Best U.S. National Park Views

Inspiration Point on Anacapa Island, Channel Islands National Park, California (Photo by Visions of America/UIG via Getty Images)
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Go off the beaten path to find these gorgeous vistas of untamed mountains, deep forests, pristine lakes, and wide-open spaces.

Inspiration Point at Channel Islands National Park in California

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The View: Touted by biologists as North America’s Galapagos, the five unscathed isles that make up the Channel Islands contain 145 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—keep an eye out for breaching blue whales—in the summer, park waters host one of the largest aggregations of them in the world).

Getting There: The islands are accessible only by boat or plane. Take a 60-minute cruise with Island Packers ($59 per person, $79 to camp) 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.

Inspiration Point on Anacapa Island, Channel Islands National Park, California (Photo by Visions of America/UIG via Getty Images)

Best U.S. National Park Views

Inspiration Point at Channel Islands National Park in California

The View: Touted by biologists as North America’s Galapagos, the five unscathed isles that make up the Channel Islands contain 145 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—keep an eye out for breaching blue whales—in the summer, park waters host one of the largest aggregations of them in the world).

Getting There: The islands are accessible only by boat or plane. Take a 60-minute cruise with Island Packers ($59 per person, $79 to camp) 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.

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