© Author Adventures
Dolphins off the coast of Ventura, CA © Author Adventures

Scott O’Dell is known for writing the children’s novel Island of the Blue Dolphins. This novel is actually based on a true story about the Lone Woman of San Nicholas Island (this story is on missionscalifornia.com; also see californiaspanishmissions.net). San Nicolas Island is not open to visitors, but the nearby Santa Cruz Island is almost identical in landscape and very easy to get to. I once went there for a Girl Scout trip.

After taking the ferry from Ventura Harbor, we found that Santa Cruz Island was an amazing place for kayaking, hiking, and watching for sea life. Plenty of sea stars, some sea lions, and even some dolphins can be found there. For the more hard-core adventurers, the island has many locations to camp out like Karana did in the book. I would advise going when the weather is dry because the island can get very cold when it’s raining, but whenever you go, the experience is worth it.

Santa Cruz Island is the tenth location on our Southern California Author Adventures Trail!

Katie Smart

A view of the island from the ferry
© Author Adventures