How to Get to Catalina Island!
Getting to Catalina Island is quite easy! The best and least expensive way to get there is by the Catalina Express Ferry located in Long Beach! There are also ports located in Dana Point and San Pedro, but the Long Beach port has more departure and arrival times to choose from. It’ll take you roughly an hour to get straight from the Long Beach Port to Avalon Harbor.
Cost of the Catalina Express Ferry:
The Catalina Express Ferry costs $37.25 per way, so roughly $75 round trip. If you’d like to upgrade to the Commodore Lounge on the boat it’s a bit more, but I definitely don’t think it’s necessary. The general seating is great and it’s a short ride.
Parking: There’s a big parking lot at the port that charges $19 per day. This is definitely the best option.
Where to Stay in Avalon, Catalina
There are multiple cute little hotels right in town and a few on the cliffs overlooking the beach. I prefer the Hotel St. Lauren. It’s a cute, pink Victorian mansion that has a nice big communal sun deck that overlooks the ocean. You can get a balcony room as well with a beautiful view! It’s also the best deal we could find for a room with a balcony. A couple of other hotels that look quite cute as well are the Hotel Atwater and the Bellanca Hotel.
Best Beach to Lounge and Swim in Avalon, Catalina Island
Once you arrive, drop your bags at your hotel and head to the beach! Descanso Beach Club is an awesome little beach club with lounge chairs and cabana rentals as well as a restaurant and bar! You can rent the lounge chairs or cabanas from 11 am-5 pm. The lounge chair prices differ per row, but the price includes two chairs with an umbrella in the middle, two towels, two bottles of water, and two welcome smoothies! It’s actually super affordable. The chairs I rented were on the 3rd row in from the beach and I paid $45 for the entire day. You can also buy floats here and swim and float all day in the gorgeous turquoise clear water! I highly suggest checking out Descanso Beach Club!
Descanso Beach Club also has a great deal for happy hour! Two tacos of your choice and a drink for $10. I got the fish tacos and a margarita!
Day 2 – Catalina Island Adventure!
The next day, grab a coffee and breakfast at the Catalina Coffee and Cookie Co, which is right by the Hotel St. Lauren, and head down to Joes Rent-A-Boat on Green Pleasure Pier! Here you can rent a motorboat! They have a 15 mph or 20 mph option. We got the 20 mph and had a blast! It holds up to 6 people and is an incredible deal!
Other Rental Options on Green Pleasure Pier
Joe’s also rents out paddleboards, kayaks, pedal boats, fishing equipment, etc. So, if motorboats aren’t your thing, they still have something for you! Green Pleasure Pier also has multiple other stands such as the Catalina Adventure Tours, where you can buy tickets for the semi-submarine tours which look awesome, glass-bottom boats, the inside interior of the island tours, and a safari island adventure! There’s also the Catalina Diver’s Supply and Snorkel stand to get snorkeling and scuba diving equipment as well as guided snorkel and scuba tours. Green Pleasure Pier is pretty much a one-stop-shop for adventure!
Day on the Water!
If you choose the boat rental option, once you rent your boat, you can take it to the right of Avalon Harbor until you see the rock quarry, and to the left of Avalon Harbor to Long Point Light, which you can’t miss.
It is absolutely beautiful! There are lots of little beaches and coves to check out. The water is a gorgeous turquoise clear right near the shore. If it’s calm you can anchor and swim with the dolphins! We saw so many sea lions and dolphins. They were putting on a show for us and swimming under our boat. It really is a perfect way to spend the day!
Where to Eat!
NDMK Fish House is a great place to end the day! Make sure you make a reservation as they do book up early. They have great seafood and drinks and you can eat right on the beach overlooking the water while you watch the sunset! It’s the perfect ending to an incredible getaway!
Catalina Express Return Ferry
I suggest taking one of the later ferries out on the last day of your adventure, so you can maximize your time in Catalina. The 9 pm ferry is an ideal choice!
Bucketlist Activities for the Next Catalina Island Getaway!
If you end up having extra time to spend, here are a few ideas that I’d love to check out next time! Parasailing around Catalina looks absolutely gorgeous and so much fun! You can book your adventure at California Parasail and Island Water Charters. Last but definitely not least, I’d highly suggest taking the Cyclone Boat to Two Harbors to discover some of the less developed parts of Catalina Island!
To Sum it Up!
Catalina Island is the perfect California getaway! It truly transports you to feel like you’re on a European Island. It’s so close, yet feels so far away! These are my picks for a perfect two day Catalina Getaway! If I’ve missed anything let me know in the comments below, and as always, have a blast when you go! For more California beach getaways be sure to check out my picks for where to stay and what to do in Avila Beach, La Jolla, Cambria, and San Simeon!