10 beautiful California islands to visit

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What makes California so special? It’s not just the laid-back lifestyle or the high-quality casual lifestyle that sets it apart from the rest. What makes it really special are its treasures. With over 2,400 miles of coastline and countless inland destinations, it can be hard to know where to start when planning a trip to California. California is a place of extremes, and that’s what makes the state an awesome destination. Here are 10 stunning California islands that tourists shouldn’t miss.



ten Alcatraz Island

Alcatraz Island is a small rocky land located in San Francisco Bay. At one time, Alcatraz was home to an infamous federal prison, which housed some of America’s most notorious inmates. Today it is a national park and home to a variety of wildlife.

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Alcatraz Island is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which also includes Fort Point, Fort Winfield Scott, and Baker Beach. It is therefore not surprising that this region attracts many visitors: the landscape alone is worth the detour.

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9 Santa Catalina Island

Santa Catalina Island is the second largest of the Channel Islands, after Santa Barbara Island. The island is known for its many beaches and trails. It is a destination to visit to see surreal sea creatures. One of Santa Catalina Island’s best-known animals is named after him: a fox found only here.

The island has been inhabited since 1602 by Amerindians and then by Spanish missionaries in 1769. But it was not until 1887 that a hotel was built there (Hotel Métropole). Although much of the island remains protected from development, guests can still find various resorts and casinos along its shores today.

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8 Santa Cruz Island

Santa Cruz Island is the largest of the eight Channel Islands and is part of the Channel Islands National Park. It is home to a variety of wildlife, including many endemic plants and animals, such as the island fox. The island has a unique ecosystem that cannot be found anywhere else on earth. It’s an amazing place that people should visit before things go away.

The most famous residents are its blue whales that migrate to this remote paradise every year on their winter migration. Visitors will often see them feeding in groups with dolphins, seabirds and other marine mammals like sea lions or seals.

Tourists interested in history can visit several locations where the following films were filmed: Anacapa Island (Mission: Impossible), San Miguel Island (Forbidden Planet), Santa Rosa Island (Planet of the Apes) Palos Verdes Peninsula California was used for Jurassic Park 2: Lost World (1997).

seven Anacapa Island

Anacapa Island is the smallest and most accessible of the Channel Islands. It’s a popular spot for kayaking, snorkeling, and diving, with many excursions departing from the Port of Ventura. The island has an interesting history: it was once used as a prison by Alcatraz inmates who were later moved here after the prison closed (vacationers can still find graffiti left by these prisoners). The island is also home to several sea caves where visitors can explore tidal pools filled with colorful fish.

While visiting Anacapa Island, adrenaline junkies might see marine wildlife like rockfish, sunfish or seals. Travelers will definitely hear them as they all emit sounds. For example, if tourists are lucky enough to visit during mating season, they will hear a loud burp-like noise from male elephant seals that lasts about 15 seconds each time they call their territory (which usually happens between December and February).

6 Santa Rosa Island

Santa Rosa Island is one of the Channel Islands located about 100 miles offshore from Santa Barbara. It is a part of the amazing Channel Islands National Park. And it’s not just a popular destination for kayaking and hiking, but also for bald eagles, mountain lions, and deer, among other wildlife.


5 San Clemente Island

San Clemente Island is a rocky island and is part of the Channel Islands archipelago, located off the southern coast of California. The park itself is made up of five main islands: San Miguel Island, Santa Rosa Island, Anacapa Island, Santa Barbara Island, and San Clemente Island.

San Clemente is also home to one of the largest bald eagle populations in the continental United States. Indeed, this population has been monitored since 1988 by researchers who have counted more than 2,500 breeding pairs.

4 St. Nicholas Island

San Nicolas Island is located off California and is part of the Channel Islands National Park. The island is home to a variety of wildlife including bald eagles, sea lions and whales. It is also home to the San Nicolas Island Lighthouse, a historic lighthouse that was once used as a navigational aid by whalers.


3 Southeast Farallon Islands

The Southeast Farallon Islands are a group of islands in the middle of San Francisco Bay and home to one of the most endangered bird populations on the planet. But there are more than birds here: vacationers will also find whales, seals, sea lions and other wildlife.

The Southeast Farallon Islands consist of four main islands, East, West, Rat and Southeast. There are also smaller ones, which are Forbes and Bird Rocks. They are about 30 miles west of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, so tourists can reach them by boat via Tiburon or Sausalito.

There are plenty of things to do here, like snorkeling with whales or sea lions, watching the birds raise their young, and watching the sunset over Angel Island.

2 Channel Islands

  • Channel Islands National Park

  • Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary

Combined, these two areas offer a variety of activities for everyone from casual beachgoers to experienced snorkelers and kayakers. The park service offers guided tours to explore the natural wonders of the islands. Travelers can also explore it on their own. Visitors should keep in mind that a big part of what makes these islands so beautiful is their remoteness. If vacationers want to see them in person, it is advisable to plan properly.


1 angel island

Angel Island is located in San Francisco Bay. It is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area with a rich history as a military base, immigration post, and POW camp. It is also popular with hikers and cyclists for its easy trails along the northern tip of the island.

Hikers are rewarded with panoramic views from its summit, including Alcatraz Island across the bay. It is a hotspot for birds including egrets, cormorants and great blue herons.

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