Helmed by chief pilot Josh Jones, Channel Islands Helicopters soars over the sparkling Pacific during breathtaking tours around Channel Island National Park and Channel Island Marine Sanctuary. Guests load into a luxurious, bright-yellow steed of the sky, zipping out of Oxnard Airport and into the wide skyscape. Floating along a mountain-framed coastline, the sturdy chopper scrapes the clouds as guests peer into the waters below. Depending on the season, whales may frolic in the surf, carousing with sea lions or jubilant dolphin pods that leap out of the waters in hopes of catching a glimpse at the mythical creature known as the whirlybird. Clink glasses of champagne with a loved one or two friends to commemorate a magnificent midair adventure.
Though little known to humans outside of Ventura, Hook's Landing's sailors are notoriously feared in the sea world. That's due in large part to their successful fishing charters, on which they bag hundreds of rockfish, dozens of whitefish, and multiple lobsters with a crew of tour-goers.The charter's guests can keep any legal-size lobster, crab, and fish they find in their professional-grade hoop nets. Hook's Landing snaps memorable shots of the day's catches and encourages guests to cook their catch, instead of nailing it to a board and trying to make it sing.
Professional, award-winning surfers and lifeguards comprise the team of instructors that equips students with gear and sends them paddling into the ocean. To ensure safety and capitalize on ideal waves, the seasoned athletes check ocean conditions and Poseidon's mood before taking groups or individuals out to sea. As beginners become proficient at catching waves, the instructors level up their curriculum and teach intermediate or advanced feats. Islands Surf Camp stays active in its community by donating time and gear to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, SURF, and Echo Malibu.
Bone-chilling wails emanate from all corners of the Fears Gate haunted house, whose ghastly residents indulge their visitors’ fear receptors with a morbid menagerie of performances and special effects. As guests explore the haunted mansion’s eerie avenues, an expert team of part-time boogiemen and banshees welcomes them with spontaneous greetings and terrifying impressions of aging rock stars. In addition to these daunting evening escapades through the possessed residence, Fears Gate hosts a daytime series of lights-on tours from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays for younger audiences and those willing to conquer their irrational fear of light bulbs.
The Channel Islands Maritime Museum brings the area's rich seafaring history to life with original paintings, ship models, and intricately decorated scrimshaw. After 21 years in one spot, the museum relocated in 2012, hauling along its 2,000-strong catalogue of artifacts—including historic documents, records, and art—to its current location on Channel Islands Harbor. Museum collections inside the new digs highlight periods and industries important to the development of the local maritime culture, reaching as far back as the Chinese Treasure Fleets that sailed the high seas in the 15th century. More modern attractions include the collection that explores whaling industry of the 18th an 19th centuries, the curious case of the La Jenelle, a ship that sunk right in the harbor in 1970 thanks to a nasty northwester.
Departing from the Southern California Jet Skis location at Marine Emporium Landing, 2013-model Sea-Doo GTI 130 jet skis motor out of Channel Islands Harbor and into the great blue beyond. The Sea-Doos offer enough room for three riders, who can use them to explore the beaches and various water activities within motoring distance of the harbor. Each rider is supplied with a life jacket approved by the US Coast Guard, helping to prevent injury arising from sneaky waves and lead hands at the throttle.