There are many things to do on Catalina Island for the million or so people that visit every year. It is a favorite destination for both residents of the Los Angeles area as well as people visiting from around the country. The ease of access from a variety of points within Los Angeles and Orange counties, using ferries, helicopters, and small aircraft, make it possible to make the trip for a reasonable cost. It is only around $65 for a round-trip ferry to the island, whereas the helicopter flights are more expensive, but provide for a more scenic experience. There are things to do on Catalina Island for kids and adults. It is a choice destination for a day trip, a weekend, or a full vacation.
One of the chief Catalina Island attractions is the natural beauty of the island itself. From the isthmus at Two Harbors to the shores of Avalon to the rugged interior, there is raw beauty at every turn. You can enjoy camping at a number of sites on Catalina Island, where it is possible to take guided excursions, learn about marine science, witness the wildlife on the island, and much more. There are campgrounds at Hermit Gulch, Little Harbor, Parson’s Landing, Two Harbors, and Fox Landing, to name just a few. Camping on the island requires a reservation and permit. It is also well worth noting that there are nine alluring, boat-in campgrounds as well.
Before deciding which things to do on Catalina Island, you will need to know how to get there first. Cruises depart from five different points that span (in order of North to South) from Marina del Rey, San Pedro, Long Beach, Newport Beach, and Dana Point. A benefit of taking one of the cruise excursions to the island is that the trip itself is scenic and memorable. Look into glass-bottom boat cruises for an added thrill, as you see kelp forests, gorgeous reef, and massive schools of fish. Also look out for whales, dolphins, sea otters, and flying fish along the way.
There are a number of fantastic locations for both reef fishing and artificial reef fishing, making this sport one of the most popular Catalina Island attractions. You can take your own boat out or charter a craft for a deep sea fishing excursion. Mackerel, amberjack, yellowtail, and sand bass are just a few of the fish you can expect to find. There are a number of locations around the island to rent or charter boats, and you can also take your own boat from any of the above listed ports on the mainland to the island itself.
The Catalina Island Golf Course is a 2,100-yard, 9-hole golf course that provides two tees on each for 18-hole play. It formerly hosted the Bobby Jones Invitational Tournament and remains a well-loved course for frequent visitors of the island. There is a pro shop, pro onsite, as well as rentals available.
Hiking the interior of the island is also one of the most popular things to do on Catalina Island. There are many trails that afford the opportunity of seeing the gorgeous flora and fauna on the island. Take guided or personal tours of the island and see American bison, bald eagles, and island foxes. The waters surrounding the island contain many varieties of sea life, including giant sea bass, sharks, dolphins, and rays.
Scuba diving and snorkeling are also favorite activities. Lover’s Cove and Descanso Beach are two of the best places to dive. The crystal clear water, shipwrecks, and natural reefs make for an abundance of sea life, as well as a most unforgettable experience.