Travel Tips

5 min read

Catalina Island Escapades: 23 Must-Try Activities for Globetrotters

Imagine uncovering Catalina Island's secrets, from mysterious museums to sun-soaked shores. Dive into 23 must-do adventures that promise to turn your travel dreams into sun-drenched reality.

Tobi Miles
October 15, 2022

Discover the many activities and adventures available on Catalina Island for people of all ages!

For the thrill seeker, visit the Zip Line Eco Excursion, go scuba diving, or take an island boat tour to get your heart racing. Visitors to Catalina Island can take it easy while shopping, taking in breathtaking vistas, and visiting the spa.

Other activities on Catalina Island include golf, hiking, biking, and visiting art galleries and museums. The island also offers water sports like fishing, scuba diving, jet ski rentals, parasailing, kayaking, paddleboarding, and more.

What are you feeling? Avalon and Two Harbors have it all on land and in the water, whether you're looking for the next adrenaline rush, setting out on an adventure, or treating yourself to a soothing spa day.

Everything is accessible with a quick stroll, taxi ride, or shore boat. There is an extended range of activities that are simple to reserve in advance or once you get there.

1. Hermit Gultch Trail Loop


Map It: 2983-3155 Divide Rd, Avalon, CA 90704, United States


Hours: 24/7

Entrance: Free

Find out about this 9.5-kilometer loop route close to Avalon, California. It takes an average of 3 hours, and 16 minutes to accomplish this route, which is generally regarded as moderately complex.

Since running, hiking, and birdwatching are all pretty popular activities here, you can stumble across other individuals while exploring. The route is lovely to explore at any time of the year and is open all year. Dogs are permitted, but they must be leashed.

2. Catalina Island Visitors Center

Map It: 1 Green Pleasure Pier, Avalon, CA 90704, United States

Phone: 310-510-1520


Hours: Monday - Thursday: 8:30 am – 5:30 pm, Friday & Saturday: 9 am – 6 pm, Sunday: 10 am – 5 pm

Entrance: Free

Catalina Island, formerly known as the Catalina Island Chamber & Visitors Bureau, is now the Catalina Island Tourism Authority. Offering details about Catalina Island, the unique island attraction in Southern California. Open 364 days a year and available to help with lodging, activities, and events on Catalina Island.

3. Afishinados Gallery

Afisinados Gallery

Map It: 205 Crescent Ave, Avalon, CA 90704, United States

Phone: 310-510-2440


Hours: Daily: 10 am - 6 pm

Entrance: Free

Fine fish paintings, jewelry, and presents made by friends who are local and regional artists are available at Afishinados Gallery. Nothing in the store is imported; everything is handcrafted.

You will appreciate a stroll around this distinctive gallery if you need to buy a gift for a fishy friend, want to add a beachy piece to your boat or home, or simply admire marine-inspired art.

4. Nature Center at Avalon Canyon


Map It: 100 Avalon Cyn Rd, Avalon, CA 90704, United States

Phone: 310-510-0954


Hours: Daily: 9 am - 5 pm

Entrance: Free

The Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation's first-ever Interpretive Center, which details Santa Catalina Island's official narrative and natural history, is located in the Nature Center. Although there are self-guided tours available, learning about the rocky landscapes and mountainous regions that contrast with an endless blue ocean is a fantastic experience.

The extensive geology of the Channel Islands, which combines marine and terrestrial symbiosis, is well-recorded in the Avalon Canyon Nature Center.

Right here on Catalina Island, the concept of "Biodiverse Hotspots"—which are uncommon in the rest of the world—can be observed, investigated, and analyzed.

5. Catalina Island Casino

Map It: 1 Casino Way, Avalon, CA 90704, United States

Phone: 310-510-0179


Hours: Vary seasonally

Entrance: Adults: $24.95 Seniors (55+): $22.95

The Catalina Island Casino is still shining elegantly after three generations. The Catalina Island Casino, which first opened its doors in 1929, is the principal location and one of the key attractions for any traveler. It not only welcomes you with enjoyable activities through social events, but it's also one of the most romantic things to do if you're traveling with someone special.

6. Descanso Beach Club

Mike Luzansky / Flickr

Map It: 1 St Catherine Way, Avalon, CA 90704, United States

Phone: 310-510-7410


Hours: Daily: 11 am - 4 pm


The Descanso Beach Club is your best bet if you're seeking one of the most tranquil pastimes Santa Catalina Island has to offer. On Catalina Island, there are many peaceful and romantic activities available at the private Descanso Beach Club.

Although it is primarily known for its extraordinary nightlife, sitting in the California sun on a fully-serviced paradise isn't half bad either. Participating in some of the outdoor activities available at Descanso Beach Club, such as snorkeling, scuba diving, and their infamous zip line tour, is one of the most incredible things to do while there.

If you are landing at the Descanso Beach Club, the Pavilion Hotel is a charming island-style hotel with modern luxury amenities. You may take advantage of the sun or the warm night sky whenever you choose because the majority of the rooms have a private balcony.

In summary, the Descanso Beach Club is a terrific destination to have a top-notch experience because it is close to the majority of Catalina Island's tranquil spots. The cabanas and massages will be available anytime you're ready, so don't rush!

7. Wrigley Memorial and Botanical Garden

David Prasad / Flickr

Map It: 1400 Avalon Cyn Rd, Avalon, CA 90704, United States

Phone: 310-510-2897


Hours: Daily: 8 am - 5 pm

Entrance: $10 per person

The Wrigley Memorial and Botanic Garden, created in memory of William Wrigley Jr., is situated in the Avalon Canyon and is a part of the "Garden to Sky Trail" excursion.

It is home to numerous endemic kinds of California plants, many of which are endangered, and spans 38 acres of lush meadows. To understand more about one of history's most successful people, you must visit the tower containing the Wrigley Memorial.

8. Visit Lovers Cove

fe2cruz / Flickr

Map It: Pebbly Beach Rd, Avalon, CA 90704, United States

Phone: 310-510-0036

Hours: 24/7

Entrance: Free

Follow Pebbly Beach Road to Lover's Cove for a few hours of secluded beach time; it's one of the nicest things to do in Santa Catalina. The beach's stony terrain is ideal for skipping stones.

You can purchase some fish food to give to the Garibaldi fish before going down the steps. California's official saltwater fish, the Garibaldi, is a vibrant orange fish. If you feel comfortable swimming without a guide, bring your snorkeling equipment. Just be mindful of passing boats' wakes.

9. Enjoy an Afternoon with Catalina Food Tours

Margalit Francus / Flickr

Map It: 205 Crescent Ave, Avalon, CA 90704, United States

Phone:  424-226-9443


Hours: Daily: 9 am - 5 pm

Price: Varies on tour

On this three-hour gourmet walking tour, experience a flavor of Catalina Island. You will be led by a local guide as you go past the famed Casino Building and along the waterfront's landmark architecture, learning about its rich cultural and gastronomic history.

You'll make six stops along the way to savor local specialties like sweets, shrimp, and other Catalina-style dishes. For a more personalized experience, this small-group tour is restricted to 16 participants.

Learn from your knowledgeable guide about the island's rich cultural and gastronomic past. Discover stunning structures like the renowned Casino Building and the Inn on Mt. Ada. A trip in a small group of no more than 16 persons guarantees a tailored experience.

10. Take a Helicopter Ride

bruzasd / Flickr

Map It: 56 Pebbly Beach Rd, Avalon, CA 90704, United States

Phone: 800-228-2566


Hours:  Dependent on tours

Entrance: $400 per person

What more spectacular way to take it all in than from a helicopter? There are numerous helicopter tour packages offered by IEX Helicopters. A romantic picnic with a fantastic view may be had by signing up for a gourmet Heli-Picnic trip and being dropped off by helicopter.

By scheduling a Heli-Hiking tour, you may bond over an added adventure. You will be dropped off at the beginning of your hike by helicopter, where you can test your hiking prowess by returning to civilization on your own. For those who simply want to take in the scenery, both full- and half-island tours are available.

11. The Bistro at the Atwater


Map It: 119 Sumner Ave, Avalon, CA 90704, United States

Phone: 310-510-7414


Hours: Daily: 7 am - 12 pm

Entrance: Free

The Bistro at the Atwater is situated close to the waterfront, basking in the warmth of the California sun. The Bistro at the Atwater is a great place to pick up a salad or sandwich in the style of a picnic, in contrast to the typical eateries that are strewn throughout and around Catalina Island.

Additionally, a variety of baked foods, both sweet and savory, are available all day long. Bistro at the Atwater might be exactly what you're searching for if you want to grab something quick and light to eat on the fly.

12. Blue Water Grill

ComeToCatalina / YouTube

Map It: 306 Crescent Ave, Avalon, CA 90704, United States

Phone: 310-510-3474


Hours: Wednesday - Monday: 11 am - 8 pm

Entrance: Free

The Bluewater Grill is a mainstay on Santa Catalina Island with over 25 years of culinary and dining experience. The menu of Bluewater Grill is filled with delectable seafood dishes, and the restaurant uses ethical and sustainable fishing techniques.

Despite the fact that the restaurant takes pride in using historical techniques, they do give its food and décor a somewhat more contemporary look.

13. Parasail Catalina

Jim Crocker / Flickr

Map It: 105 Pebbly Beach Rd, Avalon, CA 90704, United States

Phone: 310-510-1777


Hours: Daily: 9 am - 6 pm

Price: ~$50 per person

The Catalina Island Parasailing Adventure, which costs between $25 and $80, is another of the top things to do on Catalina Island. Although it is thrilling in and of itself to soar between 600 and 800 feet over the California grassland, there is much to see when surveying the Santa Catalina Island attractions from above. Just one experience stands out from others. The thrill seeker will find it worthwhile, but not for the weak-minded.

14. Luau Larry’s

Jeff Hester / Flickr

Map It: 509 Crescent Ave, Avalon, CA 90704, United States

Phone: 310-510-1919


Hours: Daily: 11 am - 12 am

Entrance: Free

Without a tiki bar, what would a small island off the coast of California be? With so many wonderful activities on the island, Luau Larry's will help you unwind with delicious meals and refreshing drinks. You will have the much-needed comfort foods your heart yearns for with a menu packed with classic bar fare (wings, fries, etc.).

However, we advise getting the "Wiki Wacker," a Luau Larry's specialty made with rum. The best part is that Wiki Wackers will give you a palm frond to show other beachgoers that you've been getting flirty with him.

15. Zipline Eco Tour

Dajana Fabjanovich / Flickr

Map It: 1 St Catherine Way, Avalon, CA 90704, United States

Phone: 800-626-1496


Hours: Daily: 9 am - 4 pm

Price: Dependent on tour

Are you looking for more adventure? With Catalina Island's Zipline Eco Tour, go ziplining. Before taking a sequence of 5 zip lines back down to Descanso Beach Club, shuttle up to 600 feet.

You may travel up to 35 mph and enjoy fantastic views of the fauna and flora of Catalina. After finishing, visit the oceanfront bar at Descanso for some food and beverages.

16. Go On a Sea Life Safari


Map It: 22 Green Pleasure Pier, Avalon, CA 90704, USA

Phone: (800) 626-1496


Hours: Dependent on tour

Entrance: ~$60 per person

A 500-hp inflatable boat takes you on an exhilarating skim across the island's sea during Sealife Safari. Catalina Island's beautiful marine life and surroundings are without a doubt among of the most amazing things to witness; you can enjoy this gratifying sight on a fast-paced excursion with Sealife Safari.

17. Catalina Falconry Experience

Catalina Falconry Experience / Facebook

Map It: 1 St Catherine Way, Avalon, CA 90704

Phone: (800) 626-1496


Hours: Saturday & Sunday: 9:45 am - 1:30 pm

Entrance: Adults: $94.00 Children (7-11) & Seniors (55+) Veterans & Active Military $84.00 

Descanso Canyon, one of the few areas in Southern California where you can be a falconer, is unquestionably one of the nicest places to visit on Catalina Island. One of the few spots in the area where hawks, falcons, and owls can approach you and softly land on your hand is Catalina Island.

18. Visit Two Harbors

Map It: West End, Catalina Island, CA 90704

Phone: (310) 510-4205

Hours: 24/7

Entrance: Free

In reality, the small area of land between Isthmus Cove and Catalina Harbor is home to the lovely community of Two Harbors. Outdoorsy adventurers who have a thing for mountain bikes, kayaks, paddleboards, snorkeling equipment, tents, and the like love Two Harbors.

There are 298 people living in Two Harbors, also referred to as "The Isthmus," a little unincorporated hamlet island village on Santa Catalina Island in California. After the city of Avalon, it is the island's second major population center. It is primarily a resort community.

19. Marlin Club 

Marlin Club

Map It: 108 Catalina Ave, Avalon, CA 90704, United States

Phone: 310-510-0044


Hours: Daily: 10 am - 2 pm

Entrance: Free

The Marlin Club has been providing amazing beverages and a ton of excitement for more than 75 years, making it the oldest bar in Avalon. During World War II, Merchant Marines stationed on the island constructed our bar to mimic a boat's bow.

Bud Upton, a local Catalina artist, painted a mural of an undersea seascape in the interior in the traditional Art Deco style in 1946. When you sit at the bar, you'll understand that you are underwater, exploring a ship that has sunk and is now calmly resting on the ocean floor.

The Marlin Club at 108 Catalina Avenue is conveniently located near the Green Pier in Avalon if you're searching for amazing cocktails and a wonderful time. Numerous huge screen TVs, a pool table, foosball, a video game, live music, and the best local music can all be found in the well stocked bar. Come in and discover why the Marlin Club is regarded as the bar in the world!

20. Three Palms Avalon Arcade

Map It: 205 Crescent Ave, Avalon, CA 90704, United States

Phone: 310-510-0967


Hours: Daily: 10 am - 10 pm

Entrance: Free

Let's be real here. When was the last time you visited an amusement park? Even though this is a "holiday," there is no need to be unduly dependent on the sun at all times. You'll experience the kind of long-forgotten joystick and button-smashing pleasure at the Three Palms Avalon Arcade. Take a break for a few hours before you burn to a char because the games are on and the beer is flowing!

21. Catalina Museum for Art & History

Map It: 217 Metropole Avenue, Avalon, CA 90704, United States

Phone: 310-510-2414


Hours: Tuesday - Sunday: 10 am - 5 pm

Entrance: $18 per person

In general, California has a long history that has been shaped by the sun and countless beaches. It's simple to forget all the art that has developed or blossomed in Southern California when you're 22 miles off the coast.

The Catalina Museum For Art & History is one of the top locations to do if you're visiting Santa Catalina Island today or this weekend and are interested in the arts. The Catalina Museum For Art & History is a terrific place to spend a couple of hours in ecstasy because it has everything from changing exhibits of the most famous artists from the past to rare images.

The ONE and ONLY organization that concentrates on Catalina Island's 100-year history is the Catalina Museum for Art & History. Every time, the museum's displays represent significant portions of Catalina's evolution and provide supporting evidence that may be seen by anybody.

The Titanic exhibit, which had actual relics, people, and stories that were merged with the "Unsinkable" Titanic, was among the most recent exhibits. Other recent exhibits included canvas painting displays by Gary Miltimore that fit in well with the island vibes of Catalina. So venture out and discover the Island, but remember to honor those who deserve it.

22. Silver Canyon Pottery 


Map It: 22 Pebbly Beach Rd, Avalon, CA 90704, United States

Phone: 310-499-8799


Hours: Daily: 10 am - 4 pm

Entrance: ~$90 per person

Silver Canyon Pottery began as a straightforward production area and has been in operation since 1988. The tiles on Catalina, which were once poorly maintained and in awful condition, would later become the focus of Silver Canyon Pottery's efforts.

Visitors get the chance to learn more about one of Catalina Island's most recognizable businesses and significant aesthetic changes through the "Catalina Tile Experience." You and your family can arrange a private tour if pottery and gardening are your interests to learn even more about Silver Canyon Pottery's mission and its contributions to Santa Catalina Island.

23. Catalina Sea Spa

wearecatalina / YouTube

Map It: 117 Clarissa Ave Avalon, CA 90704

Phone: (310) 510-8920


Hours: Monday - Friday: 10 AM – 8 PM, Saturday: 10 AM – 9 PM, Sunday: Closed

Price: Dependent on services

Located in stunning downtown Avalon, Catalina Island, only a few feet from the shore. We specialize in both solitary massage and massage for couples. In one of our exquisitely appointed couples rooms, each with a different theme, let us help you and your significant other unwind.

Any service can be enhanced with wonderful calming coconut foot massages, peppermint scalp massages, or lavender facial massages. Hot stone, Swedish, deep tissue, pregnancy, lomi-lomi, and Swedish/Thai combo are some of the services we provide in our packages. Whatever you decide, you will adore our caring and knowledgeable staff. Come by the next time you're on the island so we can capture you.

Article updated:
January 5, 2024

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