San Miguel Island

Ventura, CA
National Campground
  • Primitive camping
  • Tent


Wind and weather constantly sweep across the North Pacific to batter the shores of this westernmost of all the islands. This extreme weather creates a harsh but profoundly beautiful environment. Although it can be challenging to reach the San Miguel Island Campground, it’s always worth the effort. Perched on a plateau, the campground offers incredible island views and access to a variety of recreational activities and unique natural and cultural resources. Although a century’s worth of sheep ranching and overgrazing caused scientists in 1875 to describe the island as “barren lump of sand,” with the grazing animals removed, vegetative recovery is in progress. Giant coreopsis, dudleya, locoweed, lupine, buckwheat, coastal sagebrush, and poppies are all recolonizing the island to their former extent, returning San Miguel to its more natural state. Also making a comeback, after years of hunting, are the thousands of pinnipeds (seals and sea lions) that breed, pup, and haul out on the island’s 27 miles of isolated coastline. Other wildlife include a variety of landbirds, 13 nesting seabird species, and unique animals like the island fox and deer mouse. Both of these little creatures are endemics — they are found only on the Channel Islands. In addition to the variety of natural resources, San Miguel hosts an array of cultural resources as well. The Chumash and their ancestors lived on San Miguel almost continuously for nearly 12,000 years. Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo and his men laid eyes on San Miguel Island in 1542 which is commemorated by a monument on the island. Other outstanding island resources that visitors may experience on San Miguel include the caliche forest (sand-castings of ancient vegetation), fossil bones of the Pleistocene pygmy mammoths that stood four to six feet at the shoulders, 150 years of ranching history and numerous shipwrecks. San Miguel Island may only be reached by boat or aircraft. Visitors are required to arrange transportation to the island before reserving a campsite. Contact Island Packers or Channel Islands Aviation the park’s authorized concessioners or bring your own private boat . Camping reservations are required prior to arriving on the island. There are NO walk-ups at this facility

Since the island is still owned by the US Navy, was a former bombing range, and may contain unexploded ordnance, a permit (including liability waiver) is required to visit the island. If you are traveling to San Miguel Island with Island Packers, Channel Islands Aviation, or Truth Aquatics, they will provide the forms to you upon your reservation. Private boaters can obtain the forms at a self-registration station at the Nidever Canyon trail head entry on San Miguel Island. There are 9 individual campsites. Max 4 people per site. Upon arrival, meet ranger at beach, landing dock or campground. However, park staff is not always available on the island. Please have confirmation letter, receipt, or campsite number with you. 1 mile steep, uphill hike to the campground if arriving by boat. Hike In Distance to Site: 1/4 mile to 1 mile. Visitors must carry all their own gear. Primitive camping. Tent camping only, no electricity/water/sewer site hook-ups at this campground. Bring low profile tents and extra food for weather delays. No shelter or shade. Five-foot windbreak provided along with picnic table, food storage box, and vault toilet. Must bring your own water. No stores or services. Quiet time is enforced at 10:00 pm. Proper food and trash storage is required. Food/Trash storage lockers are provided at each site. Recommend hard-sided container (i.e. action packer) to further protect food/garbage from animals. Visitors are required to pack out what they pack in, including garbage. No campfires or charcoal fires. Only enclosed gas camp stoves are allowed. Smoking is only allowed on the beach area at Cuyler Harbor. Avoid contact with deer mice. Hantavirus has been found in island deer mice. For more information visit: . To help prevent the introduction of nonnative species the following items may not be brought to the park: pets; live or potted plants; soil; cut flowers; firewood or any untreated, unfinished wood (including hiking sticks); corrugated boxes; tools or equipment with attached soil; motorized vehicles; bicycles; and single-use plastic grocery bags. No fishing in marine reserves. California fishing license and ocean enhancement sticker required to fish outside marine reserves. Watersports: Due to the strong, persistent wind, swimming, snorkeling, diving, and kayaking are limited and recommended for the experienced visitor only Ocean conditions can rapidly change, requiring expert abilities. Ocean kayaking is an inherently dangerous activity. Always check weather and do not kayak beyond your experience level. Landing and beach access is only allowed at Cuyler Harbor. No off-trail hiking is allowed. The island was a former bombing range and there are possible unexploded ordnance. Visitors may explore the two-mile long Cuyler Harbor beach and one-mile-long trail to the ranger station on their own. To see other parts of the island, such as Point Bennett or the caliche forest, you must go with a ranger or volunteer. All hikers must stay on the trails to protect fragile vegetation and for visitor safety.


  • Boat Launch
  • Fish Cleaning Station
  • Food Locker
  • Picnic Table
  • Potable Water
  • Restroom


  • Pet Friendly

RV Rentals

San Miguel Island


1901 Spinnaker Drive, Ventura, California, 93001