Catalina Island cruises are the preferred method for most people traveling to this vacation destination from Southern California. The Catalina Island Express offers transport to and from the island from a number of locations in Los Angeles and Orange Counties, including Long Beach, San Pedro, and Marina del Rey. The round trip fare is pretty reasonable when you consider the range of activities and attractions on the island.
Santa Catalina Island itself is located just 22 miles southwest from Long Beach. There are Catalina Island excursions and ferry services available year round to explore this raw and naturally beautiful coastal island. There are cruises from San Francisco to Catalina Island, as well as a number of other points along the west coast including Seattle, Los Angeles, and San Diego. You can also visit Catalina Island via cruise on any number of other, longer cruise ship itineraries. Many of the major cruise ship companies include Santa Catalina Island as a port of call.
If you are a resident of Los Angeles or any of the surrounding areas and are looking to take one of the Catalina Island cruises, you will have several options in terms of ports of departure. The Port of Los Angeles is situated in San Pedro Bay and there is a regular schedule of Catalina Island cruises departing from here all of the time. There are also two points of departure in Long Beach: the Long Beach Downtown Landing and the Long Beach Queen Mary. The Long Beach Queen Mary is actually situated directly in between the Los Angeles Port at San Pedro and the Long Beach Downtown Landing. Further south just off of Route 5 you will find Dana Point, which provides the quickest direct service to Avalon (normally less than an hour). Some of the other ports of Departure for Catalina Island cruises on the west coast include Ensenada, Eureka, Astoria, and Campbell River.
Whether you are on one of the cruises from San Francisco to Catalina Island, a quick day trip from your home in LA County, or an excursion as a part of a longer cruise, you will find virtually limitless things to do on Catalina Island, most of which revolve around the amazing natural wonders of the island, including the rugged interior, the pristine beaches, and the fascinating natural and artificial reefs in the temperate waters. There are seemingly countless water sports and activities, including scuba diving and snorkeling, kayaking, and paddle boating. You can stay at a hotel (there are around 800 rooms on the island altogether) or stay at one of the Catalina Island campsites like Hermit Gulch, Black Jack, or Two Harbors.
One of the most popular Catalina Island excursions is the tour of the interior to witness the American bison (buffalo), bald eagles, island foxes, and the other stunning flora and fauna of the island. These are amazing expeditions that are exciting for adults and children alike. Other excursions include tours of Avalon or Two Harbors. There are plenty of places to have a drink and a meal and the spring, summer, and early fall months are alive with excitement and activities.