The perfect sunny day on a beach. The perfect sunny day on a beach.

Unveiling Catalina: 9 Gems Waiting to be Discovered

Catalina Island is one of the California Channel Islands and lies southwest of the home of Hollywood, Los Angeles. It’s known for its wildlife, dive sites, and Mt. Orizaba, its highest peak. The resort town of two Harbors lies to the north. To the south, in the city of Avalon, palm trees and cabanas line Descanso Beach.

The beautiful Catalinas island is visible from the green plants.
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1. Introduction to the Island

The island is 35km long and 13km across its width. The island is popularly called the “Hidden Paradise in Southern California.” The island is the perfect place for fun and relaxation. Purchased in 1919 by William Wrigley Jr., the purpose of Santa Cataline Island was to create a unique travel destination for all.

Carrying this legacy into the 21st century, Catalinas Island remains one of California’s most luxurious and tourist-loved places to visit. Well, there are a lot of fun and wonderful things to do on Catalinas Island.

Ronald Reagan, the mister president, spent most of his younger years living on Santa Catalinas Island before moving to LA and becoming President.  Another interesting thing about the island is that William Wrigley Jr. built a casino on Catalinas Island that was never meant for gambling. Instead, it has been utilized as a Dance Hall and full-fledged Movie Theater since its inception and is said to have featured the first motion picture with sound.

With an average temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit all year, you can do several activities near or around the main Catalinas Island attractions. And no need to worry about your budget. There are a lot of fancy places to visit, and you will have no problem finding cheap them when venturing around the mainland.

A drone view of watercraft in the waterbody in the Catalinas Island.
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So, Sit back while reading this article as I am about to take you on an adventurous journey through a historic, playful, and cultural island known as Santa Catalina Island.’

2. Things to Do on Catalinas Island

2.1 Descanso Beach Club

If you are looking for one of the most relaxing activities Santa Catalina Island has to offer, then look no further than the Descanso Beach Club.

It is a private beach that features many relaxing and romantic things. The club is known for its incredible nightlife and enjoying the sun. One of the coolest things to do when visiting the club is participate in outdoor activities like Snorkeling, Scuba Diving, and their famous Zip Line Tour.

Descanso Beach Club is located in that part of the island where you can have the best relaxing views and world-class massage experience. If you are boarding the beach club in the pavilion hotel, you are getting into a combination of modern Luxury and a quaint island style.

Don’t forget about their cabanas and massages. They will be ready wherever you are.

Address: 1 St Catherine Way, Avalon, CA 90704, United States

2.2 Catalinas Island Golf Carts

Want to do some adventure that looks more appealing than having the ability to hop in a four-passenger Golf cart and pursue across the island? Even if you need to upgrade your cart, this is a must-do if you are looking to find a preferred section of the island or simply looking forward to killing a few hours this weekend.

There are many activities on the island, but considering a gold option instead of others is a more traditional form of transportation. Trust me, this is the perfect activity for dads, or we shall call them “golf dads.”

Address: 625 Crescent Ave, Avalon, CA 90704, United States

2.3 Catalinas Island Casino

This generation has passed, and the Catalina Island Casino continues to shine as it was years ago with the same grace and beauty. Opening its doors in 1929, the Catalina Island Casino is the primary location and one of any traveler’s main points of interest.

Not only does the island casino embrace you with fun activities via social gatherings, but it is also one of the most romantic things to do if you are visiting with a significant other.

Upon entering the Catalinas Island casino, you are greeted with high walls and artful architecture from tiled murals. Belonging to the Wrigley family, the casino has an awesome view of the ocean, which is very impressive during a clear sunny day.

If you are lucky enough or you plan accordingly, you might be able to attend one of the main events the casino throws in its Grand Ballroom.

Address: 1 Casino Way, Avalon, CA 90704, United States

2.4 Parasail Catalina

Ranging anywhere from $25 to $80, the Catalina Island Parasailing Adventure is another of the best things to do on Catalina Island. Soaring 600 and 800 feet above the California grasslands is an adrenaline rush. Still, there are many things to see from an aerial view of the Santa Catalina Island attractions. That experience is like any other.

A parasail experience above the body of water.
By Yash Maramangal, Pexels, Copyright 2023

Not for the feeble-minded, but worth it for the thrill. If you don’t risk it, you don’t get it. The parasail experience is the same. You will be required to fill up a life-risking form, but the experience will serve the worth.

But if you are a heart patient or have trouble breathing, avoid this experience.

Address: 105 Pebbly Beach Rd, Avalon, CA 90704, United States

2.5. Bison Expedition

There is no shortage of places to go or stuff to do when visiting California, let alone Santa Catalina Island. Of course, hitting the beach and bars may forever be on the list, but when was the last time you were on a Bison Expedition?

While it is one of the most popular tourist attractions around the island, it is usually one of the best choices you didn’t know you needed to make while visiting.

A convertible hummer takes you around the island’s natural wildlife and lets you see amazing creatures and views. Traveling around the winding hills of the drier parts of Catalina Island will help you appreciate California’s natural elements a bit more.

Address: Avalon, CA 90704, United States

2.6. Catalinas Island Helicopter Tour

So, yes, almost every city around California will offer some sort of helicopter tour. However, the Santa Catalina Island landscape will always leave you in awe. During the Catalina Island helicopter tour, you will see some of the most incredible sights California has to offer.

You will be able to spot dolphins and whales that inhabit Channel Island’s protected waters and soar over mountain terrain while hearing the remarkable story of the island’s history. The helicopter tour should be a top priority if you are simply looking for stuff to do or trying to find different points of interest for your vacation schedule.

Address: Avalon, CA, United States

2.7. Mt Ada

Another one of the iconic tourist attractions is Mt Ada, which used to be William Wringley Jr’s mansion. This is now a six-bedroom and breakfast place for travelers and the perfect place for those who like a luxurious atmosphere and stayovers.  

If you want to book a stay at Mt. Ada, book the mansion a few months before your actual travel dates, as the mansion is always booked, especially during the summer and winter break.

However, you can still tour the mansion and admire its beauty if you have not booked the place. During weekends, the Inn invites island goers to a special brunch or lunch for a great dining experience for everyone by opening doors to all the public who are there to enjoy the island.

Address: 398 Wrigley Rd, Avalon, CA 90704, United States

2.8. Bluewater Grill

With over 25 years of food and dining experience on the island, the Bluewater Grill has become a staple on Santa Catalina Island. The dining restaurant’s menu is full of delicious seafood items, and the restaurant also follows ethical and sustainable methods regarding its fishing practices.

The restaurant is a classic place on the island to dine in. They even have other food options for those who don’t prefer seafood food. While the restaurant prides itself on classic preparation, it adds somewhat of an aesthetic to the cooking and style.

You may find the food prices slightly overpriced, but the food is worth the price and experience.

Address: 306 Crescent Ave, Avalon, CA 90704, United States

2.9. The Lobster Trap

Finding a place in California that sells $4 pints and daily food specials is already a rarity, but between 2 pm and 5 pm, The Lobster Trap has a home away from home atmosphere that welcomes you with open arms.

Lobster Meal served on a plate in a restaurant.
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One of the greatest things about the lobster trap is that you can enjoy good eats in the middle of the day or early morning hours. Without a selection of Lost Coast and Craft Beers, it is worth the time and money to check out another great Catalina Island Establishment.

Address: 128 Catalina Ave, Avalon, CA 90704, United States

3. Question & Answers

1) Why was Catalina Island named?

In 1602, the island was rediscovered by Spanish explorer Viscaino, who landed here on Saint Catherine’s Feast Day (St. Catherine of Alexandria). He named it Santa Catalina Island in her honor.

2) What is Santa Catalina Island known for?

Santa Catalina Island (most commonly referred to as Catalina Island) is best known for its wildlife, scuba diving, charming coastal towns, and Mt. Orizaba, its highest peak.

3) What is the capital of Catalina Island?

The Capital of the Island is Avalon, California

4) What is the famous building on Catalina Island?

The Catalina Casino is a large gathering facility in Avalon on Santa Catalina Island, off the coast of Los Angeles in California.

5) How deep is Catalina Island?

The Catalina Island ocean water is 3,000 feet deeper than the mainland.

6) Is Catalina Island salt water?

Catalina has two desalination plants that strip salt from seawater, providing up to 230,400 gallons per day—roughly 40% of the island’s drinking water.

7) Can you drink water in Catalina?

Southern California Edison provides power, water, and gas to the island. They have a desalination system that turns ocean water into drinking water.

8) How many nights should you stay on Catalina Island?

You can stay on the island as long as you want, but I’d say two to three nights is plenty of time to stay in Catalina. It’s perfect for a weekend or long weekend getaway, and since it’s only a short boat ride away, you can always come back!

9) What is the best season on Catalina Island?

While the high tourist season falls between June and August, when the island is lively with activities and warm weather, those looking for a more budget-friendly and serene vacation should consider visiting from September to May

10) What climate does Catalina Island have?

There’s a reason Catalina Island is said to have “the perfect climate.” Catalina Island boasts a year-round Mediterranean climate, with warm, sunny days and cool evening breezes

11) Is Santa Catalina Island privately owned?

The Santa Catalina Island Company, founded by William Wrigley, owns another 11% of the island, and only a skimpy 1% of the real estate is independently owned.

12) What kind of wildlife is on Catalina Island?

Animals in Catalina are bats, canines, felines, crickets, birds, frogs, butterflies, rodents, salamanders, seals, sea lions, lizards, shrews, snails, snakes, swine, and ungulates. The Island Fox is one of the most common animals in Catalina.

Last Updated on February 8, 2024 by Sathi Chakraborty

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