Catalina Island

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Catalina Island

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Catalina Island [1] (whose official, but rarely used, name is Santa Catalina Island) is near the southern end of the Channel Islands off the coast of Southern California. It's technically in Los Angeles County and is a popular day trip and vacation destination for locals and tourists.


Santa Catalina is 22 miles from the mainland, despite the lyrics of the Four Preps' song.

Twenty-six miles across the sea
Santa Catalina is a-waitin' for me
Santa Catalina, the Island of Romance -- "26 Miles", The Four Preps, 1958

Catalina is a world unto itself, a distant asylum from the hustle and bustle of the rest of Southern California. Most of the island is owned by the Catalina Conservancy [2] which is chartered with protecting its environment.

Many visitors to the island come from cruises offered by Royal Caribbean.

The area codes for Catalina Island are 310 or the soon to be 424.


"City" is a relative term on Catalina - neither Avalon nor Two Harbors are particularly large, with Two Harbors having just a handful of houses and a single general store.

Get in

By boat

  • Catalina Classic Cruises,From San Pedro to Avalon. Toll free: 800-641-1004, Phone: 495-3565, [4]. Check website for schedule. Round trip fares - Adult: $41.00, Children (2-11): $26.00, Seniors (55+): $29.00, Infants (under 2): $3.00.
  • Catalina Express Ferry, from Long Beach, San Pedro or Dana Point to Avalon. There is also a boat from San Pedro to Two Harbors. Phone: 800-481-3470, [5]. Fares vary by departure point. See website for prices and schedule.
  • Catalina Flyer, from Newport Beach to Avalon. Phone: 949-673-5245, [6]. See website for scheduled departures. $61 round trip.
  • Private boat - Avalon and Two Harbors have mooring facilities and services. There are also many coves around the island that have moorings or anchorages. The Catalina website [7] has details about anchorage and mooring points around the island.

By air

  • Island Express Helicopter Service[8] flies from San Pedro or Long Beach into Catalina's Airport in the Sky.
  • Airport in the Sky [9] is open to private aircraft with a $20 landing fee and $5 per night tie down fee. No fuel is available for sale at the airport. Phone: 510-0143, Weather info line: 800-255-8700.

Get around

  • Walking - Most visitors to Catalina usually do their touring on foot.
  • Bicycle - There are several bicycle rental agencies on the island or you may bring your own bicycle over with you (usually for an extra fee).
  • Carts - Golf carts may also be rented on the island.


  • Catalina Island Vacation Rentals, P.O. Box 426, 119 Sumner Ave, Suite B, Avalon, CA 90704 (800) 631-5280 (310) 510-2276 [10]. The greatest selection of vacation home rentals on Catalina Island with just under 200 privately owned properties, ranging from beautiful, ocean front villas at Hamilton Cove to quaint cottages, houses and condos in the village of Avalon.


The Casino, built in 1929 by William Wrigley Jr., is a popular landmark and tourist attraction on the western tip of the Avalon beach. It was the tallest building in Los Angeles County at its completion. It features a ballroom, movie theater, and the Catalina Island Museum. There are no gambling facilities; the term casino refers instead to a more traditional Italian definition of casino, meaning social gathering place.


Snorkeling & SCUBA diving from shore - Catalina is a haven for SCUBA divers in Los Angeles area. The main SCUBA diving site from Avalon is Casino Point, right next to the Casino building. Concrete steps have been created, so divers (and snorkelers) can step down a few steps and enter the water. Since Casino Point is north-pointing dive site, it is mostly protected from the heavy surf and waves most of the year. Casino Point is a protected area and NOTHING can be removed from the area. There is a air refill station as well as tank/weights rental right next to the entry point. Common sitings are garibaldi, bat rays, octopus, giant black sea bass, kelp bass, lobsters and horn sharks.

Additional snorkeling can be done at Lovers' Cove, south of the ferry terminal.

Many dive boats depart from various ports in LA area, such as Long Beach and San Pedro, for a day diving trip to various parts of Catalina Island that are otherwise inaccessible via car from Catalina Island. The typical cost is $110-150 and includes breakfast, lunch, and three dives with air fills. Some boats have nitrox at additional cost.

For non-snorkelers and divers, there are two alternatives to viewing the underwater life - submarine ride and glassbottom boat ride. Tickets can be purchased from Catalina Discovery Tours in Avalon. Other tours offered by Discovery Tours include Avalon Scenic Tour and Casino Tour.

One mile from Avalon (accessible by taxi or bus) is a golf course and a camp ground.

A unique attraction to Catlina Island is the Yellow Semi-Submarine known as "The Nautilus" introuduced in 1999, its design is unique and allows visitors to see the underwater life day and night. These custum build vessel also allows passengers to feed the fish with tis torpedo mechanism.

Classic to Catalina Island are the Glass Bottom Boat and the Interiror trips, that take you to see the Bison that make of Catlina Island their home.


  • Blue Parrot.


Stay safe

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