Methodological advances and innovative research are reshaping how we look for and understand human dispersals and adaptations on maritime landscapes. Refinements in paleoenvironmental reconstructions and search techniques have resulted in discoveries that challenge outdated theories of island and coastal regions as marginal to human migration, settlement, and subsistence. The Northern Channel Islands of California have become a focal point for this maritime research as new discoveries have shown this region to be integral for understanding initial human dispersals and early occupations in the New World. This region has also become a proving ground for methodological advances that are refining how we integrate land- and sea-based data into project designs that recognize both the landscape and seascape as a complex maritime space integral to maritime societies. Recent research has focused on the terrestrial and submerged portions of the island landscape that were intact and subaerial during initial human dispersal to the islands and during the late Pleistocene and early Holocene island occupations. By integrating paleoenvironmental reconstructions, archaeology, historical ecology, and terrestrial and marine geology researchers are striving to recreate the paleoenvironment and paleolandscape present during initial island occupations. These data may be critical to clarify early island colonization and adaptions strategies of the first Americans.