Catalina Island

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Trip to Catalina for our anniversary

August 2010

We're thinking of leaving the kids behind for a few days (4 nights maybe?) and going to Santa Catalina Island for our 10th anniversary in October. I'm not sure how to get there though--do you fly into L.A., rent a car, take a boat to Avalon? I'm also looking for recommendations on where to stay, where to eat, what to do, anything you can pass on. Is this a good idea for a short romantic getaway? Thank you! Need a little romance

Hello, We just got back from a short trip to Catalina (not exactly a romantic trip... we were with our toddler and my parents) and my family used to go every summer when I was growing up so I thought I would offer a bit of advice.

If you are just going to Catalina, you should probably fly into Long Beach. From there it would be a short taxi ride to the Catalina Express boat to Avalon. It would probably be a waste to rent a car and just have it parked at the dock while you are gone... (you cannot bring a car with you to Catalina). There are a lot of nice hotels along the beach - The Pavilion Hotel ( was just remodeled and looked very nice from the outside. For food two nice places are the Descanso Beach Club and Avalon Grille, but I doubt you would need reservations anywhere in October... you could just stroll around and see what looks good. For fun you could rent kayaks or bikes or go snorkeling (although it might be cold) or go on the Glass Bottom Boat Tour. There is also a new zip line which looks like a lot of fun. This website is good:

Honestly, I think Catalina is fun, but you might get bored being there for 4 nights (unless you are really into taking an all day bike ride or spending a day playing golf)... maybe two nights in Catalina and two nights somewhere else in southern CA? Have fun!

Trip to Catalina with 3 and 5 year olds

May 2000

Has anyone been to Catalina Island, Southern Calif.? We're thinking of going this summer and I'm wondering what it's like in July or August weather wise and water temperature wise. Is Avalon Beach a good beach for 3 and 5 year olds? How about kid freindly hotels, condo, whatever. Any info would be greatly appreciated.

About Catalina, I've been going there every summer since I was a baby; I've been staying in my grandparents' house, so I can't help with hotels, except to say that with kids, you probably don't want one on Front (or Crescent) street. There are crowds at night--not too loud, but still--on the front street and it might bug you. The restaurants on the island are not the greatest, and tend towards the expensive (a captive market!), so if you can find a hotel with a kitchenette (depending on how long you're staying) you might be better off for some meals. The weather in July and August is very warm during the day--tshirts, shorts--and at night you might need sweaters. The island feel is great. There are very few cars (although more now tah nten years ago!), you can go everywhere on foot (you can also take a bus tour ride, but a 3 year old would probably be bored), and the air is balmy in the summer. If you go, definitely go to Descanso beach during the day or at night--on Fridays and Saturday nights they have a salad bar buffet and you bring your own seafood or meat to grill, and sit at big picnic tables on the beach. have fun! Jessica

I spent four or five summers on Catalina at Cherry Valley Cove in Boy Scout camp. The water is COLD -- about 55 degrees -- because the island is far enough off the coast to be smack dab in the middle of the Japan Current, our West Coast anti-Gulf Stream! Since I always chose the water sports programs, the first thing I had to do on arrival was jump off the dock and prove I could swim. That was virtually the only time I went in the water, except for the one time I went diving for numbered rocks in the cove (how dumb can you be?) and came out 20 minutes later blue to the bone. If you like to swim at Ocean Beach or elsewhere in Northern California you might enjoy the waters at Catalina -- otherwise, stay dry or wear a wet (or dry) suit. Timothy

Catalina Island is known for being 10 degrees cooler in the summer and 10 degrees warmer in the winter than the mainland due to the tempering effect of the ocean. Although the interior can get hot, the weather in Avalon is generally wonderful. Avalon Beach has very gentle waves since it faces the mainland. The water is cool, but not freezing like up here. We went there for several summers when I was a little kid, and I loved it. Mimi