Most travelers know of a little thing called The Lonely Planet Effect. In fact, I spoke with LP’s former global editor Don George about this very topic in a podcast way back when. The idea is simple: Guidebooks like Lonely Planet are here to tell you about great places that still have the charm and exoticness of being “undiscovered”. But there mere fact they are mentioned in Lonely Planet then discovers them and, potentially, ruins them by making them popular.
And so with this in mind, I hesitate to say much more about California’s Channel Islands. Sure, I’ve written about them before, so the point is kind of moot, but I still feel that bringing to much attention to them is a good way to ruin what is a lovely, near pristine place just off the coast of California. Sigh.
Well, Frommer’s has kind of beaten me to the punch here, anyway. Just a few days ago they listed the Channel Islands as their Park of the Week, providing a nicely detailed article on the park. It’s actually quite informative. I actually learned a few things such as the fact that the park is home to over 2,000 plants and animals, of which 145 are found nowhere else in the world. That makes them a bit like California’s Galapagos.
When I was there one of the things I most enjoyed doing was paddling the massive sea caves around Santa Cruz Island. There’s some info about doing that as well as myriad other activities to keep you busy should you decide to make the trip. I highly recommend you do, but be careful about telling all your friends. I’d hate to see the place become California’s off-shore Disneyland.