The best transportation for the sight-seer in Avalon. No luggage, no groceries, just you and your camera and any friends you bring along. Shopping in town or finding a restaurant is walkable, but to visit the beaches or the hill tops all the way back to the Wrigley Memorial & Botanical Gardens nothing could be finer than to take the trolley. Cost factor is only $4.00 round trip and only $6.00 all day, on and off privileges. Spend an hour at the beach, then hop back on and spend an hour at the Gardens, hop back on and go to lunch, all the while sight-seeing the town of Avalon. In the summer, the trolley runs 7 days a week. Check out the times for off summer with the Trolley Website or when in town ask at the taxi service kiosk.
Fly if you want to, I have, but the relaxed and refreshing way to arrive at Avalon on Santa Catalina Island is by boat. Oh, you can take a huge cruise ship and stay for the day, being tendered in to shore, but the neat way is on the Catalina Express non-stop high speed catamaran.
Three mainland locations to serve you and once on the boat, sit back and relax because the Catalina Express will cover the distance across the sea to Catalina in about one hour. Long Beach, San Pedro, or Dana Point can be your gateway to fun in Avalon. Spend the day or stay overnight. Party for a weekend or chill out hanging out for a week. What ever amount of time you spend on Santa Catalina Island getting there and getting back to the mainland is as easy as 1; Long Beach, 2; San Pedro, or 3; Dana Point.
Situated at 1,600 feet elevation, Santa Catalina Island ’s only runway is truly an Airport in the Sky. Completed in 1946, the Airport in the Sky has a 3,250-foot runway that can accommodate most small planes.
Landing hours at the airport are 8:00 AM-7:00 PM from April 15 through October 15, and 8:00 AM-5:00 PM the rest of the year. Landings cost just $20 per plane with a $5 overnight tie-down charge. No fuel is available.
There are three locations for the Catalina Express: We boarded at the 320 Golden Shore, Long Beach, CA. Located downtown Long Beach is located in the heart of the city, along the waterfront beside the Pike and the Aquarium of the Pacific. The trip was very pleasant and stable. We got in line early so we could have a window. The trip only takes an hour and 10 minutes. The seats were very comfortable and it was clean.
Berth 95, San Pedro, CA
Address does not resolve properly on all mapping websites. Use: Catalina Express, San Pedro, CA on Google. Take the 110 Freeway south to San Pedro. Take the Terminal Island, Exit 47 ramp. Stay in the right lane, exit Harbor Blvd. Follow signs to Catalina Terminal.
34675 Golden Lantern St, Dana Point, CA
Catalina Express operates its ticketing and docking from the offices of Dana Wharf Sportfishing in beautiful Dana Point Harbor. This port is located just off the 5 Freeway.
They have several golf cart companies. Some require online reservations and some of the companies do not have required reservations. I made an online reservation and by reserving two hours, they give you an extra 1 hour free, so it was well worth the price because we were able to explore all of Avalon. Once our time was up, we strolled around and enjoyed the shops, sights, and beauty.
They have electric bikes and bikes that use your own power. They have 20 miles of paved streets to enjoy. Make sure to make a reservation.
Located at: 107 PEBBLY BEACH ROAD, AVALON CA
When in Avalon, catch the "Avalon Scenic Tour" bus for a 50 minute ride. The ride is mostly smooth, except on the hills but it's nothing that a senior can't handle. During the time on the bus, one can enjoy historic tales of old Avalon and Catalina Island given by the tour guide.
Prices: (as of Sept 2004) $13.50 for an adult
$ 6.75 child
Most cost-effective way to travel to Catalina Island is by ferry from Marina Del Rey, Long Beach, Newport Beach or Dana Point
Last time I went, in 1999, we took the ferry from Long Beach on the other side of the Queen Mary mooring. I used a coupon my sister got from the Entertainment Coupon Book. That kept the price for three of us under $100 round-trip. The trip takes about two hours, depending on which ferry service you use and from where you leave. Newport Beach is a little closer, so it takes less time from there. San Pedro is a little farther, so it takes a few minutes longer for that trip. The Long Beach trip is in between. It took about an hour-and-a-half or so from there, each way.
Most recent pricing info I have:
Catalina Ferries from Marina Del Rey:
$47 children 2-11
$6 bike/surf board
Catalina Express from San Pedro & Long Beach:
$37.50 children 2-11
$3.00 infant to 2yrs
Catalina Expres from Dana Point add $2.00 to above for adult and senior $1.50 to children. Infant and bikes same price.
Getting around Catalina Island is easy. Walking around Avalon is no big deal if you are in good health and condition.
One can rent bikes by the hour, half-day or all-day. All day is not much more than half-day. It costs about $30 to rent a bike for the day, a little less for half-day. If you rent the bike for the day and bring it back in less than four hours they will refund difference to you.
One can rent a golf cart, as well, but it is VERY expensive, about $100 for the day. If you are limited in ability to ambulate, this may be way to go. It is very nice to go to the top of the hill overlooking Avalon and experience the vista. It is a very steep walk, so be careful! Wear good shoes and be very careful if you are not in good condition! It is not a stroll!
There are bus tours as well, and vary in price depending on length of tour and where they go. There is a booth for buying tickets for tours in the park just north of the seafront in Avalon, there are signs posted to direct you. That is where the buses collect the passengers, too.
Catalina Express, which leaves from either Long Beach or San Pedro or Newport Beach in Orange County. There is also a helicopter that is available for about $90/person for a roundtrip. Instead of the usual 1-hour boat ride, the helicopter trip takes only about 15mins.
Walk! The city of Avalon is probably contained within a mile perimeter! Of course, you can rent a golf cart because that is the MAIN mode of transportation on this island.
Most people use a ferry to get across. Our family has always used 'Catalina Express.' It's a fast trip over and they run back and forth all day.
We always walk everywhere since Avalon is such a small area. Some people do use golf carts, though. There are not many large automobiles on the island and golf carts a fast, easy way to get around if walking isn't optimal.
Take the Catalina Express from Long Beach (adjacent to The Queen Mary) The boat takes about an hour to reach the island. Be sure to book
You can't hire a car on the island. Visitors can only get around the island by 'golf buggy' - great fun and a wonderful way to see the island
Santa Catalina is about 22 miles from Long Beach, California. There is one town on Catalina and it is called Avalon. About 4,000 people call it home but thousands more come each week as a day visitor by sea or air. Cruise ships arrive one a week to let the passengers roam the town and the mountain areas. Pleasure boat owners come over from the mainland of California to spend time in the Avalon Harbor and fish around the island. There are other modes of transportation to Catalina with the catamaran style ocean vessel at Catalina Express that takes about one hour to travel the channel between Long Beach and Avalon. The fastest way is by air. There is an airport on the island for those able to fly in and there is a helicopter service, as well.
Only 15 minutes to Avalon by helicopter on ISLAND EXPRESS from their Long Beach, California heliport located next door to the popular docked Queen Mary Liner that is now a maritime museum. This is the quick way but the more expensive way to get over to Santa Catalina and Avalon. It is also a fun way with the experience of a helicopter flight as the views from up in the air. In fact, the pilot of the helicopter on which I was on, flew right over the Catalina Express boat that was taking the sea voyage way and had left about 10 minutes before my flight. Fast is fast and as we approached Avalon, a large cruise ship was in the bay. So a thrill a minute on the helicopter continued as the pilot tilted the copter so we could see straight down on the sun deck of the cruise ship. Seemed like a lot of cruisers near the ship's pool were looking up at us. We made a smooth landing at the heliport in Avalon and I have a very short video on my Avalon VT pages of the helicopter landing from the passengers point of view. If you visit California and want to see the island of Santa Catalina up close and personal, then to get there fast and comfortable as well as a great overview of the ocean, go via the ISLAND EXPRESS helicopter just for the thrill of it.
We've taken both ways to the Island on different trips...air and boat. We opted for the air the first time because we only had one day to explore the island. The trip was smooth and fast! Although it was a bit pricey (about $130 round trip per person), it's worth it in my book when time is of the essence! You can catch an airplane from Long Island or San Pedro and have the pilot phone ahead to make sure there's a taxi available to drive ya' into Avalon.
Since the city is so small, all you'll find are a few taxis on the island. Golf carts and bicycles are what you'll find...and what you'll be able to rent once you're there. The link provided is only of one such establishment...there are several on the island and prices are pretty much the same every place you go.