Santa Catalina Island's picture-perfect setting off the coast of California has enticed settlers for nearly 7,000 years. Today's visitors will find plenty of things to do in Catalina. Known as the Island of Romance, couples can reconnect at the island's day spas, go parasailing or kayaking, or take a scenic tour of the city of Avalon. But everyone can take advantage of all Catalina has to offer by land, sea, or air for a relaxing and rejuvenating vacation. Bike rentals are available for relaxing tours of Avalon or the interior. Golfers can swing a club at the Catalina Island Country Club; its clubhouse was originally built for the Chicago Cubs team during spring training. Another historic site is the Catalina Casino, an Art Deco structure built in 1929 that hosts special events in the grand ballroom, which is decorated with five Tiffany chandeliers. And tourists won't find a shortage of food to nosh on, as there are more than 30 Catalina Island restaurants. Those who want to play in the surf can relax at one of the island's beaches, or take to the ocean in a glass-bottomed boat for a look at local marine life. Scuba diving, fishing, and ocean rafting are popular activities as well. Visitors can also fly over the island on a local helicopter tour for a bird's-eye view of the natural habitat. Catalina Island is accessible by boat or helicopter. There are five mainland ports in Southern California that offer service to Catalina.
When To Go
With a Mediterranean climate, Catalina Island attracts visitors year-round. The most popular time to visit is summer, when the weather is the warmest, schools are out for vacation, and outdoor activities such as snorkeling, diving, glass-bottom boat tours (which originated on the island), and fishing are ideal. Winters attract the fewest visitors, especially midweek, when rain and heavy winds are a threat, but low prices can more than make up for a little bad weather.
high season: June to October
high season: June to October
low season: December to February
shoulder season: November, March to May
Weather InformationCatalina experiences cool evening breezes and warm days throughout most of the year. Summer temperatures average a high of 75 degrees, while the average winter high temperature is 65 degrees. The highest amount of rain falls from December through March.
Crowd InformationCatalina Island gets particularly busy during the summer. Late-spring and early-fall weekends also attract quite a few visitors, and the JazzTrax festival in October is a major draw. Spring break around Easter is also quite popular. Throughout the year, the island sees fewer visitors midweek than on weekends.
Closure InformationMost hotels, shops, and restaurants remain open all year. In the winter, ferries crossing the channel from the mainland to the island may cancel trips due to gale winds.
When to SaveThe least expensive time to visit is Mondays through Thursdays during November through March, when many hotels offer discounted rates and packages. The most expensive time to visit is during the summer, when many visitors take a vacation from Los Angeles.
Information provided by the Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau