California Channel Islands Kayaking Trips
The wide, stable design of the Condor Express is perfect for taking groups of kayakers out to visit the pristine Channel Islands. The high-speed jets and twin hull design of the Condor Express can make kayaking Channel Island trips more comfortable and faster than other boats. Our trained crew has over 30 years of experience and can help you identify and observe the many species of whales and dolphins that we see as we make the voyage to your kayaking destination.
Our cruises focused on kayaking Channel Islands are a breathtaking experience and one of the funnest things to do in Santa Barbara. The crystal clear water and diversity of fishes, seabirds and mammals makes every Channel Islands kayaking trip an unexpected adventure. Whether it is these clear waters, shear volcanic cliffs, the beautiful rock gardens, tide pools or great weather that attracts you, one cannot beat exploring the Channel Islands in a kayak. Many islands feature thunderous blowholes, spectacular sea arches, grottos and tunnels for your paddling enjoyment.
Nearby Santa Cruz Island, part of the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, is famous for its sea caves. The northern coast of Santa Cruz Island (the side you see from the mainland) is said to have more than 100 sea caves. The best way to get up close and personal with these famous caves is to travel by kayak. The Channel Island caves may be large amphitheaters, smaller tubes, have Y-branches or multiple chambers, and many have multiple entrance and exit points. There are even a few caves with small colonies of friendly California Sea Lions inside. The National Park Service does not recommend going into sea caves without an experienced guide. The Condor Express can arrange for a professional guide on charter trips for kayaking Channel Islands as needed.
Planning Kayaking Trips to the California Channel Islands
Areas: The most popular area for Channel Island kayaking trips is located around Scorpion Beach on East Santa Cruz Island. This area is great for sea kayaking because it has easy beach access, clear ocean waters and a beautiful shoreline with sea caves and cliffs to explore.
Weather: Weather conditions vary considerably in the channel.The calmest winds and sea conditions often occur August through October. Winds are often calm in the early morning and increase during the afternoon. Dense fog is common during the summer months, especially in the morning. Ocean water temperatures range from the lower 50s in the winter and spring to the upper 60s in the summer and fall.
National Park Service Safety Tips:
- Use the buddy system.
- Do not exceed your skill level.
- Do not travel down wind (with the wind) as you will have to return into a headwind.
- Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return.
- Carefully select and equip your paddlecraft.
- Sea caves can be dangerous—large waves or swells can fill a cave unexpectedly. Be extremely careful and wear a helmet at all times when exploring sea caves.
For more on trip planning for kayaking Channel Islands, visit the National Park Service