Located just 22 miles off southern California’s coast, Catalina Island welcomes visitors year ’round. Getting here is easy with travel time to the island as little as 15 minutes by air or one hour by high speed passenger ferry. California’s only island resort, Catalina Island offers endless options for visitors to enjoy. Avalon hosts all the amenities of a larger city for residents to rely upon, while the village of Two Harbors offers a boater’s paradise and quiet escape from the crowds with easy access to camping and wildlife. The island is also home to many camps and campsites as well as the USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies, home to the USC Catalina Hyperbaric Chamber. Whether you are planning a vacation, a wedding or group event or even looking to relocate to our island paradise, Catalina Island is the ideal destination for you.
1. ) What is your destination most known for?
Located just 22 miles off the coast of Southern California, Catalina is known to many Southern Californians as a great island escape from the mainland. There are a number of things that make this island unique, however our historic Casino building commissioned and built by William Wrigley, Jr, in 1929, is probably the most iconic landmark and must-see visitor attraction. Visitors enjoy visiting our History and Art Museum, Scuba and Snorkeling, Hiking, Biking, and all manner of fishing and boating.
2.) During this time, how can we enjoy your destination?
The holidays are a magical time on the island. Light displays and festive décor paired with the beautiful harbor backdrop and swaying palm trees make for a unique holiday experience – island style. An average high of 63 degrees in the winter also makes Catalina a wonderful destination to escape the cold with plenty of beachfront dining and outdoor activities – from zip lining and hiking to incredible tours of the interior of the island. Visitors can also enjoy shopping at more than 40 local shops that offer one-of-a-kind gifts.
3.) What hidden gem should not be missed when visiting your destination?
About a 30-minute stroll up Avalon Canyon from the town center, the Wrigley Memorial & Botanical Garden offers beautiful ocean views overlooking the town. The memorial honors the memory of William Wrigley Jr., who played an instrumental role in bringing attention to Catalina in 1919. Built in 1933-34 by the Chicago architecture firm Bennett, Parsons and Frost, the goal of the memorial was to incorporate as many Catalina materials as possible, including quarried Catalina stores and blue flagstone rock from Catalina’s Little Harbor. Admission is $8 for adults ($6 for seniors/veterans; $4 for students and children 5-12; and free for active-duty military and children under 5).
4.) What’s one feature that can’t be missed when visiting your website?
We have a ton of information on our website about how to get to the island, where to stay, what to do along with interesting historical tidbits. Most travelers find the “Things to Do” tab on the website most helpful in planning trips as they can find a breakdown of top things to do by interest and traveler type (i.e. families, adventure travelers, etc.).
5.) How did you hear about NATJA, why did you join?
Have been a member for many years.
6.) Is there anything else you feel travel media should know about your destination?
Catalina Island is a special place with a rich history (the island has served as a location for many movies filmed in the early days of Hollywood, serving as a playground to the stars). From water activities and outdoor adventures to shopping and dining, there’s something for every type of traveler to explore on Catalina.