California’s Channel Islands is a fantastic destination for beach-goers. While the Channel Islands feature eight islands of fun, Catalina Island should be at the top of any vacationer’s list of must-see places.

The southernmost island of California’s Channel Islands, Catalina Island is a sunny paradise chock-full of spectacular adventures and activities for vacationers of all ages. Visitors can fly through the trees on a zip line tour, ride a submarine to observe underwater ocean life, and eat at a variety of delicious restaurants on this gorgeous and action-packed island!

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Getting To Catalina Island

While some visitors can sail or fly on private boats and aircraft, the island also offers passenger ferries like the Catalina Flyer. For an extra charge, guests can bring surfboards, bikes, or pets- but always be sure to check ahead to stay up to date on any rules and regulations.

Schedule For The Catalina Flyer Ferry

  • Leaves Newport Beach at 9:00 AM
  • Arrives at Catalina Island at 10:15 AM
  • Leaves Catalina Island at 4:30 PM
  • Arrives at Newport Beach at 5:45 PM

Catalina Flyer Ticket Prices For One-Way & Round-Trip

  • Adult: $70, $35
  • Senior Ticket (60+ years): $65, $32.50
  • Child Ticket (3-12 years): $53, $26.50
  • Infant Ticket (Under 3 years): $6, $3

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What To Do On Catalina Island

Zip Line Eco Tour

Adrenaline lovers will have a blast at the Zip Line Eco Tour, where guests can soar six hundred feet above the trees at a staggering thirty-five miles an hour! As zipliners hop from line to line, trained guides will share all their extensive knowledge on California’s fascinating wildlife and terrain.

  • Hours: 9:20 AM - 4:20 PM
  • Pricing: $129 per person
  • Duration: Two hours, plus twenty minutes before the experience to finish up safety paperwork

Catalina Falconry Experience

At the Catalina Falconry Experience, visitors can have the chance to experience a real falcon land on their outstretched (and gloved) hand! Meet trained falcons and bird-of-prey professionals in this exciting and unique activity for the whole family.

  • Hours: Saturday and Sunday at 9:45 AM and 11:45 AM
  • Pricing: Adults: - $89, children (7-11), Seniors (55+), Veterans, and Active Military - $79
  • Duration: 75 minutes
  • Note: Participants must be age 7 years or older

Undersea Sub Expedition

In this thrilling and inspiring experience, guests have the opportunity to gaze out of their own personal porthole into the depths of the Pacific ocean. Children will love seeing friendly fish friends swim by on this quick dip beneath the waves. The Undersea Sub Expedition is great for families with kids of all ages.

  • Pricing: Adults - $39.95, Children (2-11), Seniors (55+), Veterans, and Active Military - $37.95
  • Duration: 45 minutes
  • Note: pets are not allowed on board

Catalina Aerial Adventure

Experience a unique hybrid of zip lining and hiking in this unusual activity in the trees. Part obstacle course, part athletic playground, the Catalina Aerial Adventure is great for people looking for a little bit of exercise and sweeping views of the landscape on their vacation to Catalina Island.

  • Hours: 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM (last climb)
  • Pricing: Spring and Winter - starting from $49.95 per person, Summer and Fall - starting from $59.95 per person

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What to Eat

Descanso Beach Club

Just past the Catalina Casino, Descanso Beach Club has a casual beachfront restaurant providing good bites to eat and cabana rentals.

  • Address: 1 St Catherine Way, Avalon, CA 90704, United States

Avalon Grille

With tasty California coastal cuisines, Avalon Grille offers craft beer and wine to complement a hearty dinner.

  • Address: 423 Crescent Ave, Avalon, CA 90704, United States

Harbor Reef Restaurant

Harbor Reef Restaurant is a great place to get casual island eats on the West End, near the Banning House Lodge.

  • Address: Catalina Isthmus, Two Harbors, CA 90704, United States
  • Tip: check out the nearby saloon and patio bar for live music at an outdoor patio- it is an excellent place to grab a small bite to eat and a refreshing drink

Where to Stay

While Catalina Island has plenty to see and do, there are also a variety of hotels and bed and breakfasts available for when guests want to hit the hay.

Pavilion Hotel

A casual, resort-style hotel near the beach with a relaxed atmosphere. Pavilion Hotel is great for those who want to stay near shops and other activities.

  • Pricing: Averaged at $300 a night
  • Check-in and check-out times: 4:00 PM and 11:00 AM
  • Amenities: Wi-Fi

Banning House Lodge

A cozy bed & breakfast with a little bit of history, the Banning House Lodge provides stunning views of Catalina Island. Our fully-furnished vacation cottages, Villa Santa Cruz and Villa Santa Rosa offer island seclusion with all the comforts of home.

  • Pricing: Averaged at $350 a night
  • Check-in and check-out times: 4:00 PM and 11:00 AM
  • Amenities: complimentary breakfast delivered to rooms, rentable beach and ocean gear, free wine and cheese in the evening
  • Tip: check out their fully-furnished cottages, Villa Santa Cruz and Villa Santa Rosa
  • Note: no internet access

Catalina Island also provides great campgrounds and amenities for travelers looking to add more nature to their experience! Learn more about camping here.

In conclusion, Catalina Island is a fantastic beginning, middle, or end to anyone’s California vacation. Whether guests want to soar above the trees on a zip line, catch a falcon on their hand, or simply eat, drink, and relax next to the mesmerizing waters of the Pacific ocean, Catalina Island should be in every island lover’s vacation plans!

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