The ferry service to Santa Catalina Island is the only such regular ferry service in the United States that isn't heavily subsidized by the government, although there is a resident discount coupon system provided by Los Angeles County. Thus, the fares are not particularly cheap, and to some extend residents--most of whom are Hispanic housekeepers, landscapers, waiters, cooks, construction workers, and tourist shop clerks--are held hostage on the island because of this. Except on their birthday, tourists coming to the island pay full fare, of course, and can depart from several ports on the mainland--San Pedro, Long Beach, or Dana Point and arrive at either Avalon Bay or Two Harbors piers. Tickets should be bought in advance on-line, but mid-day service will often allow ticket purchase at the port.
The trip is about an hour, and can be an inducement to vomit during turbulent weather. The ferry has two bars, one with alcoholic drinks, and I particularly recommend the spicy Bloody Mary to overcome nausea. There's plenty of outdoor seating where one can get sunburned, although by code, the management is required to board only so many passengers as there are seats available inside. This allows for fairly spacious seating, except on the first level inside at the front, which is the best place to ride out rough waves without getting sick. See the website for full scheduling and fares. Baggage isn't too much of a problem because, surprisingly enough, there's no security screening. However, dogs must be muzzled or caged, and larger kayaks and tandem bicycles aren't permitted. Among a blurry image here are the inside baggage taken during high seas, and neatly arranged confirmation and tickets.
The price of the Catalina Cruiser is a bit high- $66.50 round trip, but the convenience is unbeatable. Its a quick ride (~1 hour) to the island, and leaves from three different locations from the mainland and services both harbors on Catalina.
Catalina Channel Express or CAT EXPRESS runs from both Long Beach & San Pedro on a pretty regular service. Trip takes about an hour. While you can buy tickets right at the harbor, it makes more sense to book your outbound trip to Catalina as soon as you can as they do sell out, especially in the busy summer months. For the return trip, there's not much pressure to have a reservation. If you're prone to seasickness, take some Bonine or Dramamine about 45min-1 hr before your trip to avoid motion sickness. This is the only year-round boat service to Catalina so they are very reliable. There's no savings at all in buying a 1-way ticket or round-trip ticket. Check their website for more details. There are no limits on what baggage you bring aboard with you... so long as you can carry it all yourself.
There is no car that can go here so you have to take the ferry there.
It takes an hour and a half to make the trip.
If you do not have a car and you want to take the ferry you will need to take the Metro Blue Line to Transit Mall stop http://www.metro.net.
Time varies depending on where you are comming from
Then take the Passport D or A bus to Catalina Landing
http://www.lbtransit.com/services/passport.aspx. It takes about 15 minutes.
These shuttles will pick you up at the landing and take you either to the airport or your hotel. This is definitely a more expensive option and will vary depending on where you are. If you go to the airport then you have to go to Parking Lot C to take a bus. There are several buses here check with http://www.metro.net or 1800commute to see which one you need.
It is not necessarily that easy either because when I tried to call them to pick me up they had me on hold so long I decided to take the bus to the train.
First they told me that it would cost $111 round trip from any hotel to the landing and the boat round trip would be included. When I called them again to make arrangements on the day that I needed them they told me that this price was only from the airport to the landing.
It would be very helpful if people leaving info re golf/electric cart rentals for Catalina would also include the approximate rental charge per hour, per day, or any other useful info about the rates. This cost is also an important component in planning a Catalina trip & I have been unable to obtain that information anywhere online while arranging an excursion for the near future. Thank you.
Mapquest.com works very well for Southern California. Click on revise in the upper left had corner to enter a different address.
To see the streets, click the zoom + one notch, bar is on the left had side of the page.
There are a couple of ways to get to Catalina. Been there every way except by helicopter.
Best way I think is to have a friend with a sailboat. It's a 3-4 hour sail depending on the boat and the wind from Redondo Beach. Cattle boats as the call them leave from LA Harbor/Long Beach and during the summer from Marina Del Rey. There is a fast catamaran from Newport that goes during the summer. Most will take you to Avalon and some go to the Isthmus which is where I go most of the time. There is a small airport on the island and it's a 30 minute flight from most small airports along the coast in LA ( there are no commercial flights to the Island.
The Cattle boats (Catalina Express is the biggest I think) will get you there in around 2 hours. If you take a private boat you can tie up and the many small coves along the coast of the Island for a small fee..a few are private and others can fill up during the holidays so reservations are required but if you are reading this you probably don't own a boat and don't need to worry about this.
Helicopter ride to and from Catalina and Long Beach are available. Prices are kind of steep. This one seems reasonable. Flying time is 15 minutes. $82 one way or $156 round trip plus tax per person. Departures from Long Beach or San Pedro
Sorry, no such thing as car rental on Catalina! It's s extremely small community. The number of vehicles is limited and strictly enforced. You can rent a golf cart to get around but it's not necessary. Most of the hotels have shuttles to bring you up and down the hill if that is where you are staying.
How can you get to Catalina Island?
- About an hour trip from San Pedro, Long Beach or Dana Point
- Travel to Avalon or Two Harbors
- $60.00 round trip
For Reservations: www.catalinaexpress.com
- 15 Min trip
- $82.00 each way
For Reservations: www.islandexpress.com
There are two ways to get to Catalina; by water and by air. Duh.
Anywayz, the fastest boats are run by Catalina Express. These are no ordinary ferries, as they are decked out in airliner style seats and a BAR! They cruise between SoCal and Catalina at 38knots and make the twenty six mile journey in one hour flat.
Unfortunately, these are no ordinary fares, either. At $56/pp, round trip, you're not going to make too many trips to the island; so I suggest you make the visit a great one.
The round trip cost from San Pedro to Two Harbors on the fast ferry, which is about an hour, cost roughy $50. The ferry itself was really fun and we saw a few dozens dolphins jumping into the air, as well as grey whales spouting water, along the way. It was like a whale watching trip for free!
Oh, they also make really good bloody marys which taste great at 8 am in the morning!
On the way back we saw a blue whale. Unbelievable!!!
This is Catalina Express. Their boats are smaller than Catalina Flyer. Their schedule is more frequent (several times a day) and services more ports than Catalina Flyer (San Pedro, Long Beach, etc.) They also stop by Catalina's other city, Two Harbors.
This is Catalina Flyer, one of the ferry services between Catalina and the mainland. It only services Avalon on the island and Newport Beach in mainland. The schedule in the summer is one round-trip per day. The ferry leaves the harbor at Newport Beach at 9 AM and arrives Avalon at about 10:30 AM. It then leaves Avalon at 4:30 PM and returns to Newport Beach at 6 PM.
The harbor at Newport Beach is where you catch the Catalina Flyer ferry to Catalina. The harbor itself is a fun place to visit. There are many restaurants, including a restaurant-on-boat which takes you around the harbor while you dine. You can also rent kayaks or small boats (pontoon) here. In the photo you can see the ferris wheel by the harbor.