Visitors to the park may enjoy a variety of recreational opportunities, such as SCUBA diving, snorkeling, swimming, bird watching, kayaking, whale watching, and sailing. On the islands, one may camp, hike, picnic, and explore tide pools, isolated beaches, and rugged canyons. Park naturalists conduct interpretive hikes on the islands throughout the year.
Inform yourself about the park, its features, and safety concerns before visiting, by contacting the park for brochures, and the boat and air concessions for schedules.
Because of the time involved in traveling from the mainland to the islands, a full day is recommended to visit the park. Anacapa is a great island for your first visit; it is the closest island to the mainland (1 ½ hour boat ride) and consists of dramatic, steep cliffs, with hundreds of sea birds and marine mammals. Snorkeling, kayaking, and diving are all excellent in the rich kelp beds around Anacapa.
For a multi-day visit, Santa Rosa is a good destination. Rangers will take you to various parts of the island to explore canyons and beaches.
For a feel of a wilderness experience, San Miguel, the furthest out from the mainland, may be your choice. The island often is fog-covered or very windy. Access to many areas on the island is limited due to fragility of the terrestrial and marine resources.
The islands have no stores, restaurants, or overnight accommodations; you must bring all your own food, water, and camping equipment.