Gateway to the Islands

Channel Islands Harbor is family and foodie friendly, and its location is ideal for a trip to the offshore park and sanctuary.

When cruising north from Los Angeles after passing the natural beauty of Malibu, right after Port Hueneme, boaters are greeted by a large inland harbor in Oxnard, Calif., known as Channel Islands Harbor. There is a sprawling labyrinth of marinas and waterfront homes lining every channel of the expansive harbor. There are plenty of activities for boat people, if they plan to stay just for a few hours or a few days.

In the expanses of Channel Islands Harbor, boaters have several options for mooring. Guest moorage, which is $1.30 per foot per day (with a $30 minimum), can be found at Anacapa Isle Marina, Bahia Marina, Channel Islands Harbor Marina, Pacific Corinthian Marina, and Vintage Marina. There is a 10-day limit for guest moorage, but visitors who want to stay longer can make a request with the harbormaster. Just stopping in for a bite to eat? Drop by the harbormaster’s office near the entrance of the harbor to be ushered to a guest dock right in front of Fisherman’s Wharf.

Oxnard is known as a family-friendly agricultural city, and the Channel Islands are known for their untouched natural beauty. To clarify, Channel Islands Harbor is actually part of the city of Oxnard, which is located in Ventura County. It’s conveniently located between Santa Barbara and Los Angeles. There are a plethora of options directly on the waterfront, from fitness clubs — they offer day passes! — to several kayak rental centers to museums, theaters, and farmer’s markets. Along the water is Anacapa Boatyard for boating repair needs, several yacht clubs and brokerages, and also several nail and hair salons, bike rental shops and even a psychic. If a day of navigating has worked up a thirst among the crew, at the mouth of the harbor is one solution: the Rudder Room 8 , a small dive bar where patrons can sip a drink with their toes in the sand.

The Channel Islands Maritime Museum is located in Channel Islands Harbor. There, boaters can discover maritime art, ship models, local history and of course, a great gift shop. It is open daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. There is also the Elite Theatre Co., which performs from March through November. Check the website to peruse the lineup of eclectic entertainers.

Before the crew disembarks, they can restock at a number of specialty stores. At Harbor Mart, beverages are abundant, to satisfy everyone on the boat, and its deli counter is a good spot to grab a burger. Harbor Mart 10 also has a large selection of souvenirs and sundries available, for folks who enjoy keepsakes. The Marine Emporium Landing 11 offers nautical clothing and gifts, diving and snorkeling gear, marine supplies, and fishing tackle.

Channel Islands Harbor is aptly named because it is one of a few ports from which people can charter a boat to visit and enjoy the quiet peace of nature and the unique ecosystem of the offshore Channel Islands. Right next door to the Marine Emporium Landing is Island Packers Cruises, located in Channel Islands Harbor, offers trips to all five of the islands that make up the Channel Islands National Park and National Marine Sanctuary, but boat owners can take their own vessel, if they obtain the correct permits and reservations, which vary from island to island.

TO THE WEB (Channel Islands Maritime Museum) (Channel Islands Yacht Club) (Pacific Corinthian Yacht Club)


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