Best U.S. National Park Views
Inspiration Point, Channel Islands National Park, CA
The View: Touted by biologists as “North America’s Galapagos,” the five unscathed isles that make up the Channel Islands contain 150 endemic species, including the elusive rust-red harbor fox. On the volcanic, five-mile-long Anacapa Island, make the easy 1.5-mile trek to Inspiration Point and you’ll catch sight of a brown pelican fledgling area and neighboring Summit Peak (keep an eye out for breaching blue whales—park waters are home to the largest aggregation of them in the world). The view is so inspiring that local poets meet at the point monthly to share their work.
Getting There: The islands are accessible only by boat. Take a 60-minute cruise with Island Packers ($45 per person) from the Robert J. Lagomarsino Visitor Center in Ventura, 30 miles south of Santa Barbara. It’ll take you to Anacapa Island and ferry you back when you’re through (nobody stays overnight but the resident animals).