Catalina Island is one of California’s most breathtaking offshore destinations, and here’s how to experience all that this beach community has to offer.
California’s Channel Islands are a fantastic destination for beach vacationers. While the Channel Islands have eight fun islands, Catalina Island should be at the top of any must-see vacationer’s list.
Catalina Island, the southernmost island in California’s Channel Islands, is a sunny paradise filled with spectacular adventures and activities for vacationers of all ages. Visitors can fly through the trees on a zipline tour, ride a submarine to observe marine life in the ocean, and dine at a variety of delicious restaurants on this beautiful and action-packed island!
Arrival to Catalina Island
While some visitors can sail or fly by private boats and airplanes, the island also offers passenger ferries like the Catalina Flyer. For an additional fee, guests can bring surfboards, bicycles or pets. However, always do your research in advance to keep up to date with all the rules and regulations.
Catalina Flyer ferry timetable
- Leaves Newport Beach at 9:00 a.m.
- Arrival in Catalina Island at 10:15 am
- Leaves Catalina Island at 4:30 PM
- Arrive in Newport Beach at 5:45 p.m.
Catalina Flyer single and return ticket prices
- Adult: $ 70, $ 35
- Senior ticket (60+ years): $ 65, $ 32.50
- Child ticket (3-12 years): $ 53, $ 26.50
- Ticket for infants (under 3 years): $ 6, $ 3
What to do on Catalina Island
Zip line eco tour
Adrenaline lovers will have tons of fun on the Zip Line Eco Tour, which allows guests to soar six hundred feet above the trees at a breathtaking speed of thirty-five miles per hour! As zipliners hop from line to line, trained guides will share their extensive knowledge of California’s fascinating wildlife and terrain.
- Opening hours: 9:20 a.m. – 4:20 p.m.
- Price: $ 129 per person
- Duration: Two hours plus twenty minutes before the experience to take care of the security papers
Catalina falconry experience
At the Catalina Falconry Experience, visitors have the chance to experience real falcon land on their outstretched (and gloved) hand! Meet trained hawk and raptor professionals on this exciting and unique activity for the whole family.
- Hours: Saturday and Sunday at 9:45 a.m. and 11:45 a.m.
- Pricing: Adults – $ 89, Children (7-11), Seniors (55+), Veterans, and Active Military – $ 79
- Duration: 75 minutes
- Note: Participants must be at least 7 years old
Underwater underground expedition
In this exciting and inspiring experience, guests have the opportunity to look out into the depths of the Pacific Ocean from their personal porthole. Kids will love seeing friendly fish lovers swim by under the waves on this quick dip. The Undersea Sub Expedition is ideal for families with children of all ages.
- Pricing: Adults – $ 39.95, Children (2-11), Seniors (55+), Veterans, and Active Military – $ 37.95
- Duration: 45 minutes
- Note: Pets are not allowed on board
Catalina flying adventure
Experience a unique mix of zip lining and hiking on this unusual activity in the trees. The Catalina Aerial Adventure is partly an obstacle course, partly a sporty playground and ideal for everyone looking for a little exercise and a breathtaking view of the landscape during their vacation on Catalina Island.
- Hours: 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. (last ascent)
- Pricing: Spring and Winter – from $ 49.95 per person, Summer and Fall – from $ 59.95 per person
What to eat
Descanso Beach Club
Right behind the Catalina Casino, the Descanso Beach Club has a casual beach restaurant with good food and cabana rentals.
- Address: 1 St Catherine Way, Avalon, CA 90704, USA
With delicious California coastal cuisine, Avalon Grille offers craft beer and wine to complement a hearty dinner.
- Address: 423 Crescent Ave, Avalon, CA 90704, USA
Harbor Reef Restaurant
Harbor Reef Restaurant is a great place for some casual island fare in the West End, near Banning House Lodge.
- Address: Catalina Isthmus, Two Harbors, CA 90704, USA
- Top: Check out the nearby saloon and terrace bar for live music on an outside terrace – is it an excellent place to have a bite to eat and a refreshing drink?
Where to sleep
While there is plenty to see and do on Catalina Island, there are also a variety of hotels and bed and breakfasts available if guests want to help out.
Casual resort style hotel near the beach with a relaxed atmosphere. The Pavilion Hotel is ideal for those who want to stay close to shops and other activities.
- Pricing: Average of $ 300 per night
- Check-in and check-out times: 4:00 p.m. and 11:00 a.m.
- Furnishing: Wireless Internet access
Banning House Lodge
Banning House Lodge is a cozy bed and breakfast with a bit of history and breathtaking views of Catalina Island. Our fully furnished holiday homes Villa Santa Cruz and Villa Santa Rosa offer island seclusion with all the comforts of home.
- Pricing: Average of $ 350 per night
- Check-in and check-out times: 4:00 p.m. and 11:00 a.m.
- Furnishing: Free breakfast in the room, beach and sea equipment for hire, free wine and cheese in the evening
- Top: Check out their fully furnished cottages, Villa Santa Cruz and Villa Santa Rosa
- Note: no internet access
Catalina Island also has great campsites and amenities for travelers looking to add more nature to their experience! Find out more about camping here.
In summary, Catalina Island is a fantastic start, middle, or end to any California vacation. Whether guests want to zipline over the trees, catch a hawk by the hand, or just want to eat, drink, and relax by the mesmerizing waters of the Pacific Ocean, Catalina Island should be on every island lover’s vacation plan!
NEXT: You don’t necessarily need a passport to see a pink sand beach, there is one in California
These states are the best places to catch the fall foliage of 2021