Is Catalina Island Worth Visiting? 11 Reasons Why You Must!

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Is Catalina island worth visiting? If you are planning a weekend trip or romantic getaway to California’s hidden tropical gem in the southwest for the first time then you are bound to have this question.

So,is Santa Catalina island truly worth it?

Yes! Catalina island is definitely worth visiting. If you’ve never been to Catalina Island, you’re missing out on some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, a laid-back European vibe, a rich marine life, stunning landscapes, and an abundance of adventure activities that truly make it California’s underrated island getaway.

Is Catalina island worth visiting? Here are 11 reasons why you must

What is Catalina island known for?

Santa Catalina Island, also known as Catalina Island, is located southwest of Los Angeles and is part of California’s channel islands. It is known for its unspoiled white sand beaches with azure blue waters, abundant wild and marine life, laid-back European Greek island vibes, and a fascinating history filled with events and people that influenced Hollywood in the 1960’s.

What is the best time of the year to visit Catalina island?

A visit to Catalina Island between June and September will give you the best chance to enjoy the island’s low to moderate tides and abundant sunshine. Because of the island’s location off the coast of California southwest coast, visitors to Catalina can bask in the sun and take in the stunning views of the Pacific Ocean.

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How many days do you need in Catalina Island?

3 to 4 days (3 days and 2 nights) is enough time to explore the beauty of Catalina and enjoy other activities on the island.

How to go to Catalina island?

Catalina Island is accessible via sea or air. The best way to get to Catalina Island is determined by your departure point and preferred mode of transportation.

If you choose to travel to Catalina Island by sea (which is the most popular way to see the island’s spectacular views), you can depart from one of four major ports: San Pedro, Long Beach, Newport Beach, or Dana Point. Catalina Express and Catalina Flyer are the island’s two ferry companies.

Those who do not enjoy the sea can take a 15-minute helicopter ride to Catalina Island. From San Pedro, Long Beach, John Wayne Airport, and Burbank Airport, helicopter rides are available.

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11 Reasons Why You Must Visit Catalina Island

Enjoy the laid-back vibes & enticing beauty of unspoiled beaches

Catalina island Beaches
Photo by Guillermo Bresciano on Unsplash

It’s impossible to discuss Catalina Island without mentioning the island’s most alluring feature: its unspoiled white sand beaches.

Catalina Island is home to some of California’s most unspoiled and tranquil beaches. Because the majority of Catalina island is protected by the Catalina Island Conservancy, the majority of the island’s beaches retain their natural beauty.

Due to the fact that William Wrigley owned Catalina Island and also developed the island, which contributed to Catalina’s rise as California’s island escape, Catalina features both developed private beaches and unspoiled natural beauty.

Some of the Best Beaches in Catalina island include-

  1. Descanso beach club
  2. South Beach
  3. Middle beach
  4. Beaches on Two Harbour

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Soak in the splendid views on a Golf cart

One of the best ways to take in the breathtaking beauty and explore this exotic Pacific gem is to rent a golf cart (complete with a map of the island) and enjoy some of the most breathtaking views of the Pacific and Catalina’s picturesque landscape.

Additionally, you’ll see many locals zipping around in their Golf carts with their dogs as if they were normal cars.

Golf carts are available almost everywhere on the island through rental companies that rent carts by the hour. Downtown Avalon is the best location to rent golf carts on Catalina Island, as it is the epicenter of tourism.

Take a stroll around Downtown Catalina🏘

Downtown Avalon
Downtown Avalon, Image by Ken Lund vis Flickr

Avalon is a happening place in Catalina, and it is here that you will find Downtown Catalina, a tiny place with vintage small-town vibes sprinkled with delicious restaurants, shopping boutiques, and a vibrant nightlife scene.

Downtown Catalina’s charming tiny vintage town is the ideal spot to spend some relaxing time basking in the sun with a cocktail in hand or shopping for souvenirs.

Go Snorkeling🤿

Catalina island Snorkeling

Is it necessary for me to recommend this? It’s self-evident.

Catalina Island is surrounded by some of the most incredible marine diversity in the world, with crystal clear blue waters and incredible snorkeling spots, making it one of the best snorkeling destinations.

The joy of exploring underwater life while surrounded by thousands of vibrant fish is unmatched.

Underwater Cruise🛥

Catalina island underwater cruise

For those who are less adventurous or who wish to explore the breathtaking underwater life of the Catalina islands without getting wet, the semi-submarine Nautilus is an excellent way to cruise underwater and marvel at Catalina’s gifted marine life.

This 45-minute underwater adventure takes you through a marine sanctuary, where you can see fish through the porthole.

Additionally, the underwater cruise includes a tour of Lover’s Cove, a State Marine Conservation Area sanctuary where you can observe fascinating underwater gardens and ocean habitats aboard a semi-submersible named after the USS Nautilus, the country’s first nuclear-powered submarine.

Enjoy your day at the Catalina Casino🏨

Catalina casino
Catalina casino, Photo by Jack Catalano on Unsplash

A visit to Catalina Island would be incomplete without a stop at the Catalina Casino. In fact, it is impossible to miss this iconic white architecture, which can be seen as your cruise ship docks at the port or from the high-rise interiors of Catalina Island.

Catalina’s fascinating growth as California’s island escapade is exemplified by the Catalina Casino.

William Wriggly Jr., who owned the island and developed Avalon and the rest of the island as a conservation area and tourist attraction, built the Casino in 1929. This iconic landmark, which resembles a baseball stadium, was used for socializing rather than gambling, though it was used for gambling for a short time.

Movie buffs will appreciate this location because it has a long history with Hollywood. The Catalina Casino is home to the world’s largest circular ballroom and the world’s first theater specifically designed for showing movies, as well as the annual Catalina film festival.

The best way to explore the Casino is to take a 45-minute guided tour offered by the Catalina Island company, which teaches you about the Casino’s importance to Hollywood in the 1930s and its contribution to Catalina’s growth as an island getaway.

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Explore rich wildlife at the Catalina island conservancy🏞

Catalina island conservancy

The Catalina Island Conservancy is Southern California’s largest private land trust, founded in 1970 by William Wrigley Jr.’s son and family with the goal of preserving Catalina’s natural splendour.

The conservancy protects unspoiled beaches, secluded coves, and the habitats of numerous rare plant, animal, and insect species.

The conservancy is an ideal place for outdoor enthusiasts to spend time taking in the spectacular natural beauty of the island through activities such as hiking, camping, and exploring expeditions that begin at the Conservancy’s Trailhead in Avalon.

Unwind at Green Pleasure Pier⚓️

Green pleasure pier
Photo by Stella Guan on Unsplash

The Green Pleasure Pier, which was built in 1908 and was later renovated by the owner’s son William Wrigley Jr., is the ideal spot for fishing enthusiasts, divers, and adventure enthusiasts alike.

In stark contrast to Catalina’s tranquil atmosphere, the Green Pleasure Pier is a hive of activity, with hundreds of ships and boats docking daily with their catch.

The 407-foot Green Pleasure Pier gets its name from its green-painted buildings, which give it a more rustic appearance. Additionally, the Pier features fine dining options set against the stunning backdrop of boats docking in and out of the Pier.

Spend the best romantic time in Two Harbors village🏕


Away from the hustle and bustle of Avalon, Two Harbors’ remote location across the island makes it the most laid-back spot on the island that truly embodies the spirit of an old California village island.

This is the place to go if you want to get away from everything.

Two Harbors’ tranquil setting, complete with breathtaking views of the Pacific and shady palapas that line its shores, makes it an ideal location for couples seeking the ultimate romantic getaway.

Wrigley Memorial and Botanical Gardens🌴

Wrigley Memorial and Botanical Gardens
Image by Justin Ennis via Flickr

A perfect spot for nature enthusiasts to spend the day exploring the island’s meticulously preserved flora and fauna.

Catalina ironwood, Catalina manzanita, and Catalina mahogany are among the native and endemic species found in the Botanical Garden.

Additionally, the Garden is home to the Wrigley Memorial, which features exquisite Spanish tile murals and serves as the final resting place for the chewing gum magnate who owned and developed the island.

The gardens are located 1.5 miles up Avalon Canyon Road and are accessible via foot, bicycle, golf cart rental, or a local shuttle from Downtown Avalon.

Enjoy a perfect honeymoon on Mt. Ada🌄


Built-in 1928 as the Avalon “summer cottage” for William Wrigley Jr. and his wife Ada, this Georgian Colonial-style mansion, now converted into a hotel, is one of the island’s most iconic landmarks and the best place for a royal honeymoon experience.

The mansion is located on top of a hill overlooking what used to be Wrigley Field, which Wrigley built for his Chicago Cubs. It has a wrap-around terrace with spectacular views of the Pacific.

The best thing about Mt. Ada is that you can visit William Wrigley’s former billiards room and Ada’s former mahjong room, both of which have been meticulously preserved, with a few period-appropriate artifacts and original furniture still intact.

To ensure an unforgettable honeymoon experience, rent one of the many Grand suites with old Georgian-style luxury, golf carts, and exquisite dining options, and be pampered by one of Catalina’s best hotel staff.

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About the author
James Williams
James has been travel lover since childhood. Reading and traveling have been spiritual experiences for him. Learning about new places, cultures, and ways of life and sharing his own experiences and learnings has always been his passion.

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