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Unforgettable Santa Cruz Island Adventure

We visited as a guest of Ventura

Darice Hiking in the Channel Islands

An adventurer at heart, visiting Santa Cruz Island was the favorite day of our journey in discovering Ventura County. Rising early was a breeze, just like a little kid off to play and the explore an island!

Island Packers Boat

Upon arrival at Ventura Harbor, we were greeted by Cherryl from Island Packers, the boat that will take us on the quick hour trip across the sea. Island Packers has been in business for 47 years, as we learned Cherryl’s dad owned the company which she enthusiastically continues to oversee. The boat will carry 100 people max, so make sure you reserve early.

Getting Ready to board the Island Packers Boat

A few helpful tidbits to know before traveling on your island adventure, especially if you plan on staying awhile to enjoy the islands. You can purchase food and beverages on the boat, however, we wanted some healthy choices along for the ride; a few of us had some dietary limitations. Choosing to bring our own breakfast and lunch; provided by Channel Islands Provisions. Their service is golden, as your meals are individually packed out; along with linen napkins and even real silverware, we loved the sweet little touches.

Breakfast on our way to the Channel Islands

It’s a calm, relaxing boat ride this morning with a slight coolness in the air. As we sit on the top level of the boat; harbor now in the far distance. At about the halfway mark, the boat begins to slow, and we stop. A flurry of excitement! What’s going on?

Adorable Harbor Seals

Dolphins! Not just a few, but thousands! Seriously, at least a thousand on the surface and stretching far into the distance. We learned that for every dolphin we see on the surface, there are five beneath. Wow! They swim, play, chatter, and jump; dolphins everywhere. While taking in all of this beauty, more excitement emerges as we can now see two humpback whales and a minka whale. Being nature lovers and having such compassion for sea life, we were in such awe and smiling from ear to ear.


After all that excitement, we continue towards Santa Cruz Island. Arriving at Scorpion Landing ready to take in some hiking and sea kayaking. Although newbies at ocean kayaking, we definitely have the “let’s do this” attitude. Yay!

Santa Cruz Island

Kayaking in the waters around the island is extremely peaceful. We’ve never quite experienced anything like it before. While you may feel vulnerable in the ocean, our guide never took any chances and above all, our safety was first and foremost.

Channel Islands National Park

At the sea caves, we were able to stop and observe the natural environment surrounding us. Birds were swooping down to catch their lunch right beside the seals resting on the rock at the entrance of a cave. You close your eyes for a moment, aware of how incredibly quiet it is; opening them again to take in your view. It’s cathartic; drifting, paddling gently and allowing the experience of exploration. This is a must in our book to do when you come visit.

Channel Island Kayaks

Returning to land with all smiles, we enjoy our array of lunch options we had catered. Savory turkey sandwiches & delicious seafood sandwiches to a kale salad with brightly colored vegetables. We needed fuel for our upcoming hike. Nature somehow revs up your appetite and everything tastes great!


Choosing a hike that allowed us to take in the ocean view up top along the perimeter of Santa Cruz Island was perfect! We were able to see the island from a different perspective, and we loved the contrast of sea vs. land. The views were breathtaking! Of course, a great photo opportunity! Mmm, take a deep breath and enjoy!

Hiking in the Channel Islands

Spending 6 hours on Santa Cruz was a fair amount of time and could certainly see staying longer. On your visit, take the time to research the many trails available and find what you want your adventure to consist of; whether big or small, it’s incredible.


While traveling back on the boat to Ventura Harbor, we shared how the day was so memorable and fun! We’ve now crossed something off the bucket list too! It seems another visit will be in the future to go back to explore one of the other Islands; with so much hiking, camping, snorkeling and sea kayaking; these adventurers can’t wait!!

Darice is a very active mother of a gorgeous daughter. Darice, enjoys a career in sales, surrounded by many friends and family; always taking on another opportunity for growing and networking. A people person who embraces trying new things, helping others, a social butterfly and enjoys cheering on her niece and nephew at soccer and/or volleyball games.
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