Tips For Visiting Catalina Island


In order to reach Catalina Island, you have three primary modes of transportation: taking a ferry, flying, or taking a helicopter ride. Each option provides a unique experience and benefits. Let’s take a closer look at each sub-section and which one may be the best fit for your travel needs.

Taking a Ferry

Traveling to Catalina Island? Take a watercraft! Boat rides from Long Beach or Newport Beach in SoCal offer scenic views of the harbor and an exciting journey. The ferry typically takes an hour, with multiple trips each day in usual seasons.

Choose between two types of ferries: conventional and high-speed. Both provide unforgettable views of marine life. To get the best experience, book reservations online beforehand. Many providers also offer vacation packages with ferry tickets, tours, and activities.

On the first journey, travelers share a special moment. Sun on their faces, ocean spray in their hair, they approach the island’s shores, ready for an amazing adventure. Flying to Catalina Island is like playing Russian roulette with wings!


Take to the skies for a seamless journey to Catalina Island. Various locations offer flights, such as Long Beach, San Pedro and Avalon. These flights take a mere 15-20 minutes and provide an incredible view of the island and Pacific Ocean.

Once you arrive at either airport, taxis are available or some hotels offer complimentary shuttle services. Contact the airport if you have any flight or transportation queries. Note that weather can affect schedules and cause cancellations – check with your airline beforehand.

For a luxurious experience, upgrade to a private charter. Companies offer services tailored to personal preferences and routes. Enjoy incredible views during the helicopter ride – no need to worry about heights.

Summing up, flying is the most convenient way to reach Catalina Island. Take advantage of the complementary or pre-arranged transportation options for easy access to accommodation and attractions. Consider a private charter for comfort and luxury.


Helicopter Ride

Experience a thrilling air voyage to Catalina Island! Hop on a Chopper or Helitours ride from Long Beach, San Pedro, or Orange County Airport. You’ll get a bird’s eye view of crystal-clear waters and scenic topography. Arrive in style with this alternative mode of transportation.

Take a unique journey to the island, 20 miles away from mainland California with a helicopter tour. Choose from several operators, offering flexibility in scheduling, group size, and even luxurious options like private tours.

No designated helipads on the island? No problem! Multiple landing zones are available on request so you can experience all the beauty the island has to offer.

Don’t miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! Book with IEX Helicopters or Anaheim Helicopters for a memorable ride that lasts less than 15 minutes. And if you find a vacant room on Catalina Island, remember: you can always share a bed with your luggage!

Accommodations on Catalina Island

To find the perfect accommodation while exploring Catalina Island, you need to consider several factors. In this section, we’ll discuss the different accommodation options available on the island, including staying in Avalon, camping, and renting a vacation home. Each sub-section presents its unique benefits, catering to various vacation preferences. Whether you prefer immersing yourself in nature or indulging in luxurious comfort, there’s an option for everyone.

Staying in Avalon

Catalina Island is a great spot to stay! Avalon has many options, from luxury resorts to cozy vacation rentals. Hotels offer amazing amenities, like infinity pools and restaurants. Vacation rentals come with fully-equipped kitchens for multi-day stays. Campers can check out Hermit Gulch Campground for a tranquil, private experience.

Be sure to book in advance. Activities like biking and beach-hopping change with the seasons. Plus, Catalina Island has been a tourist destination for over 100 years! So, why not ditch the fancy hotels and sleep beneath the stars? Just be prepared for some furry and scurrying wildlife.


Choose from campsites that offer both ocean and inland views for a unique experience! Family, backpacking, or group camping sites are all available. If you’d prefer more comfort, book a “tent-cabin”!

Potable water, running toilets, showers, and seasonal staff for help are all available too. Reservations are recommended due to limited camping space during peak season. The California state park day use fee applies to all visitors arriving by transporter.

Hermit Gulch trail offers stunning sunset views and Two Harbors sunrise views. Enjoy campground amenities closeby and create memories to last a lifetime. One camper experienced buffalo roaming inches from their tent at Little Harbor beach!

Lastly, if you’re renting a vacation home on Catalina Island, it’s not stealing if the towels come with you in your suitcase.

Renting a Vacation Home

Seeking a residential experience? Rent a private vacation home on Catalina Island! From cozy cottages to sprawling estates – they offer privacy and exclusivity. Plus, spectacular views and essential amenities like comfortable bedding and kitchen facilities.

You’ll have access to the island’s social scene and seclusion from the hustle of Avalon. Some vacation homes feature outdoor terraces or patios for enjoying sunsets over the Pacific. Visitors can explore nearby hiking trails or get active with water sports like kayaking and paddleboarding.

Rent a local’s permanent residence via Airbnb or Vrbo and gain insider tips about what to see and do on the island, plus local dining spots. Renting a private vacation home is the perfect way to relax in style while exploring the island.

Don’t miss out – book your private vacation home today for an unforgettable getaway with stunning scenery and comfort. Kayaking on Catalina Island is the ultimate way to paddle away your problems.


Activities to do on Catalina Island

To make the most out of your trip to Catalina Island, engage in some thrilling activities. In order to explore the island to the fullest, this section on “Activities to do on Catalina Island” with sub-sections on hiking, kayaking, snorkeling and scuba diving, and zip-lining will provide you with exciting solutions to make your visit memorable.


Meander the stunning hiking trails of Catalina Island for a unique terrestrial exploration. Enjoy the rugged terrain and view wildflower meadows from rolling hills or scenic shorelines. Discover the endangered Catalina Island fox and bison, brought here in the 1920s, thriving throughout.

Hire a knowledgeable guide for an immersive experience and valuable insights about the island’s ecology and history! Don’t forget to bring a map that highlights available trails and dress in layers for changing weather conditions. Wear comfortable shoes with traction, sunscreen, and keep yourself hydrated.

Kayaking is also an option – just don’t forget to bring a change of clothes in case you end up paddling into the buffalo’s bathing spot!


Kayak in the azure waters around Catalina Island! Paddle through the crystal-clear seas and discover the vibrant marine life. Glide through the waves, snorkel in secret coves, and explore hidden beaches. Witness rocky coastlines, crystal-clear water, and stunning sunsets. You can even spot sea lions, seals, dolphins, and flying fish!

Catalina Island has kayaking tours for any skill level. Imagine seeing the underwater gardens flourish beneath you as you admire the open-sea views. Join an eco-tour to outlying islands and explore remarkable sea caves or give stand-up paddling a try. You can also rent a solo kayak or one for two and paddle around as you please.

Safety instructions and suitable equipment, like life jackets and helmets, are included in every tour or rental. Enjoy a safe and secure Kayaking experience when visiting Catalina Island – book now and make unforgettable memories!

Snorkeling and Scuba Diving

Discover the magical marine life beneath Catalina Island! This Californian paradise offers snorkeling and scuba diving like no other.

  • Behold garibaldi, kelp bass, and moray eels.
  • Venture into sea star-filled underwater caves and shipwrecks.
  • Go on a daring night dive to meet crustaceans, lobsters, and octopuses.
  • Swim with the giants – sea bass over 500 pounds and 7 feet long!
  • Take a beginner-level course from pro instructors, or get certified.

Nature has crafted some incredible wonders in Catalina’s depths – like vibrant rock formations filled with exotic fish, rare invertebrates, and marine plants!

Venture into lesser-known diving sites like Ship Rock or Farnsworth Bank to spot angel sharks and barracudas.

Don’t forget your wetsuit, fins, snorkel, and tank! Respect the wildlife and environment while enjoying your dive.

Jump into Catalina Island’s underwater world! Feel the rush with a zip-line ride that’ll have you wanting more.


Soar through the air on an adrenaline-filled journey that’ll leave you breathless! Aerial trekking lets you explore Catalina Island’s rugged terrain from a whole new angle, high up in the sky.

Take on obstacles and zip lines suspended in the sky, and be rewarded with breathtaking views of the island. Plus, our guides clue you in on the island’s history and ecology.

For a truly memorable experience, try our night-time zip-lining tour. Zip-line under a blanket of stars – an experience you won’t soon forget! Don’t miss out – book your zip-lining tour today.

Dining on Catalina Island

To explore the culinary delights of Catalina Island, you need to know where to dine. In order to satiate your taste buds with mouth-watering food, this section on Dining on Catalina Island with sub-sections that include Restaurants in Avalon, Beachside cafes and bars, Dining at the Casino, can be a solution.


Restaurants in Avalon

Avalon’s Culinary Delight! Let’s Discover the Best Dining Venues.

Avalon Island boasts picturesque scenery and a charming atmosphere. Plus, it offers delicious cuisines for you to indulge in. Here are 3 places to start:

  • The Lobster Trap. On Crescent Ave., this eatery serves fresh seafood dishes. Enjoy lobster, crab cakes, and clam chowder.
  • Steve’s Steakhouse. In the heart of Avalon, this steakhouse offers mouth-watering prime rib and an exciting wine menu.
  • Bluewater Avalon. Overlooking the harbor, this seafood restaurant has grilled fish, sushi rolls, and cocktails.

Crazy for something different? Check out Luau Larry’s – a Tiki Bar with island-themed drinks. Did you know alcohol was prohibited on the island until 2015? Visitors had to bring their own drinks! Now, enjoy beachside cafes and bars with no restrictions. Don’t let the seagulls steal your fries though!

Beachside Cafes And Bars

Escape the sun and sand for a while! Get ready to indulge in all kinds of culinary delights at seaside restaurants and bars.

  • Quench your hunger with speedy snacks or take it slow and savor delicious meals with stunning waterfront views.
  • Munch on fresh seafood, burger goodness, and delightful desserts.
  • Chill out with colorful cocktails, craft beers, and fine wines.
  • Tune in to live music or bask in the lively atmosphere.
  • Select from casual beachside cafes to upscale dining experiences.

For an extra special treat, visit rooftop bars with panoramic ocean vistas. Enjoy happy hours and tantalizing specialty drinks.

Don’t forget to try out the island’s signature dishes! From buffalo shrimp tacos to bison burgers, there’s something for everyone. Go on and satisfy your cravings on Catalina Island.

Tempted? Secure your spot now! No need to win the lottery when you can feast on yummy food at the Casino on Catalina Island!

Dining at The Casino

Located on Catalina Island, the Casino is a culinary experience like no other! The Grand Ballroom Restaurant offers gourmet meals with views of the bay. Whilst the Café Metropole provides quick snacks. Those seeking something special, can enjoy al-fresco dining on the rooftop of The Descanso Beach Club. Here, locally sourced ingredients are used in internationally influenced dishes.

My friends and I were mesmerized by the sunset over Avalon bay from our table outside. The flavors of the dishes seemed to dance on our tongues – making it one of my favorite memories on Catalina Island! Also, don’t forget to get your retail therapy fix on Catalina Island – just don’t let the shopping bags weigh down your kayak on the way back.

Shopping on Catalina Island

To explore the shopping scene on Catalina Island, you can visit the Avalon shops and boutiques, art galleries, and markets and gift shops. Discover the one-of-a-kind gifts and souvenirs that you can take back home with you from Catalina Island.


Avalon Shops And Boutiques

In Avalon, there are unique shops and boutiques. The shopping experience is diverse, reflecting the culture of the island. There are specialty shops, upmarket boutiques, and gift stores with island-inspired merchandise.

Clothing stores offer beach-style wear and accessories, plus designer clothes, for all tastes and budgets. Art galleries showcase works by local artists. Antique stores are full of rare treasures. Jewelry stores have one-of-a-kind designs with precious metals and gems. Souvenir shops have Catalina-themed items for visitors to take home.

Many stores have long histories in Avalon. One of the oldest hardware stores has been serving since 1907. Despite changes, the stores pride themselves on quality products and services for locals and visitors. Be warned – art galleries may leave you with empty pockets!

Art Galleries

Are you ready to add some culture to your shopping experience? Catalina Island has a variety of art galleries for you to explore. Here are a few highlights:

  • The Avalon Art Gallery offers locally made ceramics, paintings and prints.
  • At the Atwater Hotel Gallery you can discover works from over 100 local artists.
  • The Louie Lighthouse Gallery has high-quality pieces from established and emerging artists, including photography, sculptures and jewelry.
  • Explore lesser-known artists through Art in Public Places installations throughout Avalon.
  • Pisces Fine Arts Gallery has coastal-themed pieces from all over the world.

Plus, many galleries have special exhibits! There’s even a renown California artist called “The Lady of Santa Catalina” whose works are still on display around the island. Don’t forget to check out the markets and gift shops too – who knows, you might find a giant plush buffalo wearing a tourist shirt!

Markets And Gift Shops

Catalina Island is home to a variety of markets and souvenir stores. Here are five tips to help you get the most out of them:

  • Check out Descanso Beach Club’s gift shop for some cool swimwear, beach toys and accessories.
  • At The Island Company on Crescent Avenue, you can find branded clothing, footwear and unique souvenirs.
  • Metropole Marketplace has a vast selection of gourmet treats such as cheese, chocolates, olive oils and vinegars.
  • Santa Catalina Island Company’s General Store stocks daily essentials like sunscreen, toiletries and packaged food items.
  • For locally-made crafts like earrings, necklaces, hats or bags, visit Avalon Handmade Crafts Gallery.

Most items in these markets are budget friendly. Prices may vary from store to store though, so it’s best to ask the vendor.

Pro Tip: The shopkeepers here will give you great insight about local culture and tradition. So don’t be shy to ask questions and learn more.

If you want to fit in with the locals, the key is to order buffalo milk cocktails and take in the insider tips!

How to go to Catalina Island

To get the most out of your visit to Catalina Island, these insider tips will help you navigate the island like a pro. Choose the right season to visit, plan ahead and make reservations, and don’t forget your sunscreen and comfortable shoes.

Choose The Right Season to Visit

To visit Catalina Island, choose the right time of year. Spring & fall are best for outdoor activities. Summer is busy & hot, perfect for water sports. Winter is less crowded, but with unpredictable weather.

Spring & fall: Hike trails or zip line, paddleboard & kayak in mild waters. Fall is great for wildlife watching!

Pro Tip: Pack layers – weather can change quickly. Book early or you could be sleeping on the beach with the seals!


Plan Ahead And make Reservations

To make your Catalina Island trip problem-free, plan ahead and book activities, lodgings, and meals. Here are some steps to follow:

  • Investigate and arrange your agenda.
  • Choose a travel mode to the island.
  • Book accommodations as per your budget.
  • Make dinner reservations two weeks prior.
  • Pre-book activities like snorkeling, kayaking or golfing.
  • Pack suitable shoes and appropriate attire for outdoor activities.

Additionally, it is wise to know a few things in advance. For example, cycling or golf carting is a good way to explore the island. Plus, you can access non-vehicle areas of the island. To make the most of your holiday in Catalina Island, here are a few tips:

  • Bring reusable water bottles as the tap water is safe to drink.
  • Visit during off-peak season for better offers.
  • Verify if gratuities are included in the bills.

By following these tips and making preparations, visitors can have an enjoyable trip while discovering all that Catalina Island has to offer – or just go ahead and forget them, for sunburn and blisters make great vacation memories.

Don’t Forget Your Sunscreen And Comfortable Shoes

Secure the must-haves before your Catalina Island trip! Arm yourself against the sun with SPF 30+ sunscreen. Comfy shoes are important since you’ll be walking a lot. Don’t forget your hat and sunglasses for extra protection. Pack a light jacket too, as it tends to get chilly in the night. Don’t forget to bring your beach towel either! For great discounts, check out The Catalina Island Company’s website. Pro tip: you won’t regret it!


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