Welcome to Catalina Island

Originally the home of Tongva Nation, Catalina has gone through stints as a hangout for Spanish explorers, Franciscan friars, sea-otter poachers, smugglers and Union soldiers. In 1919 it was snapped up by chewing-gum magnate William Wrigley Jr (1861–1932), who had buildings constructed in the Spanish Mission style and for years sent his Chicago Cubs baseball team here for spring training. Apart from its human population (about 4100), Catalina's highest-profile residents are a herd of bison, brought here for a 1924 movie shoot and who ended up breeding.

Today most of the island is owned by the Catalina Island Conservancy, and 88% of the island's 75 square miles is a nature preserve requiring (easily available) permits for access to hiking and cycling.

Even if Catalina sinks under the weight of day-trippers in summer and whenever cruise ships anchor offshore, if you stay overnight you may well feel the ambience go from frantic to, as the song says, 'romance, romance, romance, romance.'

Commercial activity is concentrated in the town of Avalon (population about 3775), which is small enough to be explored in an hour or two, so there’s plenty of time for hiking, swimming and touring.

The only other settlement is Two Harbors (population about 300) on the remote west coast, which has a general store, a dive and kayak center, a snack bar and a lodge.

Top experiences in Catalina Island

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Catalina Island activities

$73.50 Transfers & Ground Transport

Catalina Island Ferry Ride from Long Beach or San Pedro

Aboard the comfortable Catalina Express, sit back, relax and enjoy beautiful waterfront views on a 1-hour ride from Long Beach or San Pedro. You will be delivered to Avalon, the southernmost city of Los Angeles County. Once you disembark your ferry, you are a 5-minute walk from the downtown area. The pedestrian-friendly town regulates how many cars are allowed on the island, so much so that there is even a waiting list to own a car on the island! Stroll along the quiet, picturesque waterfront to enjoy shopping, dining, sightseeing and entertainment—all at your own pace. Depending on your schedule, check out what the Long Beach and San Pedro harbors have to offer. All food, drinks and activities are at your own expense.Long BeachArrive in the heart of downtown at the Catalina Landing, next to the Aquarium of the Pacific. Want to grab a bite to eat before your ride? Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served at the Catalina Lounge, in addition to coffee, beer and wine. The nearby Catalina Deli dishes out sandwiches and other light snacks. The ferry service operates daily (schedule varies by season) and accommodates bikes, surfboards and strollers, giving you flexibility to travel how you please. San PedroYou can arrive early in San Pedro, a part of the Los Angeles Port, to discover its rich maritime history. Visit landmarks such as the Vincent Thomas Bridge, the third longest suspension bridge in the state of California, as well as the Los Angeles Maritime Museum and the historic USS Iowa and SS Lane Victory ships. When it’s time to depart for Catalina Island, hop on the ferry at the Catalina Sea and Air Terminal in San Pedro, which opened in summer 2012. The ferry schedule varies seasonally and accommodates bikes, surfboards and strollers, giving you flexibility to travel how you please.

$100.88 Cultural & Theme Tours

Catalina Food and Walking Tour

Make your way to the starting point and meet your enthusiastic guide and local food buff, who serves as your epicurean concierge for this small-group walking tour. Catalina Island is renowned for fresh seafood, delicious family recipes and expansive views of the Pacific Ocean. Be sure to come hungry for this culinary exploration to the island’s best restaurants. Follow your guide down scenic Front Street. See original Catalina tiles from the early 20th century on the way to your first tasting. You’ll walk about a mile and sit down at six locations in all, for a smorgasbord of good local food. Taste homespun favorites, sweets and fresh seafood pulled straight from the local waters. Discover Avalon’s quaint streets and friendly locals as you stroll this postcard-worthy seaside town. Admire the iconic waterfront architecture, including the world famous Casino Building and the Inn on Mt Ada. Your guide will share fascinating insights as you walk to your tastings. For the finale, enjoy a local favorite before continuing to explore lovely Catalina on your own.

$129 Outdoor Activities

Catalina Island Zip Line Eco Tour

You will begin by checking in at the Zip Line Eco Tour Base Camp, a 15-20 minute walk from Catalina's central city of Avalon, and then gear up for your tour. After receiving an orientation to the zip line you will be transported to the top of Descanso Canyon, while enjoying picturesque views of the city of Avalon. Your zip-line adventure begins at the Hog's Back gate, high in the hills near Avalon and descending through Descanso Canyon. You will pause at several eco-stations during your journey, where your guide will give you a presentation on various aspects of Catalina Island, including wildlife, history and ecology. Your tour will end at Descanso Beach after approximately two hours.All participants on tour are required to hike short distances, ascend and descend stairs, need to be of average mobility and strength, and in reasonably good health. Those with preexisting injuries, back, neck, or heart issues should consult their physician prior to booking this trip.

$135 Air, Helicopter & Balloon Tours

Catalina Helicopter Flight, Long Beach to Avalon in 15 Minutes

Board your comfortable helicopter at the Long Beach Heliport, located adjacent to the Queen Mary - the regal passenger ship that sailed the Atlantic for decades. As you take off, enjoy aerial views of the magnificent ship and the scenic coastline. Head out over the lovely waters of the Pacific, keeping your eyes open for dolphins and whales as you travel toward Catalina Island. This breathtaking island is known for its seaside cliffs, lush interior and romantic ambiance. With its quaint towns, variety of water activities, and wildlife such as buffalo, eagles and the Catalina Island fox, the island offers plenty of diversions and is a popular destination for everything from quick getaways to milestone events. During your exhilarating flight, learn about Catalina Island's history, geology and wildlife from your informative pilot, and take your fill of gorgeous photos. Your 15-minute helicopter ride to Catalina Island ends with touchdown at the Pebbly Beach Heliport on the outskirts of idyllic Avalon, Catalina Island's biggest town.You can book a one way to Catalina Island or a roundtrip and decide if you want to come back that same day or another day!

$20 Tours & Sightseeing

Catalina Island Avalon Scenic Tour

Meet and check in no later than 15 minutes prior to booked departure time at Tour Plaza in Avalon Ca located between Sumner & Catalina Ave.This seven-and-a-half mile journey provides a comprehensive history of Santa Catalina Island’s only city, Avalon. Journey along the beachfront, up the hillsides, and through the heart of this friendly and historic town. This tour always receives the highest ratings for customer satisfaction in our visitor surveys. You’ll see picture-perfect views and colorful local attractions as your guide shares interesting Catalina Island history and folklore from the comfort of our passenger vehicle.50-minute tour is nonstop and does not have bathrooms.

$134.49 Cruises, Sailing & Water Tours

Catalina Island from Anaheim or Los Angeles with Upgrades

You’ll be picked up from your Anaheim or Los Angeles area hotel in the morning for a shuttle drive to the Long Beach Landing Terminal, where you’ll hop on the ferry. Soak up vistas of the sprawling Southern California coast on your smooth 1-hour ride to the island.Located 22 miles (35 km) off the coast, Catalina Island (formally Santa Catalina Island) is a world away from the hustle and bustle of the mainland, a picture-perfect destination full of charming beaches, palm trees and rolling hills. When you arrive in Avalon, the island’s largest city, if you have purchased an optional upgrade, you will make your way to that tour's departure point.Avalon Scenic TourSee the sights of Avalon on a 50-minute tour that takes you along the waterfront, up the hillsides and through the center of town. The quick, nonstop journey provides views and allows you to get oriented with Avalon and its attractions so you can better enjoy your time on Catalina Island. Learn about the island's history and heritage from a guide as you travel the 7.5-mile (12-km) loop.Undersea ExpeditionCome face-to-face with Catalina's abundant marine life on this 45-minute underwater excursion. Cruise five feet below the surface in a spacious, climate-controlled cabin with a live guide highlighting points of interest. Every passenger has their own seat and port hole but you are also free to move about the cabin for a different viewpoint.Ocean Runner ExperienceHead back out onto the ocean from Avalon into the Catalina Channel on a sturdy Ribcraft boat for an adrenaline-fueled one-hour tour. Look for dolphins and sea lions in the Pacific Ocean and along the coast, then learn about Catalina Island's history and landmarks from your knowledgeable guide. Expect a fast, fun and informative ride that offers another perspective on the natural beauty of Catalina Island.Zipline AdventureJust a short 15-minute walk and you will meet your expert guide at the zipline launch spot. After a safety briefing, strap in and get ready for an exciting adventure! Beginning at the Hog's Back gate high in the hills near Avalon, you’ll travel on five consecutive ziplines at heights of 300 feet (91 meters) above the Descanso Canyon floor. Feel your adrenaline rush as you reach speeds of up to 45 mph (72 kph)! Your 2-hour zipline adventure ends at Descanso BeachReminisce on your fun, scenic experience on the relaxing ferry ride back to Long Beach, where you’ll be picked up and taken back to your hotel.