Day Trips

Departure Locations

Day trips either depart from Santa Barbara Landing in Santa Barbara or Marine Emporium Landing in Oxnard.  These locations are 45 minutes away from one another so It is important that you go to the correct marina for your trip. 


Boarding starts 20 minutes before trip departure.

What to Pack

This is a full day adventure, so you want to make sure that you are comfortable for a full day out on the water.  The average water temperature around Channel Islands National Park is around 60°F. That means the air temperature is going to be significantly cooler than what you experience at the harbor.  Weather and wind can also change very rapidly.  It is recommended that you pack a lightweight base layer, warmer jacket and a waterproof/windproof top layer.    

Checklist of things that you should bring

  • Water shoes or sandals with straps. Flip flop slippers cannot be worn on the kayaks.
  • Reusable water bottle - can be filled onboard
  • Waterproof/windproof top layer.
  • Base layers - we suggest having a lightweight base layer, a warmer jacket, and hooded sweatshirts.
  • Kayak clothing - bathing suits and sun tops. You will be given a Farmer John style wetsuit (like overalls). Fleece layers can help stay warm.
  • Sunscreen – It must be reef-safe sunscreen. Learn what makes sunscreen reef safe.
  • Sunglasses and sun hats. We suggest a baseball cap for use under your helmet during kayaking.
  • Camera - we suggest a waterproof camera or case and/or a reliable waterproof bad.
  • Snacks/Lunch - Epic Sea Cave Combo and California Gray Whale Watching trips to not include food. The Painted Cave Trips do include food.  
  • Motion sickness medicine and personal medications.
  • Gratuity for guides and crew.

What not to bring

  • NO MARIJUANA - this is a federal crime still and on our vessels you will be in federal jurisdiction. If we are boarded you can go to jail.
  • Drones – you cannot fly them in the National Park.


Our guides and crew are professionally trained and have decades of combined experience both above and below the water. We routinely guide and instruct guests in ocean activities that they have never tried before. However if you would like to do some extra preparation for your upcoming expedition, please review our recommendations below.


Give it a try in calm seas first.

If you haven’t done much kayaking on sit-on-tops, no worries… they are really easy to get accustomed to. We suggest you go for a paddle in calm waters at least once before joining this trip, this will make your first paddle a little more comfortable. If you are looking for an easy way to try out sea kayaking prior to your trip, check out the Paddle Sports Center.


Give it a try first!

  • Practice: Before you go snorkeling, practice using gear in a pool or shallow water near the shore. This will help you get used to breathing through the snorkel and how the equipment works.
  • Learn some skills: Learn how to clear your snorkel without taking it out of your mouth first. This is a basic skill that you'll need for duck diving. You can also learn how to dive underwater while snorkeling to get closer to fish and coral.
  • Choose a good location: Research and find a good snorkeling spot for beginners.
  • Stay calm: Try to stay relaxed and reduce effort.

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