Oh hiiii Catalina Island – the easy, “I’m busy” quick-fix to a paradise escape. If you’re a California resident and can’t get to the South France for a weekend, I recommend this little Channel Island. It’s the first island I visited as a kid, and coming back as adult was just as fun. We spent a short 48 hours in Catalina Island — enough to getaway and rejuvenate. A quick ferry ride, Catalina Island is only 75 minutes from Los Angeles. The heart of Catalina is Avalon, California — a one-by-one mile radius of beach, sun and celebration. Check out my favorite things to do in Catalina Island, and follow all of my places on BUENA.
In this post:
- How to Get to Catalina Island / Catalina Island Express Details
- Photos to plan your Catalina Island trip
- Where to Stay in Catalina Island
- Cute/ adventurous things to do in Catalina Island
- Best restaurants in Catalina Island
- Other California destinations for your next weekend trip!
- Check out my printable Beach Vacation Packing List for Women & Men
The Best Things to Do in Catalina Island
1. Parasailing in Catalina Island
Is your biggest fear heights or a fear of drowning? You’ll be perfectly safe parasailing in Catalina Island — however, there is a sense of thrill and adventure. Have your own James Bond moment.
Parasailing in Catalina Island
2. Kayaking in Catalina Island
Are we in the South of France? Kayaking in Catalina was a great way to stay active and cool off with a view. We did the kayak tour to Moro Rock. If you’re really up for a challenge, you can sign up for a kayak & camping trip and see the entire island by kayak.
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3. Look out points in Avalon, Catalina Island
One of the best things to do in Catalina Island is to enjoy the view! You can do a quick 15 minute walk to get to this view point, or do a more aggressive 35 minute hike to the view point.
Look out point in Avalon, Catalina Island
Directions to the look out point:
Walk past the pier towards Island Spa ,to the right is a staircase.
Take the staircase — you’ll get a beautiful view, but that’s not it!
Continue left through the stairs passing homes. You’ll end up on Hill Street.
Walk through Hill Street until you hit a road. Turn right and allow it to weave left.
Walk up the road towards the Chimes Tower. Again, no the view point!
Continue past it, past another set with trees framing the view. You’ll finally hit flat ground that is clearly a viewpoint.
Grab some photos! Enjoy.
4. Island Resort & Spa
For total relaxation, sign up for a massage or facial at the Island Resort & Spa.
Catalina Island Spa, Photo via Visit Catalina Island
5. Go for a swim!
If you want to go to Catalina Island and do absolutely nothing, get your feet wet and enjoy the view, you can do that too.
How to Get to Catalina Island: The Catalina Express
The ferry schedule and fares change seasonally, but you can get a round trip ticket for about $75 from Long Beach, Dana Point, and San Pedro. Parking at the ferry ports is $17/ day. You’re allowed two pieces of luggage up to 50 lbs each bag. 23”x23”x37” Maximum Bag Dimension. One Carry-On to be Stowed at the Seat.
Catalina Island Restaurants
I liked the Avalon Grille Catalina Island for steak and lava cake. I also recommend a hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant for the salsa verde carne burrito — The Sandtrap.
There’s no shortage of food, all-you-can-drink, and shopping on the beach strip.
Where to Stay in Catalina Island
I loved that the hotel is on the water, has fire pits, super friendly staff, and that the breakfast is included. Not to mention, we all loved the complimentary wine & cheese happy hour from 4:30 to 6 PM!
It’s a five minute walk from the ferry port, and hotel staff can meet you there to assist you with your luggage.
Closing Thoughts for Things to Do in Catalina Island
It’s fun! It’s easy, accessible and a piece of paradise. Definitely underrated and a delight. Enjoy your next trip to Catalina Island.
Other Places & Things to do in California
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