California is home to some of the prettiest cities and most awe-inspiring natural landscapes in all of America. Renowned for its incredible diversity, warm weather, redwood forests, sun-drenched beaches, and so much more, the Golden State has a lot to offer, and Santa Catalina Island, also commonly known just as Catalina Island or Catalina to the locals, is one of the best places to visit in all of California.
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A rocky island located around 30 miles off the coast of Long Beach, Catalina Island measures up at 22 miles in length. It's part of the Channel Islands of California and is technically part of Los Angeles County. Boasting lots of sunshine and low amounts of rainfall, Catalina Island is the perfect place to enjoy all kinds of outdoor activities like scuba diving, snorkeling, boating, parasailing, sunbathing, hiking, and more. Here’s how to plan a Catalina Island day trip.
Getting to Catalina Island
Catalina Island is located out off the coast of California, with no bridge connecting it to the mainland, so the only ways to get there are by sea or by air. Most visitors choose to take the ferry to Catalina Island, but some prefer to travel by helicopter.
2.Getting to Catalina Island by Ferry
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As previously mentioned, the ferry is the most popular way to get over to Catalina Island. A journey on board the Catalina Express takes around an hour in total, with ferries leaving from both Long Beach and Newport Beach. One important thing to remember when planning your day trip to Catalina Island is to reserve your ferry tickets in advance.
The ferry seats can easily sell out, and many people like to do Catalina Island day trips, so the early departures and late returns to the Los Angeles area tend to sell out quite quickly, forcing people to choose other dates or pay extra for premium seating.
3.Getting to Catalina Island by Helicopter
If you really want to get to Catalina Island very quickly and would prefer to travel in a stylish and sophisticated way, far from the crowds and noise, a helicopter ride is a good idea. This mode of transport is typically going to be more expensive than a ferry ride, but it’s a lot faster, with the journey being done in around 15 minutes.
Many individuals suffer from seasickness, so struggle with the prospect of taking an hour long ferry ride over to Catalina Island. For those people, helicopters are a super alternative, and various tour operators like Island Express Helicopters offer quick trips over to the island. Another fun advantage of taking a helicopter to Catalina Island is that you get to see some amazing aerial views along the way.
4.Important Information and Things to Do at Catalina Island
- Getting Around - Catalina Island is a relatively small place and it's quite easy to get around purely by foot, but one fun alternative that many visitors choose to try out is renting a golf cart. These little carts are ideal for speeding around the island and seeing some of its less crowded spots and hidden gems. As with the ferry, it pays off to reserve your golf cart in advance, especially if you're traveling at a busy time of year like July or August.
- Diving And Snorkeling - Catalina Island is regarded as one of California's premier destinations for diving and snorkeling, so if you're interested in heading down beneath the waves to meet up with some tropical fish and admire the underwater scenery, this is the place to be. Those who like the idea of diving but aren't too comfortable in the water can also hop on board a glass bottom boat tour.
- Bars And Beaches - Catalina Island is also famous for its beautiful beaches and lively bars. All around the island, you can find soft sands and warm waters, the perfect setting for lazy afternoons and romantic moments with a special someone. At the bars, a great range of refreshing and juicy cocktails are served all day long. There are also some excellent seafood restaurants too.
- Sites Of Interest - The Catalina Casino is another popular spot with visitors to this California island, and the Avalon Theatre is one of the most historic locations in America for film fans as it was the first ever movie theater in the United States designed with 'talkies' in mind. The Wrigley Memorial Botanical Gardens are wonderful to explore as well, with lots of flora and fauna waiting to be seen and admired, and the area all around Avalon is filled with great gift shops and charming boutiques.
Catalina Island Day Trip