Charming Catalina Island is located about an hour off the coast of Orange County, California. The island is 22 miles long and 8 miles across, but 90 percent of its inhabitants live in the only incorporated city, Avalon, that is only one square mile in size. For those looking to get away from the hustle-and-bustle of busy Southern California, Catalina provides a slow-paced vacation that can be spent relaxing on the beach or doing one of the many outdoor adventures.
Getting to Avalon, Catalina Island
Visitors can easily get to Avalon via a one-hour ferry ride from Long Beach, Dana Point, Newport Beach or San Pedro, California for approximately $37.25 (per adult). For only 15 dollars more, travelers on the Catalina Express can upgrade to the Commodore Lounge that offers indoor seating and waitress service. Light snacks and a beverage are included. Parking at the ferry station is typically $15 a day. If traveling by air is more appealing, the fastest way to Avalon is by helicopter -- only a 15-minute flight. If arriving on the island before the typical 3 p.m. hotel check in, there is inexpensive baggage storage at the ferry building.
Getting Around Avalon, Catalina Island
There are a limited number of vehicles allowed on Catalina, so a rental car is not an option, but a golf cart rental is! Luckily, because Avalon is so small, most people get around by walking, cycling, golf cart, or taxi. For those wanting to visit the interior of the island, excursions are available.
Accommodation in Avalon, Catalina Island
There are various two- and three-star hotels in Avalon. Just a short golf cart ride away are the Hamilton Cove Villas, a luxury condo resort with private pool and spa and magnificent ocean views. The Catalina Island Vacation Rentals rents out the privately owned condo -- each comes with a golf cart for easy access to downtown Avalon. The office is located in the Shops at the Atwater Arcade (119 Sumner Ave, Suite B) in Avalon.
Land Adventures in Avalon, Catalina Island
There are no shortage of activities to do by foot or wheel around Avalon. A short walk from downtown is the iconic Avalon Casino (which is not a gambling casino) that is home to a movie theater and the Catalina Island Museum. The museum shows the history and heritage of the Island through photos and memorabilia.Visitors can take a "behind the scenes" tour of the ballroom and concert hall, which are used for special events.
Another popular tourist attraction is the Segway Tours. The guided tours are an easy way to see various parts of Avalon. Tours last from 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours.
Other interesting activities include the following:
• Wrigley Botanic Gardens
• Interior Tours
• Zip Line Eco Tour
Sea Adventures in Avalon, Catalina Island
For those wanting to experience the Pacific Ocean, there are various types of water activities on the island. From snorkeling to fly fishing, there's something for every age and interest.
Here are just a few activities worth trying:
• Glass Bottom Boat Tours
• Para Sailing
• Scuba Diving
• Semi-Submersible Tours
With only a day or with an entire week, Avalon has plenty to keep visitors entertained while on Catalina Island. For more information and maps, visit the Catalina Island Visitor Center located at the foot of Green Pleasure Pier in Avalon.