What we have here in Southern California is a total of eight Channel Islands (a southern group of four and a northern chain of four). This is not to mention a handful of beautiful islands just south of the border. There are hundreds, if not thousands of dive sites to explore. Wrecks, reefs, pinnacles, walls—it’s all here. We also have a good sized fleet of live-aboard capable dive charter boats. So let me ask a straight forward question: When was the last time, if ever, you spent two or more days in a row on boat exploring the California Channel Islands? If you haven’t, you really don’t know what you’re missing.

I recommend a minimum of a three-day trip. Mini-vacations of four or five days are even better. You’ll get to visit several islands. Other activities such as kayaking or island hiking can be added, or you can just dive, dive, and dive some more. On a single-day trip you can get three, maybe four dives in, if you’re lucky. On multiday trips, five, or even six dives a day are possible, with at least one being a night dive. The food is incredible and included, along with all air fills.

Multi-day dive trips are hands-down the best way to dive the outer islands. The outer islands, San Nicolas, San Clemente, Santa Barbara and San Miguel, are each several hour’s boat ride out. On a single day trip, you could spend many hours getting to and from an island and only a few short hours diving. With a multi-day dive trip to the outer islands, you get a better return on travel time invested.

There are additional fringe benefits to a multi-day dive trip. You’ll have more time to get to know your group. Friendships are formed. You’ll only have to pack and unpack once for several days of diving. Settle in, get comfortable. Your crew will get to know you and your personal diving habits. It’s an all around good deal.

You’ll find many multi-day dive trips scheduled for this summer. Some trips are run by dive stores, others by the boats themselves, and still other by specialty groups with specific goals, such as underwater photography, spearfishing, and more.

Maximize your diving pleasure this summer and book yourself on a long weekend or mini-vacation on one of California’s live-aboard dive boats.