Mere miles from the shores of Los Angeles lies wildness that surpasses imagination and a gem of the National Park system: the Channel Islands. Exploring it is akin to entering a time machine. To enter a era when the coast of California was lined with the tallest, oldest trees—those that remain are among the rarest on Earth. Its isolation from the mainland has led to the evolution of wildlife found nowhere else. Few dive into the region’s surprising wildness and biodiversity as Lindblad Expeditions is able to by hiking inland over rivers of pinecones and kayaking along rugged coastlines.
From Southern California to Baja: Sailing the Pacific Coast
Discover the incredible biodiversity of Channel Islands National Park, home to over 2,000 species including 145 endemics
In El Vizcaino Biosphere Reserve, we explore Mexico's largest protected area. It is where resident snd migratory songbirds inhabit the arid landscape, dotted with sentinel cacti, adjacent to the Pacific where elephant seals quarrel on remote islands, seabirds wheel overhead and dolphins cut the ocean's surface.
Hike across the ever-shifting sand dunes of Isla Magdalena and count the 40 species of birds that inhabit this area
Watch the sunrise over the iconic El Arco de Cabo San Lucas
Snorkel in Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park, the only hard coral reef in North America, with over 220 species of fish
Book by July 31, 2021, to receive a $350 air credit per person. Valid for new bookings only on select departures, subject to availability, not applicable on extensions, and may not be combined with other offers. Credit will be deducted from cabin fare prior to any additional applicable savings. Call for details.
SOLO TRAVELER SAVINGS
Book by July 31, 2021, and we will waive the solo premium on solo cabins on select departures. Valid for new bookings only on select departures, subject to availability, not applicable on extensions, and may not be combined with other offers. Call for details.
Book by July 31, 2021, to receive a $350 air credit per person on select departures of Wild California Escape: Channel Islands National Park. New Bookings only. Subject to availability. Call for details.
SOLO TRAVELER SAVINGS
Book by July 31, 2021, and we will waive the solo premium on solo cabins on select 2021 and 2022 departures. New bookings only. Subject to availability and may not be combined with pre- or post-extensions. Call for details.
GET THE GROUP ON BOARD! SAVE 10%
Book by July 31, 2021, to save 10% when traveling as a group of 6 or more people on select departures. Take advantage of these great savings while enjoying traveling with your friends and family. Valid for new bookings only, subject to availability, not applicable on extensions, and may not be combined with other offers. Call for details.
The coast of California is proof that a far-reaching adventure is much closer than you think. Go aboard an expedition ship, equipped with tools for in-depth exploration, to sail to protected islands, hike over rivers of pinecones to stands of gnarly, windswept trees, and discover wildlife found nowhere else. Watch as the coast grows wilder and see where Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo and the Jesuit missionaries who followed in his wake explored, mapped, and catalogued new flora and fauna. Go deep—whether kayaking the rugged shores or hiking to one of the last remaining stands of Torrey pines in the world.
The Amazing Natural Allure of the Channel Islands
One of the most biodiverse places on Earth, California’s seldom-visited Channel Islands National Park is home to vast wildlife breeding colonies, underwater realms bursting with life, and astonishing sea caves.
We love to travel with Lindblad. The naturalists and photographers really make the experience exceptional.
Explore with top expedition teams
See, do, and learn more by going with engaging experts who have been exploring this region for decades. Go with an expedition leader, naturalists, undersea specialist, and more.
Veteran expedition leaders are the orchestrators of your experience. Many have advanced degrees and have conducted research or taught for years. They have achieved expedition leader status because they possess the skills, the experience, and the depth of knowledge necessary to continually craft the best expedition possible for our guests.
Our naturalists, passionate about the geographies they explore (and return to regularly), illuminate each facet through their enthusiasm and knowledge. Our guests consistently cite the expertise and engaging company of our staff as key reasons to repeatedly travel with us.
Every expedition aboard a ship in our National Geographic-flagged fleet offers an exclusive service—a Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic certified photo instructor. This naturalist is specially trained to offer assistance with camera settings and the basics of composition and to help you become a better, more confident photographer.
Undersea specialists are your eyes on the world that lies beneath the waves. Using an array of tools, including a high-definition camera, our Cousteau-like undersea specialist dives frequently during the voyage to show you strikingly clear images of the seldom-seen world beneath the ship.
Dining aboard is delectable. Get nutritionally savvy snacks, juices, menu options, and more, as well as Lindblad Expeditions’ longstanding commitment to locally and sustainably caught seafood, locally sourced produce—and food that rewards.
The most beautiful day of the trip broke just opposite Catalina Island and cast a gorgeous glow onto the town of Avalon. We went ashore into the bustling harbor and made our way into town. Some chose to find their own way through the streets amid the golf carts, while others took a walk up to the botanical gardens or the historic casino. Afterwards we returned to
National Geographic Venture
and set sail to the other side of Catalina Island for some more wild activities. We landed at Little Harbor and set up a beach party. Some opted for guided kayaking, some sprung for a long hike. Still others enjoyed their own meanderings on the beach or margaritas served onshore by the bar team. The sun set in a glorious Southern California fashion and closed out a beautiful trip.
What a perfect day in the Channel Islands starting with a 360-degree view from the middle of the Santa Barbara Channel. On our approach to Santa Rosa Islands, we were treated to a stunning view of the four of the Channel Islands and the entire Gaviota Coastline from Point Conception to the Santa Monica Mountains.
Some of us went on an all-day hike in the Torrey Pines Forest, while others took walks along the coast and Cherry Canyon. We explored the buildings and surroundings that represent the islands rich history of ranching. Many of us had a glimpse of the endemic islands fox during our walks. One of the personal highlights for me was seeing Santa Barbara Islands in the far distant only viewable on such a clear day.
The later part of the day we cruised further west to San Miguel Islands to see the white beaches covered in Northern elephant seals and California sea lions. After the green flash appeared in the sunset, we set our course towards Catalina Island. What a perfect day in Channel Islands National Park.
From sunrise to sunset, all onboard
National Geographic Venture
experienced an incredible introduction to the natural history and unique biodiversity of California’s Channel Islands! From the rugged, narrow basalt ridgeline of Anacapa to the vast rolling hills of Santa Cruz, we sailed west to explore more of this fantastic landscape. Although within sight of the bustling metropolitan Los Angeles coastline, it seems a world away and is home to plants, animals and geological features found nowhere else on the planet.
This morning, in the first week of December, we all put on shorts and sandals and headed to shore for a beach party at Little Harbor! Embracing the outdoorsy spirit of southern California, guests kayaked and paddleboarded around the harbor, hiked up to a scenic bluff and down to a beach to look for wildlife and interesting geology, or just relaxed in some beach chairs with their toes in the sand. As a surprise to some that were lucky enough to spot a few, the island has a herd of roughly 200 American bison. These animals are not native to the island; 14 were transferred to island for the filming of
The Vanishing American
in 1924 and left behind to live out their lives.
The majority of the island is now owned by the Catalina Island Conservancy, who keep this herd to a small section of land to protect the rest of the area for native flora and fauna. In the afternoon, the
National Geographic Venture
sailed around the southern end of the island to anchor outside of Avalon – a sleepy seaside town of about 3,000 people. Guests explored the various museums in the town and enjoyed the atmosphere of this town that feels almost frozen in time before returning to the ship for the last cocktails and dinner of the expedition.
On our second day here in the Channel Islands, we awoke near the shores of Santa Rosa. From the sandy beaches of this beautiful location we hiked in search of the native torrey pine, kayaked among the fringes of the kelp forest, and enjoyed a rare rainy day in the national park. In the afternoon we set off in search of wildlife and found ourselves watching northern elephant seals on the wild shores of San Miguel Island, one of the most windswept of the Channel Islands.
This is a great capital of wildness, extravagant beyond description and—incredibly—existing so close to population-dense L.A.