Epic Sea Cave Kayak & Snorkel

One-of-a-kind downwind sea cave kayaking and kelp forest snorkeling ocean tour in Channel Islands National Park! This all inclusive trip departs from Channel Islands Harbor in Oxnard.

This was a wonderful trip for our family! The staff was helpful, friendly, professional, and experts in their field. We learned so much as we paddled in and around the island. I was concerned about missing out on the "land" portion of the trip, but shouldn't have been. It was such a great adventure. If you are looking for a way to enjoy this National Park, I highly recommend Channel Islands Expeditions!

Read More Reviews
decorative waves

EPIC Sea Cave Combo

Hop on our custom expedition vessel, the 54-foot SUNFISH, and enter an ocean wilderness that tops any list!

Downwind Paddling
Kayaking
Snorkeling
Boat Tour
Whale & Dolphin Watching
Sea Caves
2 dolphins playing in the wakeMini Arch at Anacapa Islandanacapa islandepic snorkeling at anacapa island

Sea Caves - most in the world

  • Anacapa has more sea caves per mile than any other island.
  • Around every bend and turn there is another cove or cave that we explore.
  • Paddle through the iconic Anacapa Arch, symbol of Channel Islands National Park.

Downwind Kayaking Route

  • Total Kayaking time: 2hr 45 min
  • Active Kayaking time: 2 hrs 20 minutes
  • Total mileage covered: 4 miles
  • Snorkeling time allotted: 30-45 minutes

Kelp Forest Snorkeling

  • Explore a unique ecosystem with vast kelp forests.
  • See diverse marine life in this marine protected area.
  • Enjoy the tranquility of nature being away from the crowds.
decorative waves

Getting to the world famous Channel Islands 

Marine Emporium landing boarding ramp

Check-in at Marine Emporium Landing in Oxnard

Check in starts at 7:40am for an 8:00am departure. This is an all day adventure in Channel Islands National Park and National Marine Sanctuary.

 

whale-breaching-off-the-coast-of-california

Whale and Dolphin Discover Crossing

As we cross the Santa Barbara Channel we enter a international Whale Heritage area that is known for over 33 species of cetaceans (whales and dolphins) like the Blue Whale and Orca.

kayaking the keyhole

Begin your kayaking journey at the Keyhole

The Sunfish drops you off with your guides and you begin your downwind/down current paddle along the shore of Anacapa Island exploring the vast number of sea caves along the way.

Snorkeling at Cathedral Cove

Anacapa Island has been a marine sanctuary with protected waters for over 40 years. This snorkeling is by far the best in the National Park, when it’s good.. it’s world class!

Kayaking under the Anacapa Arch

Visit the Anacapa Arch

The iconic Anacapa Arch is outstanding and we’ll get you in the perfect position for a memorable photo/selfie with you and your group!

pod of dolphins

Shorter Journey Home – Dolphin Escort

With the wind and current at our backs, the journey home is slightly shorter than the journey out, lasting about an hour. Be on the lookout for whales, sea birds or dolphin that may be playing in the wake behind our boat.

What to expect on your kayak and snorkel adventure!

loading into the kayaks

Arrive at the put-in and start your paddle

We provide you with a wetsuit, which you can wear kayaking, along with a lifejacket, helmet, and paddle. We have tandem kayaks by default, but provide a limited number of single kayaks for those traveling solo. All kayaks have backrests.

A Marine Bird Sanctuary

The California Brown Pelican nests almost exclusively at Anacapa Island, and we will paddle along the cliffs just below the nests. May-August is nesting season as the chicks hatch and eventually fledge the nests on their own. It’s a really cool experience to see these young birds in the wild from a safe distance on our kayaks.

Explore sea caves along the way

Anacapa Island has more sea caves per mile than any other island that we have been to. This makes for exceptional exploration opportunities as every bend and curve has another unique feature or cave to stop and explore.

gap at anacapa island

A relaxing and informative paddle with your guides

This petite island, marked by dramatic cliffs, will captivate you with its rugged beauty and rich biodiversity. Watch out for marine life along the way as you look for your next cave to explore as you twist and turn kayaking along the cliffs of Anacapa Island.

Snorkeling in Cathedral Cove

Kelp Forest and Sea Lions! When conditions are good, this is some of the best snorkeling, in temperate (colder) water, on earth. North Anacapa is a marine protected area where you cannot fish or take anything from the ocean here. If you are brave enough to dive through the kelp, you’ll be greeted with a indescribable sensation of flying through an underwater forest… it’s pretty incredible.

Sunfish vessel

Finish with a Picnic on the Sunfish

At the end of your day you’ll be ready for a sandwich and cold drink (both of which you need to bring on this trip!). We’ll park the Sunfish near the Anacapa Arch and lighthouse.

Anacapa Tour FAQ

No, we are all inclusive small businesses and our boat ticket is included in the price of the adventure! You stay on our boat the whole time!

We provide you with transportation.

You will be on our Expedition vessel, SUNFISH, all day. She is nicely outfitted for this island journey with kayak racks overhead and an easy swim deck off the stern.

Full refund or credit up until 21 days prior to departure!

20-8 days before your tour:

  • Change to a different date or trip with no fees.
  • Refunds are available minus a 15% fee.

No refunds or credits within 7 days of your departure.

If we have to cancel for any reason you’ll get 100% refund.

Kayaking – You will be wearing a PFD (life jacket) at all times and you need to be comfortable in water over your head.

Snorkeling – You must be able to swim unassisted for 30 minutes in order to snorkel.

We have single kayaks for those of you traveling solo or in odd number group. Because of this, we don’t allow people to reserve single kayaks ahead of time.

Easy to Moderate – The kayaking on this trip is generally appropriate for beginner kayakers. Ocean conditions are always variable and some days can offer more challenging paddling conditions.

No, we recommend that you bring a lunch with you. We stop by Anacapa Arch to enjoy a nice picnic at the end of the trip.

Bring a reusable water bottle. Drinking water is available from a tap aboard the boat.

This is a NON LANDING Island Cruise. If you want to hike on the Channel Islands, we recommend that you book an Expedition with us! If you are interested in hiking specifically on Anacapa Island, we recommend contacting Island Packers.

Yes, prices vary based on day of week and season. Please visit our Charter page and submit an inquiry.

The EPIC Combo trip is a curated experience that brings you to areas that are seen by fewer National Park visitors.

  • All CIEx kayaking trips are vessel-supported. Rather than launching and landing through surf at the Scorpion Ranch beach, all CIEx trips launch kayaks from our motherships with crew assistance from our accessible, water-level swim steps. On our trips, you paddle in one direction with the wind and get picked up at the end of your paddle by the mothership. You’ll have the support vessel nearby at all times to assist you if needed.
  • You are our exclusive purpose. All CIEx kayak guests are here for the same reason… to kayak into sea caves! Scorpion Ranch trips require ferry transportation to get to the island paddling destination, which can result in wait times between activities.
  • We paddle at areas where we barely encounter other boaters or visitors to the islands. This means less crowds and more wildlife. Scorpion Ranch is the most heavily-visited part of Channel Islands National Park – if you’re looking to get a more remote experience, join us!

Unfortunately no. We cannot pick up or drop off passengers at the Landing Cove at Anacapa. All of our paddlers need to board at Oxnard for the day. The best way to kayak Anacapa Island and see all of the amazing arches and tidepools is to have a support vessel like the Sunfish. We don’t recommend trying this on your own 🙂

5 years old is the youngest permitted to kayak. Our age limit is based on decades of experience. Younger paddlers fatigue faster and the adult paddler is left doing all of the paddling, keep this in mind when considering younger paddlers.

We cannot place two young children in a tandem kayak together; an adult or teenager must paddle with each child. Call us to discuss.

We reserve the right to require a PFD to be worn snorkeling at any time.

Book Now

$275

Adults (18+)

$265

Seniors (65+)

$255

Youth (5-17)

Group Pricing

Family of 4: $975

10 or more people: $235/each

Trip Reviews

Day Trip

Painted Cave Tour

Amazing! So happy I went with this company. You can bring coolers on board & dry bags with snacks are allowed on the kayaks, & take a ball cap for helmet. Dan was our guide Super friendly, very patient, all staff was great. Went on a Thursday, the experience was more intimate, because all the caves were empty, & our group was only 5 visitors.

Channel Islands Expeditions
117 B Harbor Way Santa Barbara, CA 93109
Rated 4.9/5 based on 16 customer reviews

Cynthia P.

5/5stars
Day Trip

Anacapa Tour

If you are interested in whale watching and an up close visit to the Channel Islands, we highly recommend booking with Channel Islands Expeditions. Captain Tim and First Mate Travis were top notch - Experienced, Knowledgeable, Outgoing, Patient and Accommodating. We could absolutely not have had a better day! The trip to Anacapa Island was full of wildlife encounters and the details...

Channel Islands Expeditions
117 B Harbor Way Santa Barbara, CA 93109
Rated 4.9/5 based on 16 customer reviews

Gail Wills

5/5stars
Day Trip

Painted Cave Tour

We had the best day out with CIX on our trip to Painted Cave. The trip was a kayak and snorkel day trip. The crew was amazing, everyone was very friendly and knowledgeable. The kayaking was so beautiful and it was cool to get into the caves and learn about them through the guides. The snorkeling was super pretty, and we enjoyed the day out...

Channel Islands Expeditions
117 B Harbor Way Santa Barbara, CA 93109
Rated 4.9/5 based on 16 customer reviews

Simone S.

5/5stars
Day Trip

Anacapa Tour

My recent kayaking trip with Channel Islands Expeditions was an absolute gem. We departed from the Channel Islands Harbor in Oxnard. There was a CIEx sign set out so I knew I was in the right place to meet. Right from the start, the crew's professionalism and attention to safety made me feel secure and excited. The crossing on the Sunfish was awesome! We got...

Genelise Hazen
Channel Islands Expeditions
117 B Harbor Way Santa Barbara, CA 93109
Rated 4.9/5 based on 16 customer reviews

Genelise Hazen

5/5stars
Day Trip

Anacapa Tour

Channel Islands Expeditions has a top notch kayak trip experience. As a native, I had never made it to the islands just a few miles of the coast of my hometown; Craig our guide and Alex the captain made sure we had a memorable experience. We kayaked the northern tip of Anacapa which is closed most of the year into sea caves and along the...

Lauren C.
Channel Islands Expeditions
117 B Harbor Way Santa Barbara, CA 93109
Rated 4.9/5 based on 16 customer reviews

Lauren C.

5/5stars
Day Trip

Anacapa Tour

We had such a wonderful time kayaking the Channel Islands with Channel Islands Expeditions! The crew was fun, friendly and knowledgeable and made our day perfect. The food onboard was delicious and they even took care of my weird dietary needs. Kayaking through the island caves was so beautiful and they made it easy even for those of us kayaking for the first time. Leaving...

Kristi K.
Channel Islands Expeditions
117 B Harbor Way Santa Barbara, CA 93109
Rated 4.9/5 based on 16 customer reviews

Kristi K.

5/5stars
Day Trip

Painted Cave Tour

We had the best day out with CIX on our trip to Painted Cave. The trip was a kayak and snorkel day trip. The crew was amazing, everyone was very friendly and knowledgeable. The kayaking was so beautiful and it was cool to get into the caves and learn about them through the guides. The snorkeling was super pretty also! The crew was also awesome...

Simone Shomaker
Channel Islands Expeditions
117 B Harbor Way Santa Barbara, CA 93109
Rated 4.9/5 based on 16 customer reviews

Simone Shomaker

5/5stars
Day Trip

Painted Cave Tour

Once in a lifetime experience!!! The crew (John, Randy, Beth, Jake, Bryson, Savannah and Max) were all amazing hosts and guides. They have thought of everything to make this a truly unique and memorable experience. The food was incredible, the activities and tours were fun and beautiful, and the Channel Islands and it's wildlife make you feel like you're in a different...

Molly Culp
Channel Islands Expeditions
117 B Harbor Way Santa Barbara, CA 93109
Rated 4.9/5 based on 16 customer reviews

Molly Culp

5/5stars
Day Trip

Painted Cave Tour

Amazing trip! I loved the boat. We had a great time kayaking. The crossing was incredible with dolphins, sea lions, and humpback whales literally breaching out of the water! We really explored the sea caves with guides so far in we could get not see without the help of the guides light. It felt like an adventure but also safe as we had a...

Robert Turner
Channel Islands Expeditions
117 B Harbor Way Santa Barbara, CA 93109
Rated 4.9/5 based on 16 customer reviews

Robert Turner

5/5stars
Day Trip

Painted Cave Tour

What an amazing adventure! I had the honor of going on a kayaking and snorkeling tour hosted by CIEx out of Santa Barbara. I was delighted with a boat vs dolphins race as we exited the Santa Barbara Harbor and headed towards the Channel Islands. We were escorted to the islands by a pod of dolphins HUNDREDS strong. It was like a dream! CIEx provided...

Guidance Moon
Channel Islands Expeditions
117 B Harbor Way Santa Barbara, CA 93109
Rated 4.9/5 based on 16 customer reviews

Guidance Moon

5/5stars
Day Trip

Anacapa Tour

Definitely recommend - Truly an amazing and unique experience. Recently I had the opportunity to join on the kayak/snorkeling trip at Anacapa Island with CIX. First of all, they have an awesome crew of knowledgeable individuals who love their job. They make sure you're comfortable and taken care of while also guiding you through a one of a kind experience. I learned so much and...

Channel Islands Expeditions
117 B Harbor Way Santa Barbara, CA 93109
Rated 4.9/5 based on 16 customer reviews

Taylor o.

5/5stars
Day Trip

Painted Cave Tour

This was a wonderful and beautiful experience. We came here on my birthday, it was my 53rd birthday. My husband is semi handicapped and we were pleasantly surprised that the group were very helpful and in helping him with the kayaking and the snorkeling so that way he can experience everything just like a full able-bodied person can. We are also gluten-free vegans which...

Nereida La Sirena Rojas
Channel Islands Expeditions
117 B Harbor Way Santa Barbara, CA 93109
Rated 4.9/5 based on 16 customer reviews

Nereida La Sirena Rojas

5/5stars
Day Trip

Anacapa Tour

We signed up for the Sea Cave Combo package and it was the best trip ever. Originally we were put on a waitlist for a different (and more expensive) company that had us inconveniently book the ferry + activity separately, but then came across CIE last minute and booked through them. It was a much better choice. From start to finish the whole crew, especially...

Channel Islands Expeditions
117 B Harbor Way Santa Barbara, CA 93109
Rated 4.9/5 based on 16 customer reviews

Brian Owen

5/5stars
Day Trip

Painted Cave Tour

We went out on our 20th anniversary and really enjoyed the whole trip. The crew was great Marc was very informative and helpful. Ally bubbly personality made the experience great. Our captain was awesome.

Channel Islands Expeditions
117 B Harbor Way Santa Barbara, CA 93109
Rated 4.9/5 based on 16 customer reviews

Chris M.

5/5stars
Day Trip

Anacapa Tour

Garrett, Phil and the other crew members who guided us through Anacapa were outstanding! I would definitely put this on your Summer bucket list. A great way to get fresh air, exercise and actually go through not one, but like 10 sea caves. Emerald Cave and Roller Coaster Cave were favorites. We even jumped out of our kayaks and swam through a cave. We also...

Tracy E.
Channel Islands Expeditions
117 B Harbor Way Santa Barbara, CA 93109
Rated 4.9/5 based on 16 customer reviews

Tracy E.

5/5stars
Day Trip

Painted Cave Tour

Awesome experience. Did a day trip to Santa Cruz Island and went on a guided kayaking tour. Captain Dan and his crew were all extremely friendly and knowledgeable. Also, the crew member Bailey made some delicious chocolate chip cookies with three different kinds of chocolate for everyone on board, would book this trip again just for the cookies alone.

Channel Islands Expeditions
117 B Harbor Way Santa Barbara, CA 93109
Rated 4.9/5 based on 16 customer reviews

Anthony L.

5/5stars

Compare Trips

Get on the CIEx Email List

Get notified of our latest deals and promotions on fun activities

Santa Barbara Channel Whale Heritage Areashappywhalewhale-talecertified-B-corporation