Part of the rugged and beautiful Channel Island archipelago,
Santa Catalina Island is located a short ferry ride from the
southern California coast. If you have lived in California
for any time, you have likely heard about it, but might not
realize just how accessible it really is. Visitors to
southern California should consider adding a day trip or
weekend stop-over to Catalina Island.|
Catalina Island is often compared to small Mediterranean coastal towns and has a distinclty different vibe than the rest of California. Residents of the two main coastal towns of Avalon and Two Harbors are friendly and enjoy the slow pace of island life. Everything on the island is more expensive, including gas, food, and building materials, as everything must be brought in by boat or on one of the regular supply barges. Very few vehicle permits are allowed, so locals use bicycles, ATVs and modified golf carts as their primary means of transportation, which provides a dramatic contrast to the congested freeways of nearby Los Angeles.
Upon arriving, vacationers will begin to discover a wide array of activities and a rich history and island culture. Catalina island has many historic secrets to reveal including being home to the first golf course in southern California, the birthplace of modern sport fishing, beach-combing bison herds, as well as the location for the famous Wrigley Estate.
Most of the Island and its near-shore waters is protected by the Catalina Island Conservancy, who are dedicated to preserving and restoring the original flora and fauna, as well as protecting the wild bison herds. Catalina's rich waters are home to a bio-diverse abundance of marine life, making it a prime destination for biologists, eco-tourists, and scuba divers.
Planning your Catalina Island Vacation is surprisingly easy. Access to the island is by ferry, private charter boat, or helicopter. The catalina ferry service is the most convenient, with many departure/return trips and is inexpensive. There are several Catalina ferries which run regularly year-round with extra trips during the summer months.
Most island visitors take the Catalina Express, a high speed catamaran which departs from Long Beach and crosses the channel in roughly an hour. The Catalina Flyer also makes the same trip offering service from Newport Beach. Regardless of which Catalina ferry is most convenient for you, you are almost guaranteed to enjoy stunning views of the coastline, and you are likely to be accompanied by pods of dolphins and migrating whales!
For additional information on Catalina Ferry Service, accommodations, restaurants, and exciting island activities at www.catalinaislandvacation.org.