Planning a trip to Catalina Island? Here you can find inspiration on the kind of experience you want to have. Experiences differ depending on where on the island you go.
Avalon is a huge tourist destination. Carnival Cruises even has a stop here along some of their routes to Mexico. Since Avalon has a lot of tourism, you can expect the boardwalk, beach, and restaurants to be busy. There are also more activities to do, places to eat, more places to stay overnight, and there are more gift shops. What I like most about Avalon is how beautiful it is. The architecture is gorgeous, the city is so colorful, and the sounds of bell tower relax every molecule in my body. I love exploring different areas of Avalon every time I visit.
Activities specific to Avalon are parasailing, ziplining through the mountains, catching a movie on the bottom floor of the casino, enjoying the botanical garden, and diving.
Two Harbors is laid back. The name originates from having two harbors within a five minute walk from each other. There are three restaurants and a single shop that sells gifts and groceries. Recently, they converted the sand volleyball court to an area with cabanas for rent and dining tables with food and drink service. There are two places to stay overnight on the island: a campground and a villa built for a group of 12 persons.
There are a few activities specific to Two Harbors. You can hike on a trail that winds along the mountains, walk to the other harbor, go on a safari tour, and enjoy Dancing Under the Stars during the summer. Dancing Under the Stars is one of my favorite activities. This is when a DJ comes out and plays music on the patio. It’s great for families and people of any age. The music starts at 6pm and at that time the DJ plays safer music like Disney which is perfect for little kids. At around 8-9pm is when popular music is played and the teens and young adults make it out on the dance floor. At 10pm, everyone under 21 years of age is kicked off the patio and the party goes on until 2am.
Emerald Bay is only accessible by boat, and the name originates from the emerald water in this bay. This is my favorite spot to relax, enjoy the water, and stare up at the stars. Since this spot is so far from populated cities, the night sky is full of twinkling lights.
Aside from the city-specific activities, kayaking, paddleboarding, and snorkeling is great anywhere you go. Especially snorkeling. Catalina Island is home to the Orange Garibaldi fish. These fish are bright orange and add a vibrant pop of color to the island’s bountiful marine life.
The Fourth of July is a great time to visit the island because there are a lot more activities. Two Harbors has a boat parade, and there are firework shows in both Avalon and Two Harbors.