Looking to do something fun and different on a trip to Southern California? Here’s a suggestion: take a trip to Catalina Island.
This small island is just thirty miles from Los Angeles. You can take one of a number of ferries that depart daily from Newport Beach, Long Beach, Dana Point, and San Pedro. It’s a quick voyage making it a perfect spot for a day trip. The high-speed ferries only take an hour each way, and if you want to really splurge, you can make it in 15 minutes via helicopter.
In this post, we’re going to share some of our favorite things to see and do while exploring Catalina Island.
What to See and Do on Catalina Island
Although Catalina Island is relatively small, it’s only 22 miles long and home to just over 4,000 people, you won’t find a shortage of activities to enjoy while you’re there.
Head to the Beach
Spending a few hours at the beach is often at the top of the list for people who visit Catalina Island. Thankfully, there are a few options. Descanso Beach is usually the most popular spot and its a hub for all sorts of water sports and related activities. For a quieter option that is a bit further from town check out Pebbly Beach.
Go for a Hike
A lot of visitors who head out on day trips to Catalina Island love to spend some time hiking. Nearly 90% of the island isn’t developed and that area is managed by the Catalina Island Conservancy. The areas around Hermit Gulch and Two Harbor’s are some popular hikes.
Try an Island Tour
Although Catalina Island is small, it’s got a lot of history. There are a number of companies on the island that offer everything from sea kayaking adventures, to glass-bottom boat rides and off-road tours of local animals including the famous Catalina bison. You can also tour the Catalina Casino, and no it’s not for gambling.
Learn Some History
Did you know that, at one time, Marilyn Monroe called Catalina Island home? Or the island was once owned by the Wrigley family, yes just like the chewing gum and the name of the stadium where the Chicago Cubs play. You can learn all this history and more at the Catalina Island Museum right in downtown Avalon.
There are two main towns on Catalina Island. Avalon is the biggest, and where the ferries dock and Two Harbors is the other town on the opposite side of the island. Both of these are great places to check out quaint little shops, galleries, and boutiques that you won’t find anywhere else in the world.
Check Out the Botanic Garden
Stroll up Avalon Canyon from downtown and you’ll find a Botanic Garden and Memorial to the Wrigley family. The garden is relatively small, under 40 acres, but it’s well maintained and offers really beautiful views of the surrounding areas. It’s a perfect spot for an afternoon or sunset stroll.
As you can see, for a small island there is no shortage of things you can enjoy while you’re there. So make sure to take a trip to Catalina Island when you can.