Catalina Island is one of California’s top tourist destinations. People love traveling here because it’s the perfect balance of family-friendly and relaxing. If you want to book a trip this way, you may be wondering when the best time to visit Catalina Island is.
Autumn is the best time to visit Catalina Island. From September through November, there are fewer tourists and the island is a more peaceful place. You will come across many beautiful days, with daily highs around 67 to 70 F/ 19 to 21 C. Hotels also cut back the rates by nearly 50% partway through autumn.
Do you want to visit Catalina Island? Today, we’re going to discuss the best times to visit this location. We’ll also give you a month-by-month breakdown of why you should visit throughout the year.
When Not To Visit Catalina Island
July and August are the most expensive times to visit Catalina Island. There are more events and festivals this time of year that draw in tourists. Summer is also a busier time for tourism. The high demand causes airlines and hotels to raise their rates.
January and February are the rainiest months on Catalina Island. One of the reasons people enjoy visiting this island is because it doesn’t rain a lot throughout the year. If you plan on booking a trip full of outdoor activities, you may want to avoid visiting in winter.
When Is The Cheapest Time To Visit Catalina Island?
The absolute cheapest month to visit Catalina Island is in January. During this month, visitors are able to find better discounts on flights. Since it’s the off-season, it’s also possible to get lower rates on hotels.
In order to get to Catalina Island, visitors will need to fly to Los Angeles and ride the ferry to the island. The average cost of a domestic round-trip to Los Angeles is nearly $500. If you book a flight in January, it’s possible to lower that cost to around $121.
The most important thing to consider when looking for a cheap flight is timing. Travelers who book their flights in advance often find better deals. We recommend booking your trip at least 60 to 70 days ahead of time.
Hotels generally offer the best rates between October and March. However, rates will rise if there is a special event or festival going on. Hotels can be pricey on Catalina Island, with average rates ranging from $300 to over $1,000.
During peak season, the rates at Omeo Hotel Catalina are $518. When a special event occurs, the rates can rise as high as $8,989. From October through March, rates can be found for as low as $172 per night.
Related Read: Do You Need A Passport To Go To Catalina Island?
Best Time To Visit Catalina Island: Monthly Breakdown
January: Best Time For A Quiet Trip
January is a very peaceful month on Catalina Island. Tourism is at its lowest during the peak of the winter season. This allows visitors to enjoy the local restaurants, shops, and attractions without long waits.
The weather is cooler in January, with daily highs being around 59 F/ 15 C. Visitors can enjoy exploring the island without getting too hot.
This is a great time of year to book a tour. You will have a lot of options for what kind of island tour you want. Two of the most popular choices are scenic bus tours and glass bottom boat tours.
- New Year’s Day
- Glass bottom boat tour
- Visit local shops
February: Best Month For A Romantic Getaway
Catalina Island is a very romantic spot. It’s a wonderful place for couples to consider for a Valentine’s getaway. The island has a romantic charm to it and there are many fun activities for couples.
When choosing a hotel to stay at, look into which romance packages are available. Many of the local hotels offer packages exclusively for couples. These packages offer lodging and admission to a couple’s activity.
Some of the hotels in the area to check out for Valentine’s Day Packages are Hotel Catalina, Pavilion Lodge, and Catalina Beach House Hotel.
What romantic activities can couples do? They can enjoy a picnic by the waterfront, ride a two-seated bicycle, or go for a stroll along Lava Wall.
- Valentine’s Day
- Picnic lunch
- Candlelit dinner
March: Best Time To Go Exploring
March is an excellent time of year to plan a trip to Catalina Island. There are very few tourists this time of year and the weather is ideal for being outdoors. Most days have highs of 65 F/ 18 C.
Nature enthusiasts will enjoy exploring the trails, countryside, and waterfront areas this time of year. Since it’s right after the rainiest months, there are lush greenery and wildflowers blooming throughout the island.
If you’re feeling adventurous, a fun activity to try out is the Zip Line Eco Tour. Visitors can see views of the island from above. Another fun activity is the Catalina Aerial Adventure. This adventure course allows you to go at your own pace.
- Take pictures of wildflowers
- Zip Line Eco Tours
- St. Patrick’s Day
April: Spring Activities On The Island
April is a fun month for spring activities on Catalina Island. Springfest is an annual event that’s held during the month. Visitors can enjoy games, live music, and food vendors. The Catalina Spring Art Fair & Craft Festival is also in April.
If you’re interested in a black-tie event, you can arrange tickets to the annual Catalina Island Conservancy Ball. Guests can enjoy a delicious dinner and a night of dancing. This event also features auctions.
April also has beautiful weather on Catalina Island. The daily average high is around 69 F/ 20.5 C. This is a great time of year to plan a daytime excursion. Some activities that are fun this time of year are the 2-hour Inside Adventure Tour and the Semi-Submarine Tour.
- Catalina Island Conservancy Ball
- Semi-Submarine Tour
May: Best Month Before Tourist Season
May is a great time of year to enjoy summer-like weather without the busy summer crowds. The daily average temperature throughout the month is around 69 F/ 20.5 C but can get as high as 81 F/ 27 C.
This is a good time of year for botanical enthusiasts to make a trip to the Wrigley Memorial and Botanical Gardens. It is a 37-acre garden and one of the most beautiful attractions on the island.
There are some fun events to look forward to in May. The Avalon Ball takes guests back to the 20s and 30s with music and dancing. Visitors can also arrange tickets to the Annual Silent Film Benefit.
- View botanicals
- Watch a silent film
- Avalon Ball
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June: Best Month For Food & Drinks
June is an all-around good month to visit Catalina Island. Summer weather has arrived, with daily average temperatures of 76 F/ 24.5 C. While tourism is starting to pick up, June is still relatively quieter than in the upcoming months.
A lot is happening on the culinary scene in June. Restaurant Week takes place, and many local restaurants participate. Visitors get to try a variety of tasty dishes across the island.
The Catalina Wine Mixer is also in June. This annual event was inspired by the movie Stepbrothers. Guests get to sample different wines and listen to live music. There’s also an assortment of food booths to please your appetite.
- Catalina Pride Celebration
- Restaurant Week
- Catalina Wine Mixer
July: Best Month For A Family-Friendly Trip
July is a great time of year to bring the kids to Catalina island. Days are warmer, with highs of 83 F/ 28 C. The water is warm enough for swimming and other water activity.
You can also bring the kids along on fun activities, like the Jeep Eco-Tour. This tour lets visitors safely see bison up close. It’s also a fun time of year to play a family round of mini golf at Golf Gardens.
If you’re visiting over the 4th of July, you can enjoy the annual parade and celebration. There will be live music and fireworks.
- July 4th celebrations
- Jeep Eco-Tour
- Beach days
Related Read: 15 Best Beaches in Southern California for Families
August: Best Month For Water Fun
August is a great time of year to enjoy water activity on Catalina Island because the water has warmed up. If you’re interested in water activity, this is the place to be. You can enjoy kayaking, scuba diving, sailing, and more.
Movies on the Beach also takes place throughout August. Families can enjoy free movies outdoors on the beach. Summer Beach Bingo events are also held throughout the month.
- Scuba diving
- Movies on the Beach
September: Best Month For Arts & Culture
September is a good month to visit Catalina Island if you want to see more of the art scene. The Annual Catalina Festival of Arts is held this month. It features exhibits with fine art, photography, sculptures, and more.
The Catalina Film Festival is also in September. There are over 100 films screened and awards are given out.
September is still summer-like, with daily temperatures of 83 F/ 23 C. People still enjoy water sports and activities as well as hikes on the trails.
- Catalina Film Festival
- Catalina Festival of Arts
October: Autumn Fun On The Island
Catalina Island gets into the fall festivities throughout the month of October. Visitors can enjoy music and games at Fall Fest. Families can dress like pirates for Buccaneer Days. People can also enjoy falls flavors at the Catalina Island Chilli Cook-Off.
The island also hosts some fun Halloween activities and events. There’s the Annual Halloween Parade and Halloween in the Garden. Residents get into the spirit, so you can expect to see people in costumes all over the island.
- Halloween events
- Fall Fest
- Catalina Island Chilli Cook-Off
November: Peaceful Autumn Visit
November is one of the most beautiful times to visit Catalina Island. Daily highs are still around 73 F/ 23 C. Tourism is at a quiet point and it’s easy to score a cheaper rate on accommodation and admission to attractions.
This is an excellent time of year to visit popular attractions that would be busy during other months. Visitors can enjoy places like Trans-Catalina Trail, Catalina Island Conservancy, and Two Harbors this time of year.
- Visit Catalina Island Casino
- Veteran's Day
- Watch the Catalina Island Half Marathon
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December: Holidays On Catalina Island
Catalina Island looks like the set of a Hallmark Christmas movie in December. This is an excellent place to visit if you want to be put into the holiday spirit. There is a decorated tree for the holidays, bright lights, and decor all around the island.
One thing that’s different about the holidays on Catalina Island is that the rush is taken out of it. Instead, visitors can enjoy a relaxing holiday season.
It’s also an amazing time to find gifts because the Annual Shop Catalina Night is this month. Visitors can support local businesses on the island while also getting some great discounts.
- Christmas celebrations
- Annual Shop Catalina Night
- New Year’s Eve Gala