Catalina Island California Vacation
Santa Catalina Island is a Southern California paradise. Simply known as Catalina, or Catalina Island California, this 21 mile long island has the feel of a Mediterranian resort.
Perhaps it’s the crescent shaped Avalon Catalina island harbor filled with yachts, the narrow streets free of automobiles, or the rugged Catalina island’s rugged mountains that rise above the harbor.
But to visitors, Catalina Island seems a world away from the bustling coast of Southern California, just 22 miles away.
Catalina Island was once owned by a chewing gum magnate, William Wrigley, Jr, who developed it as a resort.
It was popular in the 1930s and 1940s, when boats brought couples over from the mainland to dance to Big Bands in the Avalon Ballroom at the circular casino on the bay.
It’s only town, Avalon, is home to 3,000 plus people and has a friendly small town ambience.
Most people arrive by boats to Catalina Island, but there is a small airport on the island with daily helicopter service.
There are Catalina Island Ferry Boats to Avalon harbor from the San Pedro Harbor terminal and other terminals, listed with information, at the end of this page.
The island has plenty of Catalina Island Hotels, Resorts and vacation rentals, such as small cottages for rent.
Make reservations well in advance for summer, to ensure you get the Catalina lodging you prefer.
There are no rental cars available on Santa Catalina Island, but there are golf cart rentals and bikes to rent for getting around town. Buses are used for tours of the interiors.
The Catalina Island weather is ideal, making Catalina a great vacation spot, or a honeymoon destination in Southern California.
Snorkeling and scuba diving are very popular recreation activities on Catalina Island because of the clear ocean water abundant with sealife.
The Santa Catalina Island Casino
I love the small beach on Catalina, it’s perfect for swimming and sunbathing and taking in the view.
The beach is also great for families with small children. I used to take my kids to Catalina when they were small.
In fact this place was our family’s first vacation in Southern California. I have taken all my relatives from Sweden, where I grew up, here over the years.
The island is such a wonderful weekend getaway. I just love the place!
Most people have seen photos of the famous Catalina Island Casino, which is now mostly used for entertainment such as concerts and the popular Catalina Jazz concerts.
View Of Catalina Casino
Most of Santa Catalina has been left in its natural state, criss crossed by trails used for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding.
Hiking and camping permits can be obtained from Santa Catalina Island Conservancy (310)510-2595.
View Of Catalina Island
It’s the crystal clear waters of Catalina Island that attracts most visitors, with a wide variety of water sports, such as sailing, kayaking, scuba diving, snorkeling, motorboating, deep sea and pier fishing. There are dozens of Sightseeing Tours available as well.
How To Get To Catalina
You can travel to Santa Catalina Island by boat or helicopter with the following companies. Make reservations several weeks in advance to reserve the time you want.
Avalon Catalina Island
Catalina Island By Boat
Catalina Cruises: (800)317-3576 departs from Long Beach. Lenght of trip on Catalina Jet about 55 minutes; Classic Fleet, two hours.
Fares: Adult (12-54) $70.50 round trip; Seniors (55+) $64; Children (2-11) $55; Infants $5.
The Catalina Fleet offers a smooth ride system and airconditioning. The Classic Fleet are spacious boats with comfortable indoor and outdoor seating.
Catalina Express: (800)481-3470. Departs from Long Beach and San Pedro. Lenght of trip: one hour.
Fares: Adult $70.50 round trip. Seniors $64.00; Children (2-11)$55; Infants $5.00.
These boats offer comfortable airline style seats with hostess service.
Catalina Explorer: (800)317-3576. Departs from Dana Point. Lenght of trip is 90 minutes.
Fares: Adult $76.45 round trip, Seniors $364.95, Children (2-11)$55.95, under 2 $3.95.
These boats are convenient for travelers from Orange and San Diego Counties.
Catalina Passenger Service: (949)673-5245. Departs from Newport beach at the Balboa Island Pavilion. Length of trip is 75 minutes.
Fares:Adults $69 round trip; Seniors $64; Children (3-12) $53; Infants $5.
This is a fast, three deck catamaran. It makes one crossing daily.
Enjoy your Santa Catalina Island California vacation!