Renting a golf cart is probably one of the biggest activities there is on the island. For $40 an hour, you can cruise around wherever your golf cart can take you. Regular automobiles are limited on the island and most visitors and locals drive around on golf carts.
Oh my gosh! Water termperature in May was about 65 degrees. My very first time at snorkeling! My boyfriend has snorkeled many times before but said the water was cold for him. I freaked out at first. The concept of breathing in and out of a tube in my mouth and not being able to breathe through my nose was uncomfortable. After a few minutes, I was calm and concentrated on my breathing and was then able to enjoy it. We rented all the snorkeling gear, flippers and wet suits for about $50-$55 per person including the boat ride to the cove we snorkeled at. Sorry, I don't have photos but it was well worth it! We saw several kinds of fish, a lobster, an octopus in a secluded cove with giant growth of seaweed. The water is clear (unlike LA beaches) and not too rough.
You can also just jump into the water with your scuba or snorkel gear over by the Casino. We saw several people doing this. Not sure if the sea life is prevalent over by that area.
So many more things to do in Catalina. We didn't do these things but you have many opportunities to experience so much more. Kayak rentals, boat rentals, sunbathing (there is a public beach (quite small and it gets packed!), hiking and more....
Going into town, there are quite a few stores. Mostly, gift stores and clothing stores. I'm not big on shopping (spending money) and there wasn't anything that really stood out that I would have to say you should see. Browsing is fun!
There are many places renting out bicycles. We rented a tandem bike (bicycle for two). The island has very strict rules as to where you can bike and where you can't bike and we pretended we were lost and decided to ride uphill on one of the roads you shouldn't travel. Boy, it was a struggle and had to even walk some of the way up. Riding back down was a breeze!
The first thing we did after walking into town from our hotel was stumble upon a very quaint miniature golf course. So, we played. Not sure of the address but can tell you it's the only one in town and ask any local - they should be able to tell you how to get there!
Another cool way to see Catalina is by golf cart. When you rent a golf cart you can cruise down the coast, up into the hills and through the city. There is a main road on Catalina that these golf carts go through and it takes you through a little tour around the island. Its not too expensive to rent especially if you have a few people with you. Its a great way to see some sights. I definitely recommend getting one of these for you first time at Catalina.
After you and your friends rent the tandem bikes, i suggest racing them. With only 1 person of course. Find yourself an empty street and take off. Those things are hard to peddle on your own. Its pretty fun though...
A cool way to see this part of the city is riding a bike. Or you can rent a double bike. This main part of the city isnt too big. The streets are small and they are filled with shops and restaurants. So when riding around you can pretty much see almost everything while getting a little exercise. This was my friends bike that they rented so i dont know how much it costs.
Don't get excited gamblers, this is not a gaming casino. It's a theater and ballroom on top. Casino actually means gathering place, and back before Las Vegas, people would go to casinos to party.... I guess not much has changed. I planned to write a bunch of info on this and find some pictures to download. But you can check out mht_in_la Catalina page. He has some great pictures and obviously went on the tour.
But if you have any interest in architecture or art, you must visit the casino. Even standing in front of the main entrance to see the gorgeous mosaic mermaid is great. Last I checked, the tours are $9.00 and the only way to get in is on a tour, or you can go to a movie and just see the theater, or if you are lucky enough to get invited to a special event in the ballroom. You buy tickets from Discovery Tours. Their main ticket booth is in the Plaza in the center of town where the buses pick up, or on the pier. They also hold Jazz and Blues festivals in the casino. Check out http://www.jazztrax.com/jazz/catalina.html.
There's nothing like a bird's eye view, while dolphins pop their heads up through the water below you. Just watch out for the mischevious boat operaters that slow down just long enough to dip you in the water for a bit.
My absolute favorite part of Catalina was snorkeling. Who knew such peaceful underwater worlds existed? The running joke was that Ariel(you know, the mermaid from the Disney movie) had it all wrong!!
We saw so much life it was unbelieveable. You can snorkel in front of the beach area and then go along the cliffs. In the area where there is sand look for bat rays and guitar fish. Along the cliff area is the most amazing seaweed and grass 'forests' and also garibaldis and other fish life galore.
For about 50 USD per person, a company by the name of "Discovery Tours" offer a ride through the island via a truck for about 4 hours.. you may purchase the tickets online or at the counter as you get off the boat at the harbour. The tour starts off by driving through the island and passing by houses, one of them being the location where the writer, Zane Grey wrote many of his western books in the past.. The tour continues through the bushes to a ranch called "El Rancho Escondido" where you sit for about 15 minutes and watch a brief horse riding demonstration.. There is a museam there with lots of old horse accessories such as wagons and saddles. From there, the truck continues through more bushes and you get to see Buffalo's in wild at a distance.. The airport is the next stop.. nothing really spectacular here; just a few private tiny planes parked and a little gift shop and a food court.. The truck then drives to a point high up on the hills where passengers can get off and take pictures of the Catalina Island coast.. The truck then drives back to where it took off from, somewhere in town by the harbor.. I almost forgot, at the end of your journey, you get a free head band from the gift shop with the map of Catalina Island on it.
It's a wonderful and relaxing feeling to stand on the pier, gazing at the clear blue water and watch the boats pass you by one by one.. Little kids feed the fish food machine a quarter to get a fist full of grains to feed the fish by the pier.. Watching the fish, mostly perch with the occasional bright yellow or red fish attack the food thrown in by the kids is a great site... Great place for a family to visit at least once during their stay on Catalina Island..
Where they used to keep a lot of horses in the past, now it's a pretty quiet ranch where tour guides drive up trucks there for tourists to visit the ranch and the museum inside. The museum consists of Silver horse saddles and old wagons on display.. it's well worth the visit just to see the small museum.. If you're a horse lover and a fan of history, You'll like it here..