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Day Tripping: Anacapa Island at Channel Islands National Park

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Thousands may see it from the beaches of Zuma and Malibu, but the experience of the isolated Anacapa Island is a world away, chock full of dramatic views, beautiful sunsets and sunrises and a fascinating history from the Chumash Indians to failed attempts at farming.

The volcanic rock sticks out of the Pacific Ocean, 14 miles off the coast, and is inhabited mainly by sea lions, harbor seals, western gulls and brown pelicans. Save for the occasional park ranger or scientist, campers may experience being the only people on the island overnight.

Being closest to shore, Anacapa is one of the most visited in Channel Islands National Park. A $45 round-trip boat fare ($58 for campers) from Oxnard or Ventura takes people to the Eastern portion of the 5-mile long island (but it's only about 1 square mile in size), which is split into three parts (east, middle, west). Day trips usually last five or so hours allowing visitors to explore, hike, picnic, snorkel, swim and if arrangements are made prior, scuba dive and kayak (the island has 130 sea caves).