have a sleepover. Check campsite availability on Recreation.com, the official website to make your Anacapa Island camping reservations.

Is There Food, Drink, & Water on Anacapa Island?

No, make sure to bring everything you need with you. There's no food, drink, or water on the island. We brought a couple liters of water, sandwich or pita pockets, chips, fruit, granola bar, & some chocolate in a backpack for our Anacapa Island day trip. You must take all garbage with you; we simply put it in our backpack to throw away once we got back to Oxnard.

Things to Do on Anacapa Island Water Sports   Picnicking   Hiking   Camping   Bird-Watching Historic & Cultural Site Information Site Photography Ranger Station Snorkeling Swimming Visitor Center Wildlife Viewing Water Access Scuba Diving Whale-Watching
Things to Do on Anacapa Island: Hiking, Bird-Watching, Camping.

Things to Do on Anacapa Island

We walked the entire trail around the island, saw the Anacapa Island lighthouse, marveled at the views from Inspiration Point, got pooped on by a Western Gull (well, Fred did at least), picnicked with a panoramic ocean view. Despite the boat full of people we arrived on the island with, we were able to have many private, secluded moments. 

Activities to Do on Anacapa Island

Water Sports 
Picnicking 
Hiking 
Camping 
Bird-Watching
Historic & Cultural Site Information Site 
Photography 
Ranger Station 
Snorkeling 
Swimming 
Visitor Center 
Wildlife Viewing 
Water Access 
Scuba Diving 
Whale-Watching

Ocean view Embassy Suites Mandalay Beach Hotel & Resort Things to do in Oxnard, California
Our ocean view room from Embassy Suites Mandalay Beach Hotel & Resort in Oxnard, California.


Where to Stay (Besides Camping on Anacapa Island): Embassy Suites Mandalay Beach Hotel & Resort

I stayed at the Embassy Suites Mandalay Beach Hotel & Resort with a remarkable ocean view. Our spacious two-room suite Mandalay Beach Hotel is a good option for kids, families, & couples.  They have a spa, fitness center, huge pool. I took advantage of Happy Hour by the pool. Just show your wristbands & order your drink. I grabbed the house wine while Fred opted for their beer on tap. We sipped our beverages along with the dozens of other people doing the same thing on a Friday evening. Make sure to eat the made-to-order brekkie at the Coastal Grill in the morning.

Hotels in Oxnard


Take a look at some of the hotels in Downtown Oxnard. You can customize what day you'll arrive/leave & how many people in your group. You can even expand your hotel search to include Oxnard & surrounding areas:


Booking.com

Things to Do in Oxnard, CA

You can spend the entire day or weekend admiring nature in Oxnard. There are endless things to do in Oxnard, California as far as strolls by the beach, kayaking, exploring the Channel Islands National Park, & thriving outside. Visit Oxnard has some fabulous suggestions if you need more inspiration for places to stay, where to dine, things to do, & local events in Oxnard.

Other Fun Stuff

The National Parks Service (NPS) even has a few live camera feeds so you can see what's going on. Take a look at the Bald Eagle Cam.

Pin this image on Pinterest - Day Trip to Anacapa Island
Pin this image on Pinterest - Day Trip to Anacapa Island.

Have a question? Comment below & I will answer the best I can. Let me know if you've visited Anacapa Island. Would the birds scare you off? :]

11 comments

  1. Lucky you! Looks so fun!

    Briana
    https://beyoutifulbrunette.com/

    ReplyDelete
  2. what a beautiful place to visit, it looks so peaceful. LOVE nature <3
    Pam xo/ Pam Scalfi♥

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  3. The sea lions are so cute! I love islands where the wildlife is preserved and you can feel the nature around you. Thank you for sharing about Anacapa Island, I'd never heard about it before and it's a beautiful place :)

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  4. What a beautiful place!! The sea lions honestly just make it a paradise. Thanks for sharing!

    Lindifique

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  5. What a beautiful place for a day trip! Love your photos, especially seeing the sea lions!

    Jill - Doused in Pink

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  6. This nature is very stunning! I always love to see dolphins, they're so cute.


    xx Simone
    Little Glittery Box

    ReplyDelete
  7. Carrie @ Curly Crafty MomAugust 14, 2019 at 2:35 PM

    I just love all of these wildlife photos and you look so cute in that bright top! Beautiful place!

    Carrie
    curlycraftymom.com

    ReplyDelete
  8. What a fun trip indeed! Lovely snaps dear!
    Jessica | notjessfashion.com

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  9. I've never heard of this island, but it sounds like a great place for a day trip. I'd love seeing all the wildlife.
    x, Julie | ThisMainLineLife.com

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  10. This all looks so gorgeous Hun, love your pictures!! x

    Grace Louise || http://gracelouiseofficial.blogspot.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
  11. This looks like such a fun day trip! I can't believe how beautiful the shots of the animals you saw are! My boyfriend and I recently started taking day trips within a couple hours of where we live and it such a great way to disconnect!

    Jill
    https://jilliancecilia.com/

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for reading & writing. :] // ▲

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