Santa Catalina Island Travel Guide

  • Catalina Kayaking
    Catalina Kayaking
    by atufft
  • Harbor View
    Harbor View
    by GracesTrips
  • Santa Catalina Island
    by GracesTrips

Santa Catalina Island Things to Do

  • Wrigley Memorial Gardens, Part 4

    Here are some more close-ups of this great architectural work on Catalina Island. The power of the Wrigley family famed for it's gum, has waned over the years on this island. However, this is a monument to their enduring legacy.

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  • Golf

    We didn't golf but you can golf! We walked by the golf course every day. Just right across from our hotel. I posted this just for you golfers in case you were wondering if there was a golf course or not!

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  • Golf Cart Rental

    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. Check out my video, too!

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Santa Catalina Island Hotels

  • Catherine Hotel

    708 Crescent Avenue, California, United States

    Satisfaction: Terrible

    Good for: Business

Santa Catalina Island Restaurants

  • Not bad, not great

    I suppose I expected more. The first night we had dinner last year in Catalina, we ate here. The dinner we order at that time was okay, not great. I didn't realize that this was the same place until we walked in. I wanted to make reservations at the Country Club restaurant but they had a special wine dinner with set meal. My boyfriend isn't good...

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  • I Scream, U Scream for Ice Cream!

    There is no Starbucks on Avalon but they have a Cold Stone! If you haven't tried, you should. They take your favorite flavor(s) of ice cream and mash in nuts, candies, fruit, cake, whatever you like. It's pretty good. I prefer gelato but this is pretty good, too!

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  • Another Great Breakfast place

    They serve breakfast until 3 pm. I woke up with a hangover and a traditional breakfast didn't sound good. So, I ordered the lox served on bagel with cream cheese. I substituted the potatoes for cottage cheese. Lettuce, tomato and onion (I didn't have the onions) along with the meal. It was very good.

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Santa Catalina Island Nightlife

  • Karaoke All Day, All Night

    We did not partake in the festivities in this place, but you can't help but notice the NOISE. Wildly decorated and lots of drinking going on. In the evening as we walked by, the place was packed like sardines. Sorry kids, they have a sign that says 21+. Casual

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  • Live Music

    Located on the waterfront near the ferry ticket offices, Luau Larry's has wide, french doors that open out onto the street. It's a very casual place that's perfect for just chilling out on a summer night. 21 & over only.

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  • Local music spot

    Tips is just far enough back from the Green pier that most tourists miss it. You just see Sushi on the awning and thing Skip It ... Don't. Go see if the local guys are playing this night. No Cover for hot Live music. Eat Sushi or not. Order from the menu or not. Do drink well poured drinks from the bar. The locals hit this joint for a full pour....

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Santa Catalina Island Transportation

  • Catalina Express

    This is the most convenient way to travel to Catalina and back. It was super easy to check in, pay and board. There are actually three locations Catalina Express will leave from - San Pedro, Long Beach and Dana Point.

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  • Interactive Map

    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.

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  • You can fly to Catalina

    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

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Santa Catalina Island Shopping

  • DOn't go in if you can help it!

    I guess you would call this a souvenir shop. Oh my gosh! I would call it, nothing but junk! Anyway, I should have listed this tip under warnings. Nothing Probably not much

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  • One of the very few Grocery Markets in...

    When it comes to grocery shopping, you don't have much of a selection to choose from. The Vons is about 1/4 or 1/3 the size of the ones back home.

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  • Another Gift Shop

    This was actually a nice gift shop. Lots of wine stuff. Some dishes, pictures and such. Located in the Metropole Market Place.

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Santa Catalina Island Local Customs

  • What ever your heart desires!

    I walked into another gift shop filled with seashells. The guy behind the counter, Eric, hands me a business card. He has his own little side business called Island Style Deliveries. Dependable deliveries to your home, condo or hotel. Delivering what? Well, he claims whatever you want, whenever you want. If you want tacos at 2 am in the morning,...

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  • Dances with the buffalos

    To see and photograph wild buffalos you can take the "Inland Safari" tour from Avalon. But there's no guarantee you'll see any.The attached buffalo photo was taken near a place called Echo Lake. From the airport (Airport-in-the-sky) it's about 1 hour hike to the east. Before you reach the lake there's a plateau with great ocean view. That's where I...

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  • Cubs and buffalos

    Wrigley bought Chicago's Cubs baseball team in 1916, three years after he purchased the controlling interest in Santa Catalina Island Company. In 1921, he began bringing the Cubs to the island for spring training. He even built a baseball field to match the dimension of Chicago's Wrigley Field. Every year exhibition games are put out for the local...

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Santa Catalina Island Warnings and Dangers

  • Seat belts in the "Inland Tour"...

    I brought my daughter and her four children to Catalina last year. The children 11, 7, and 5 year old twins. We checked in at "Discovery Tours" and bought tickets for the "Inland Motor Tour".We had been on the tour for awhile. All of a sudden, the driver of the vehicle that we were in started driving at an unsafe speed towards the Catalina airport....

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  • Crazy drivers!

    If you rent a golf cart to drive around in, watch out for the locals! Most of them drive golf carts, too and some drive small cars or trucks- No matter what they're driving- look out! They are on a mission and they will run your a$$ off the road!

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  • Santa Catalina Island Hotels

    1 Hotels in Santa Catalina Island

Santa Catalina Island Tourist Traps

  • Tour Bus

    We saw these dated buses that reminded you of what buses looked liked back in the 50's and 60's that were taking loads of people on 2 hour, 4 hour and all day tours of Catalina. I'm not sure what you will get to see on these tours. The island doesn't appear to be inhabited much. I know there are buffalo on the island and probably isolated to a...

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  • Submarine: the brochure lies!

    Upon coming to Catalina Island, my friends and I realized that we only had a few hours to spend on the Island (a day trip from Newport Beach, also possible from LA) so we had to pick our things-to-do very carefuly and be financially smart. We had a choice of either snorkelling or going on a submarine and for some reason we picked the submarine...

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  • Walk Instead

    You can rent golf carts to drive around town (cars are limited to residents) but the carts cost $30/hr. A little too expensive and many roads are off limits to carts, anyway the town is small enough to walk. Pick up a city map at one of the hotels, then you can do your own walking tour.

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Santa Catalina Island What to Pack

  • Bring a sweater or jacket

    It depends on the time of year you go. But keep in mind, it can get really cold at night whether it's winter or summer because you are on the water. If you enjoy hiking, bring a pair of hiking boots or tennis shoes. There are some great hiking trails. If it's summer, you must bring a pair of flip flops (not those silly Tevas) and a bathing suit....

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  • Depends on what you do...

    You can't bring your car here, and 80% of hotels are within 300 yards from the ferry terminal. So I would say, don't bring what you can't carry walking 300 yards. Otherwise you will need a taxi or golf cart just to get to your hotel. I usually bring just a backpack for a 3-day stay. Most of things you can get on the island anyway. Weather is...

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  • Dress in Layers

    Lightweight backpack is perfect walking shoes, comfortable sandals or sneakerscome in shorts and t-shirt, but also bring pants and a sweatshirt. It gets cold when the sun goes down. Bring a bathing suit in case you want to go swimming or snorkeling.Sunglasses and a hat. Sunblock is a must. shampoo if you are going to snorkel, soap Bring a...

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Santa Catalina Island Off The Beaten Path

  • Jazz Festival

    I hear that Catalina hosts some of the best jazz venues ever. So, this year we had tickets to one of the venues. It's a 3 week long festival in October with several venues from Thursday through Sunday each weekend. The $$$ can add up if you buy tickets for more that one venue unlike some of the more local jazz festivals I've attended where you pay...

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  • Avalon Human Resident Cemetery

    On Cemetery Rd, which naturally branches off Country Club drive, high above the Avalon school, is the park like landscape where Catalina pioneers and former residents are buried. I didn't find any TongV tribal burials here, but there were plenty of locals who were born, lived out their lives, and eventually died in this island paradise. We visited...

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  • Avalon Pet Cemetery

    Take Wrigley Road up the hill a couple of turns, and you will find on the left an abandoned gated estate that's been turned into a pet cemetery. Although the city has not formally permitted the use of this lot, it has not been bulldozed. And, for good reason because their are many charming memorials to dogs, cats, and even hamsters. Some of these...

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Santa Catalina Island Sports & Outdoors

  • Snorkeling

    On one of our visits to Catalina during the month of May, we decided to try snorkeling. We didn't bring any gear with us but it was not necessary. They will outfit you with everything including the wet suit (in May the water is pretty cold). We had a blast! A boat takes you out to an area not too far from the harbor. We dropped into an area not too...

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  • Fishing off the Pier

    So, I see people fishing off the pier. I suppose fish can be caught and then what? I'm still not all that trusting to eat fish from the California oceans. The water seems clean enough but that doesn't mean the mercury levels in the fish are less. It's much safer to eat fish flown in from Hawaii. I prefer that. Fishing poles can be rented, boats...

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  • Hiking the Island Canyons

    Part of the Kayak adventure includes beaching the kayaks and taking a short hike inland. The leader will lecture on the geology, flora, and fauna of the island. it's a good idea to have decent pair of walking shoes for this part of the trip.

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Santa Catalina Island General

  • Barge Wharf and Water Desalination Plant

    Take Wrigley Road a windy mile around the bend from Avalon Bay, and you will discover the industrial park, if you can call it that, of Santa Catalina Island. Located here is the heliport, marine dry docks, and a critically important but rudimentary barge wharf that transfers cargo between mainland and island only during high tide--day and night....

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  • Planning the trip

    If I had to do it again, which I will, I would stay overnight on this island as opposed to going back to the hotel on the mainland. There is a lot to see and do for nature lovers of both land and sea. From the airport go here first and stay maybe 2 days then go to the mainland.For those of you who do not heed my advice please note that there are...

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  • Staying in Catalina Island

    In Avalon there are plenty of places to stay. It's been awhile since I was there so Google "Catalina Island" for hotels. There is everything from B&B's to small hotels or you might be able to find a time share here if you look. Price ranges very and outside of the holidays they won't break the bank. If you stay at the Isthmus I think there is one...

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Explore Deeper into Santa Catalina Island
What looks like a submarine, but not
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Glass Bottom Boat Ride, Peddle Boats, Kayaks
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Horseback Riding
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Snorkeling and/or Diving
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Bike Riding
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Miniature Golf
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Good Breakfast!
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Good Pizza!
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Upscale Dining Experience
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Nice Shirts and Airplanes!
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Buying Sea Shells
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Exquisite Gift Store
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You can't rent a car!
Transportation
Kayaking the Catalina Coastline
Sports & Outdoors
Wrigley Memorial Gardens, Part 3
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Wrigley Memorial Gardens, Part 2
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Wrigley Memorial Gardens, Part 1
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Catalina Express
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Dog Walk Avalon's Historic Residential District
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Locally Caught Seafood
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Zip Line Tours Over the Island
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Great steak and seafood!
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Great Seafood and you can't beat the view
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Take a walk thru town to the Catalina Country Club
Off The Beaten Path
The Inn on Mt. Ada
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On Catalina, the casino isn't for gambling.
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Wrigley Memorial and Botanical Gardens
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they add 25%tip!
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Most Convenient Ride to Catalina
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The one and only stop in Two Harbors
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Hiking the Trans Catalina Trail
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Catalina Express
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whales
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Find Lisa Marie Presley's $500,000 diamond ring!
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Dolphin spotting
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Skyline Drive Tour
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Map of Santa Catalina Island