Avalon is Santa Catalina Island's only incorporated city and is the southernmost city incorporated into Los Angeles County. Avalon is a major tourist destination for visitors looking to experience the island's rich history and natural wonders, famed for its glass-bottom boat marine wildlife tours.
1.Catalina Island Conservancy
© Catalina Island Conservancy
Catalina Island Conservancy is a nonprofit organization that was established in 1972 to protect the beautiful unspoiled natural lands of Santa Catalina Island through conservation and education methods. Today, the conservancy oversees one of California's oldest private land trusts, protecting more than 88 percent of Santa Catalina Island's natural areas, including over 62 miles of pristine natural beachfront, the largest public-access stretch of undeveloped beachfront in the Southern California region. The island's natural preserve welcomes more than one million annual visitors for recreation and relaxation, including more than 60,000 annual students who visit the island as part of the conservancy's educational outreach programming. Things to Do in Catalina Island
708 Crescent Ave. Avalon, CA 90704, Phone: 310-510-1445
2.Catalina Island Museum
© Catalina Island Museum
Catalina Island Museum was the vision of Philip K. Wrigley, the son of island community founder William Wrigley, who strived to preserve the island's heritage and culture through a public space for museum exhibits. The museum was originally opened to the public within the historic Catalina Island Casino facility in 1953 and was housed within the casino until 2016, when it moved to its new permanent facility at the Ada Blanche Wrigley Schreiner Building. Today, the museum strives to preserve the region's social and cultural history through permanent and temporary rotating exhibits. More than 10,000 historic photographs are showcased within the museum's collections, along with extensive collections of pottery, tile work, sport fishing artifacts, and artifacts related to the region's indigenous Tongva people. Exhibits focus on the area's social history, with many examining the area's connection to Hollywood filmmaking.
P.O. Box 366, Avalon, CA 90704, Phone: 310-510-2414
3.Catalina Island Company
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Catalina Island Company is Santa Catalina Island's premiere tourism company, overseeing more than 20 historic buildings, resorts, and tour and excursion companies operating out of the island. The company was established in 1894 by Hancock, Joseph, and William Banning and was acquired by William Wrigley Jr. in 1919, which led to the island's modern-day tourist development and protection as a natural oasis. Today, the company has been an island staple for more than a century, overseeing top visitor attractions such as the Catalina Island Casino's historic grand ballroom, the luxury resorts Hotel Atwater and the Pavilion Hotel, and the Catalina Island Golf Course, the nation's oldest-operating golf course west of the Rocky Mountains. A wide variety of tours and excursion experiences are also available, including zipline eco tours, aerial adventures, harbor lights tours, and treks along the Avalon Canyon Trail.
150 Metropole Ave, Avalon, CA 90704, Phone: 310-510-2000
4.Airport in the Sky
© Airport in the Sky
Airport in the Sky, also known officially as Catalina Airport, is a private airport that is located atop Catalina Island's highest elevation point at 1,602 feet. The airport is open to the public daily for the landing of general commuter and tourist aircraft, with limited supply airfreight operations also maintained on a regular basis. It was originally opened to the public in 1941 as the Buffalo Springs Airport, constructed by island developer William Wrigley Jr. During World War II, the airport was used as a training facility, and during the mid-20th century, the airport accepted commercial passenger flights, gaining public notoriety for its inclusion in the feature film The In-Laws. Today, it is primarily utilized by private pilots and is accessible to visitors through Wildlands Express tours, which operate daily. In addition to the airport's spectacular mountain views, its DC-3 Grill is a top island attraction, serving a variety of beef, bison, chicken, and vegetarian burger and sandwich options.
1 Airport Rd, Avalon, CA 90704, Phone: 310-510-1445
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Journey Catalina is a family-owned tourism company offering a variety of eco-friendly island tour options for Santa Catalina Island visitors. The company has been in business for more than two decades, offering Jeep eco tours of the island in six-passenger open-air vehicles. All tours explore top tourist sites on the island, including the town of Two Harbors, the Airport in the Sky, and Rancho Escondido and the Rusack Vineyard. Tours may be customized to meet participants' travel needs and may be scheduled to depart as early as 8:00am. Demand-response island taxi service is also available through the company, including delivery service, along with auto repair service for vehicles and golf carts.
228 Metropole Ave, P.O. Box 2141, Avalon, CA 90704, Phone: 310-510-0342
6.Wrigley Memorial and Botanic Garden
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Wrigley Memorial and Botanic Garden is located approximately half an hour on foot from the city center of Avalon, spanning more than 38 acres along majestic Avalon Canyon. The garden is located at the final resting site of island community leader William Wrigley Jr., with a 130-foot monument tower commemorating the site of his former interment. Following his death, the land around the memorial was cultivated into a botanical garden facility by Wrigley's widow, Ada. Today, the monument and gardens are overseen by the Catalina Island Conservancy, spanning more than 38 acres and showcasing endemic California island plants. The gardens also serve as a trailhead for popular island trail Garden to Sky Trail.
1402 Avalon Cyn Rd, Avalon, CA 90704, Phone: 310-510-2897
7.Golf Gardens Miniature Golf
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Golf Gardens Miniature Golf is one of Catalina Island's top family fun centers, offering a year-round 18-hole golf course that is acclaimed as one of the world's most scenic and challenging miniature golf courses. The par-51 course has been in operation for more than 40 years on the island, located less than one block from Avalon's beautiful beachfront. It is open daily year-round, weather-permitting, with ticket prices available for adults, children, and seniors. All guests should allow approximately one hour for course play, with final tee times offered one hour prior to closing. Tickets may be purchased at the gate or in advance at any Discovery Tours location on the island.
10 Island Plaza, Avalon, CA 90704, Phone: 800-322-3434
8.Hermit Gulch Trail Loop
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Hermit Gulch Trail Loop is an 11.75-mile hike that is accessible from the Hermit Gulch Campground in Avalon. The trail is accessible to visitors with permits from the Catalina Island Conservancy, offering unparalleled views of Catalina Island's southern tip. It begins with a 1.7-mile moderately-difficult uphill hike on the Hermit Gulch Trail, which offers expansive ocean views at its 1,200-foot peak. It then continues along the Trans-Catalina Trail Loop, which reaches a peak elevation of 1,600 feet and offers stunning views of both of the island's coastlines. At the end of the hike, the trail takes visitors back into downtown Avalon via Renton Mine, Wrigley, and Pebbly Beach Roads. A shorter trail route allows visitors to descend to the city's botanical gardens at the 6.25-mile marker.
125 Claressa Avenue, Avalon, CA 90704
9.The Nature Center at Avalon Canyon
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The Nature Center at Avalon Canyon is located on the site of Avalon's first public interpretive center, which was originally constructed by the Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation Department to preserve the natural and social history of the island. Today, it is operated by the Catalina Island Conservancy and is located near the city's botanical gardens, approximately a 20-minute walk from Avalon's town center. Self-guided visitor exhibits detail the natural history of the island, with a focus on conservation initiatives in the 20th and 21st centuries. Children's exhibits are also featured, along with a video library and a public resource center.
1202 Avalon Cyn Rd, Avalon, CA 90704, Phone: 310-510-0954
10.The Green Pleasure Pier
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The Green Pleasure Pier is the center of Avalon's tourism industry, serving as the loading and unloading point for pleasure cruises and ferries docking on the island. The pier is located along Crescent Beach and is visible throughout the city of Avalon, serving as one of its top tourist attractions and offering spectacular 180-degree views of the city's harbor and the nearby Pacific Ocean. It is home to a number of shopping and dining destinations, including casual quick-service hamburger joints and upscale fine dining seafood restaurants. Visitors can also embark on a variety of guided land and sea tours from the pier, including the city's famous glass-bottom boat rides, which offer a close-up look at underwater marine life in the region's surrounding waters.
1 Green Pleasure Pier, Avalon, CA 90704
11.Catalina Island Casino
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Catalina Island Casino is a public event complex that takes its name from the Italian word for "gathering place," not to be mistaken with American casinos that are centered on gambling. The complex was originally commissioned for constructed in 1929 by William Wrigley Jr., the founder of Santa Catalina Island's modern community. Throughout much of the 20th century, it served as the center of Avalon's social life, offering dining, dancing, and movie-watching opportunities for patrons arriving by boat. Today, the complex still offers first-run films at the historic Avalon Theatre, with public and private special events hosted at its historic grand ballroom, including a New Year's Eve celebration and the Catalina Island JazzTrax Festival. Walking tours of the casino are offered periodically, including a behind-the-scenes tour and a twilight tour.
1 Casino Way, Avalon, CA 90704, Phone: 310-510-0179
12.The Avalon Theatre
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The Avalon Theatre was America's first movie theater specifically designed for the viewing of talking motion pictures, originally opened to the public in 1929. The theater has been honored with the Honor Award by the American Institute of Architects for its status as an outstanding architectural achievement of the early 20th century. Today, it still shows first-run and family blockbuster films daily at 7:30pm, seating a maximum of 1,184 visitors. Original Art Deco-style murals by John Gabriel Beckman still adorn its walls, and musical performances from its historic pipe organ are still showcased on Friday and Saturday evenings before each film showing.
1 Casino Way, Avalon, CA 90704, Phone: 310-510-0179
13.Catalina Coastal Tours and Fishing
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Catalina Coastal Tours and Fishing is Catalina Island's premiere fishing charter company, offering year-round service aboard the company's fishing vessels and passenger boats. All of the company's excursions are led by experienced captains, with charters available for fishers of all ages and ability levels. Standard angling tours last approximately two hours and are available for all fishers with valid California fishing licenses. All fish caught aboard charters are cleaned and preserved by the company's captains so that participants can enjoy their catches later in the day for dinner or take them to local restaurants for expert preparation. Beach adventure tours are also offered, allowing participants to explore remote beach White's Landing, along with dolphin and sea lion sightseeing tours and nighttime astronomy-watching tours.
P.O. Box 1812, Avalon, CA 90704, Phone: 626-290-2888
14.Catalina Island Undersea Expedition
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Catalina Island Undersea Expedition offers 45-minute pleasure cruise excursions year-round aboard Sea Wolf semi-submersible vessels, offering Catalina Island visitors chances to view the region's marine life in an up-close and personal setting. The vessels' cabins are submerged five feet underwater, with a private seat and viewing porthole offered for each excursion participant. Participants have the opportunity to view native California marine wildlife such as spotted calico bass, bright orange garibaldi, rockfish, urchins, and bat rays, with freedom to roam around the climate-controlled cabin for best views. Ticket prices are available for adult, child, and senior tour participants, with discounts offered for active military members and participants booking advance tour tickets.
Green Pleasure Pier, Avalon, CA 90704, Phone: 800-626-1496
15.Steve's Steakhouse and Seafood
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Steve's Steakhouse and Seafood is one of Avalon's premiere upscale seafood restaurants, offering breathtaking panoramic views of Avalon's harbor from its location on Crescent Avenue. The restaurant has been in operation for more than 40 years and offers gourmet seafood dishes at lunch and dinner throughout the week, including salmon, swordfish, ahi tuna, lobster, and king crab dishes. Catches of the day are offered as dinner specials, along with a wide variety of land fare, including New York strip steak, filet mignon, and a variety of burger and sandwich options. Domestic and import beer is available on draft or in bottles, along with an extensive wine list highlighting Sonoma County and Napa Valley favorites.
417 Crescent Ave, Avalon CA 90704, Phone: 301-510-0333
16.Catalina Coffee and Cookie Co.
© Catalina Coffee and Cookie Co.
Catalina Coffee and Cookie Co. is a casual dining cafe and restaurant located within the Metropole Marketplace along Crescent Avenue in downtown Avalon, serving coffee beverages and hot breakfast all day long. The restaurant has been a recipient of multiple Taste Around of Avalon awards for unique menu options such as its strawberry hibiscus tea. It opens daily at 5:00am and serves a full menu of coffee shop beverages, including smoothies, ice-blended drinks, and flavored lattes. Breakfast options include ham and cheese croissants, vegetable frittatas, breakfast burritos, and build-your-own breakfast sandwich options. The restaurant is also home to the city's only fresh fruit frozen yogurt bar and serves a variety of fresh-baked pastries throughout the day, including gluten-free pastry options.
Metropole Market Place, 205 Crescent Avenue, Avalon, CA 90704, Phone: 310-510-2447
17.Scoops Catalina Island
© Scoops Catalina Island
Scoops Catalina Island is Avalon's premiere ice cream shop, offering a variety of homemade ice cream flavors crafted according to Italian ice-cream-making traditions. All ice cream is kept in Pozetti-style refrigerated wells, which allow for maximum temperature control and preservation. Preservative-free ice cream flavors include traditional favorites such as butter pecan, mint chocolate chip, Oreo cookies and cream, and the shop's signature vanilla bean ice cream, which is infused with Madagascar vanilla beans sourced from R.R. Lochhead's Bourban. A wide variety of creative Italian gelato flavors are also offered, including cinnamon rice pudding, amarena cherry, and New York-style wild berry cheesecake. In addition to its ice cream offerings, Scoops is also proud to serve Starbucks coffee beverages and treats.
505 Crescent Ave, Avalon, CA 90704, Phone: 310-510-0178
18.Bluewater Avalon Seafood Restaurant
© Bluewater Avalon Seafood Restaurant
Bluewater Avalon Seafood Restaurant has been voted as one of Catalina Island's best attractions, offering full lunch and dinner menus at its waterfront restaurant and patio. The restaurant focuses on dishes prepared with fresh, sustainably-sourced seafood, open daily at 11:00am for full kitchen and bar service. Casual lunch fare includes fish tacos, crab BLTA sandwiches, and appetizers such as Thai chili chicken wings and jumbo cocktail prawns, while gourmet dinner dishes focus on land and sea offerings such as prawn linguine, San Francisco-style cioppino, and cedar-plank-prepared salon. A full gluten-free menu is also offered at lunch and dinner, with item substitutions available upon request whenever possible. Happy hour specials are offered weekly on draft and bottled beers, house wines and champagnes, and well drinks.
306 Crescent Ave, P.O. Box 1890, Avalon, CA 90704, Phone: 310-510-3474
19.The Lobster Trap
© The Lobster Trap
The Lobster Trap is one of Catalina Island's best fine dining destinations, offering great food and friendly service at its Avalon location. Lunch and dinner are served daily, with an emphasis on fresh fish catches and locally-sourced ingredients. A wide variety of seafood-focused entrees are offered, including Baja-influenced appetizers such as shrimp ceviche and Mexican shrimp cocktail. Full soup and salad menus are offered, along with ample land and sea entree choices, including favorites such as cioppino, Atlantic lobster tails, chicken marsala, and gourmet rib eye steaks. Sandwich options include grilled fish sandwiches, black bean veggie patties, and buffalo burgers, while tacos and burritos made to order highlight ingredients such as sea bass, mahi mahi, and coconut shrimp. An extensive drink menu is also available, highlighting draft and bottled beers, craft cocktails, and California wines.
128 Catalina Street, Avalon, CA 90704, Phone: 310-510-8585
19 Best Things to Do in Avalon, California
- Catalina Island Conservancy, Photo: Catalina Island Conservancy
- Catalina Island Museum, Photo: Catalina Island Museum
- Catalina Island Company, Photo: Courtesy of John - Fotolia.com
- Airport in the Sky, Photo: Airport in the Sky
- Journey Catalina, Photo: Courtesy of Kit Leong - Fotolia.com
- Wrigley Memorial and Botanic Garden, Photo: Courtesy of steheap - Fotolia.com
- Golf Gardens Miniature Golf, Photo: Courtesy of MØREfoto - Fotolia.com
- Hermit Gulch Trail Loop, Photo: Courtesy of Focqus, LLC - Fotolia.com
- The Nature Center at Avalon Canyon, Photo: Courtesy of danielkreissl - Fotolia.com
- The Green Pleasure Pier, Photo: Courtesy of sunny - Fotolia.com
- Catalina Island Casino, Photo: Courtesy of Kit Leong - Fotolia.com
- The Avalon Theatre, Photo: Courtesy of andrys lukowski - Fotolia.com
- Catalina Coastal Tours and Fishing, Photo: Courtesy of John - Fotolia.com
- Catalina Island Undersea Expedition, Photo: Courtesy of Ocean-Image.net - Fotolia.com
- Steve's Steakhouse and Seafood, Photo: Courtesy of pixarno - Fotolia.com
- Catalina Coffee and Cookie Co., Photo: Catalina Coffee and Cookie Co.
- Scoops Catalina Island, Photo: Scoops Catalina Island
- Bluewater Avalon Seafood Restaurant, Photo: Bluewater Avalon Seafood Restaurant
- The Lobster Trap, Photo: The Lobster Trap
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of natashabishop - Fotolia.com