It’s no secret that summer is high season on Catalina Island – and it’s not hard to see why. Warmer temperatures both above and in the water, abundant activities and, let’s not forget, schools are out!
Just because it’s high season doesn’t mean there’s not ways to avoid the crowds and find your own little piece of island paradise. Here are 7 ways to avoid the crowds during summer season on Catalina Island.
Pick mid-week: One of the easiest ways to avoid at least some of the summer crowds on Catalina Island is by avoiding the weekends. Even though many families choose a week-long Catalina Island vacation during the summer, by planning your island getaway midweek you can avoid the busiest days of Saturday and Sunday. Cruise ships visit the island on Mondays and Tuesdays, so in the summer, the least crowded days are typically Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Explore further afield: The overwhelming majority of visitors to Catalina Island never take the time to get beyond Avalon. While the charming seaside resort brims with activities and attractions, the rest of Catalina Island does as well. With more than 75 square miles, the island’s interior, as the locals refer to it, features stunning seascapes, unique wildlife and compelling adventures. Protected from development and overuse by the Catalina Island Conservancy, the island’s uncrowded wilderness is the perfect destination for escaping the summer rush.
Go for a hike – or take a bike: Speaking of adventures, two of the best ways to experience Catalina Island’s wildlands are via hiking and biking. Both require a permit from the Catalina Island Conservancy, so stop by the Trailhead Center before setting out to explore the island’s extensive trail and road system. Need to rent a bike or get trail support? Brown’s Bike and Catalina Backcountry can help.
Dine at off times: One of the best elements of a truly memorable vacation are a few great meals – and that certainly is true of a vacation on Catalina Island. Vacationers can choose from fresh fish, prime steaks and delicious vegetarian options at dozens of Avalon restaurants. During the summer, Catalina Island restaurants tend to be busiest between 6 and 8 p.m. If you can plan your meals before or after those hours, you’ll have a much better chance of avoiding the dinner rush.
Take a plunge: Beneath the sea, the only crowds you’ll find are the schools of curious fish that inhabit Catalina Island’s protected marine areas. Dive and snorkel sites like Lover’s Cove and the Casino Dive Park may seem busy in the summer months; but exploring along the Catalina Island coastline will reveal a wealth of remote and isolated coves where no matter what time of year it is, you’ll feel the only one around.
Check out the other end of the island: For more than a century, Avalon and Catalina Island have been nearly synonymous. The small town is the island’s only incorporated municipality and is where most residents reside – and where most services can be found. Avalon, however, is not the only destination on Catalina Island. Two Harbors, on the island’s more remote West End, offers accommodations, a restaurant, a general store and a snack stand, as well as a range of activities and adventures. Looking for something even more isolated and remote? Catalina Island campgrounds range from backside beaches with plenty of services to isolated boat-in coves, where you’ll be the only human for miles.
Book a return for winter: Want to experience Catalina Island when it’s hushed and unrushed? A Catalina Island getaway in winter offers a peaceful retreat, where you can escape from the crowds and maddening mainland alike. Book your trip today.