There are 14 islands in Channel Islands State Marine Park. Odds are, you do not have time to visit them all on your kayaking trip. So, where should you venture to? We’ll tell you in this quick guide to the islands located here.
Lincoln Island is close to the largest island in the park and has some of the best opportunities for kayakers and overnighters. Many of the beaches and especially the South Beach in North Pass, have sandy, gravelly shores that work well for camping, although you can also camp in the forest.
Certain areas of Lincoln Island, especially the North Pass, are known for consistent whale presences. If you want to see humpback whales and sea lions feed, there are some great spots to do so here. We recommend early mornings and late evenings as this is a popular spot. To paddle this area, we strongly recommend extensive kayaking experience and knowledge of tides and currents.
If you’re starting in Auke Bay Harbor, this is the most accessible camping spot in the Channel Islands. There is a particularly impressive view of the Mendenhall Glacier and the surrounding mountains here, making it a worthy backdrop for awe-inspiring photos. We recommend the northwest side, where you will see fewer boats. Keep in mind, this area is busy with fishing vessels, whale watching vessels, and personal watercraft. Always, watch out for motorized watercraft while paddling to Coghlan.
There are several well-established camps on the various points and coves on Benjamin Island. They offer consistently good landing and camping sites throughout most of the summer months and, particularly the northwest cove camp, even some areas sheltered from strong wind. If you’d like to see sea lions most of all, you’ll almost certainly see them if you kayak around this island. Sea lion populations vary throughout the summer.
When you want both comfortable camping and the chance to see humpback whales and sea lions right from your resting spot, North Island is a great choice. The south side has a great gravel beach with exceptional views.
Our favorite beach on this island, on the southwest side, is a comfortable spot that also offers a unique view of the Chilkat mountains. You may see sea lions travelling from Benjamin Island to Little Island if you stop here in August. At low tide, there is a spit of land that connects Lincoln Island to Ralston.
There are many private cabins and homes on Shelter Island, and it is among the largest islands in the park. Still, it is certainly worth visiting and potentially camping on. There is one public-use cabin location in Halibut Cove on the island, and you can either camp on the beach or in the forest. If winds are from the south, there is a cove at North Point that camping available above the tide line.
Those who want to see birds and harbor seals might consider camping on Suedla island and then paddling out to the Mendenhall Wetlands area. This is a perfect day trippers island destination.
Contact us today about kayaking and camping at any of these island locations!