Whether you’re visiting Catalina Island for a day or a week, this island paradise offers a wealth of opportunities to indulge yourself, but it also offers a surprising number of ways to save. If you’re looking to save on your Catalina Island vacation, here are 20 things you can do for less than $20 each.
Catalina Island Museum: One of the top attractions on Catalina Island, the museum welcomes visitors and locals with a fascinating array of permanent and temporary exhibits. Don’t miss their latest exhibit of Catalina art. Admission is free for members, $17 adults, $15 for seniors, active military, veterans & students, children age 15 & under are FREE. (currently closed)
Dessert: You’re in a seaside resort, indulge! Gourmet chocolates, delectable cookies, caramel apples, ice cream cones and saltwater taffy are just a few of the inexpensive ways to treat yourself on Catalina Island for less than $20. Some of our favorite spots for sweets & treats are Lloyd's of Avalon, Scoops and Catalina Coffee & Cookie.
Have a glass of wine and watch the moonrise: The moon reflected on the calm waters of Avalon Harbor is a sight you’ll remember forever. Pair it with a glass of wine at one of Catalina Island’s waterfront restaurants for an inexpensive moment of island bliss.
Go to Descanso Beach Club: While most of Avalon’s beaches are free, there’s a small fee $2 access fee to visit Descanso Beach, the private beach club on the other side of the Catalina Casino Building. Relax on the beach, grab lunch and enjoy an adult beverage.
Enjoy lunch in a tiki bar: If you’re looking for an inexpensive alternative for dining on Catalina Island, go for lunch. You’ll find an array of options ranging from tiki bars to fast food stands and from Mexican to fresh fish.
Mini-golf: One of Avalon’s most enduring – and endearing – attractions is the miniature golf course in the center of town. Shaded by massive eucalyptus trees and enjoyed by generations of visitors and residents alike, the Catalina Mini Golf Gardens is an inexpensive way to spend time on the island. Admission starts at $10.
Check out Avalon on the Scenic Tour: You’ll get a great overview of the City of Avalon and its history on the Avalon Scenic Tour, which is less than $20 per person.
Grab a Souvenir Photo: Stop by the Catalina Island photo booth on the corner of Crescent Ave and Pebbly Beach Rd. 3 photo strips with 3 images each is just $5.
Rent mask, snorkel and fins: On either side of Avalon, you’ll find Protected Marine Areas, where the fish are plentiful – and friendly. Both Lover’s Cove and the Casino Dive Park are perfect destinations for snorkeling.
Eat fish and chips: The consummate island meal is available from several locations on the island and won’t set you back more than $20.
Take a ride on the glass bottom boat: One of the top things to do on Catalina Island for nearly a century, a ride on the glass bottom boat is an inexpensive way to see beneath the sea. You’ll wonder at the undersea gardens of Lovers Cove, where sheepshead, garibaldi and calico bass await regular visits from curious travelers.
Experience an icon: Catalina’s Casino is a spectacular place to visit, both inside and out. The Discover the Casino tour will give you an overview of this architectural marvel. (currently closed for tours)
Burger Night: Several Avalon restaurants offer burger night on various evenings during the week, providing a budget-friendly alternative for dinner.
Visit the Botanical Garden: At the top of Avalon Canyon, the Wrigley Memorial and Botanic Garden features 37 acres of gardens along with the imposing Wrigley Memorial. Don’t miss climbing to the top for a wonderful view of the canyon and the ocean. Admission is $8 per adults, $4 for children age 5-12, and $6 for seniors and veterans.
Amazing Scavenger Hunt Adventure is part game and part tour. Turn Avalon into a giant game board. Guided from your smart phone, teams make their way among well known and overlooked gems, solving puzzles, clues and challenges, while learning local history.
Rent a bike: Get your pedal power on and check out Avalon from a rented bicycle.
Go bowling: Three Palms Avalon Arcade offers mini-bowling and an array of arcade games for less than $20. (arcade is currently closed)
Have a cocktail: There are several watering holes where a drink – or two – will set you back less than $20. Don't forget to try an island original, the Buffalo Milk.
Explore Avalon Harbor: Rent a pedal boat, a paddle board or a kayak and check out the calm waters around Avalon.