November kicks of endurance season on Catalina Island, with a triathlon, 10K, half-marathon, marathon and 50 miler races returning to the island. New this year is the ÖTILLÖ Swimrun, a challenging endurance event popular in Europe that will make its North American debut on the island Feb. 29 and March 1, 2020.
Catalina Island’s races and runs attract world class athletes who challenges each other and themselves across dozens of miles of island terrain. Whether you choose an organized race or want to find your journey to fitness on Catalina Island, there are plenty of other ways to get moving and get – or stay – healthy.
Fitness classes: If you like your workouts with a plan, Island Spa Catalina offers a full schedule of fitness classes, ranging from body sculpting and stair circuits to pilates and yoga. Fitness equipment is also available at several island accommodations, including Hamilton Cove and the Holiday Inn Resort Catalina.
Stand-up paddling: Although it’s been around for thousands of years and across the continents, this sport’s popularity exploded in the early 2000s when it was imported to California from Hawaii’s surf culture. Stand-up paddling is a total body workout that is particularly beneficial for the core muscles and the upper body.
The calm waters off Catalina Island’s leeward side are ideal for stand-up paddling, whether you are a trying it for the first time or are a pro. Stand-up paddleboards can be rented at Descanso Beach Ocean Sports, Wet Spot Rentals and Joe’s Rent-A-Boat in Avalon and at Two Harbors Activities & Adventures at the Isthmus.
Swimming: The island’s crystal-clear waters have attracted swimmers for generations and those looking for a workout on Catalina Island often choose to take the plunge and swim along the coast. Surface waters are comfortable for swimming in summer and fall, but a wetsuit may make things for more comfortable in the winter and spring.
Hiking: With more than 150 miles of trails, tracks and roads, Catalina Island’s interior is a hikers’ paradise. Whether you’re looking for an afternoon workout or a multi-day trek, the hiking trails on Catalina Island have something for everyone. A few favorites include the Garden to the Sky Hike, the Hermit Gulch Trail and the Airport Loop Trail.
Everyone who hikes in the interior must get a hiking permit from the Catalina Island Conservancy. Permits are available on-line, at the Trailhead in Avalon, at the Nature Center in Avalon, at the Two Harbors Visitor Information Center and at the Airport in the Sky.
Biking: A popular activity for the entire family, biking is also a great Catalina Island workout. Cycling the streets of Avalon will provide either a leisurely workout or a heart-pumping challenge, depending on if you choose to stay on what locals refer to as the flats or take on the sometimes-steep hills surrounding the city. Beach cruisers and tandems can be rented from Brown’s Bike or you can choose to bring your own bike to the island via Catalina Island ferry by paying a small fee.
If you are venturing outside of Avalon, you’ll want to have a mountain bike designed for off-roading. Mountain bikes are also available at Brown’s Bikes or you can bring your own. Either way, you will need a Catalina Island Freewheeler Bike Pass from the Catalina Island Conservancy.
Kayaking: One of the most popular fitness activities on Catalina Island is ocean kayaking. Kayaks, which can be rented from several outfitters, seat either one or two people and are an ideal activity for families, couples or single travelers. Enjoy the island’s scenic coastline as you work your shoulders, arms and core. Popular year-round, ocean kayaking can also provide a great aerobic workout.
Walking: While Catalina’s rugged interior is ideal for experienced hikers, the scenic waterfront and gentle hills around both Avalon and Two Harbors provide the perfect environment to take a walk – or a run. Popular walks in Avalon include the waterfront from Descanso to Lovers Cove; along Avalon Canyon to the Wrigley Memorial and Botanic Garden and – for more of a workout – over Mt Ada. In Two Harbors, a popular walk is along Cat Harbor on the island’s windward site to Ballast Point.
While walking or running in Avalon, stop off at Friendship Park, located on Avalon Canyon Road, across from City Hall and Avalon Fire Department, where you’ll find outdoor fitness equipment to enhance your workout.