Surrounded by crystal clear waters and home to dramatic, rugged terrain, it’s no surprise that Santa Catalina has become a mecca for thrill seekers. Things to do on Catalina include adrenalin-pumping adventures by land, sea and air.
Here are our top 11 thrilling outdoor adventures on the island
Get out of town for the ultimate Catalina adventure
Hiking: Catalina Island offers some of Southern California’s best hiking trails. Dramatic wildlife, awe-inspiring views and a wide array of trails combine to offer both challenge and reward for hikers of all abilities. Make sure and check in with the Catalina Conservancy to secure a Catalina hiking permit before setting out.
Camping: Camping on Catalina Island ranges from comfortable tent cabins at Two Harbors and Avalon to isolated coves with limited access as well as established campgrounds offering water, shade structures and additional services. All the campgrounds on Catalina offer the opportunity immerse yourself in nature, surrounded by undeveloped wilderness and spectacular scenery.
High-flying things to do on Catalina Island
Catalina Island Zipline: The first zipline in Los Angeles County is also the most scenic in California. The zipline on Catalina Island features five zips high above Descanso Canyon, all featuring inspiring views of the Pacific far below. Zipline adventurers will also learn more about Catalina’s unique ecosystems and the efforts to protect them.
Parasailing: Soaring high above Avalon Harbor gives parasailers a birds’ eye view of the Island. Catalina parasailing takes adventurers up to 800 feet above the sea while being towed by a high-speed boat. For an extra splash of excitement, make sure to let the crew know you want to be dipped.
Flyboarding: Catalina Island’s newest thrill, flyboarding, combines the allure of the ocean with our dreams of futuristic high-speed adventures. Using jet-propelled water, fly-boarding lets you take off from the water and engage in high-flying antics and acrobatics.
Plunge beneath the surface and into an underwater wonderland
Scuba Diving: Widely considered one of the top dive destinations in North America, Catalina offers divers of all abilities awe-inspiring encounters with the underwater world. Catalina Island scuba diving features amber kelp forests, diverse marine life and a wealth of dive spot destinations.
Snorkeling: Getting a good look at the underwater world can also be done from the surface. Requiring no experience and no certification other than the ability to swim, snorkeling on Catalina Island is renowned throughout California. Equipment rentals are available on the island and great snorkeling can found just offshore from Avalon and Two Harbors. Looking to explore farther afield? Book a snorkeling adventure to some of Catalina’s top dive spots.
Catalina Island surface adventures
Kayaking: Catalina Island’s 52 miles of coastline invite exploration and kayaking is the ultimate way to do it. Beginners will discover the ease of paddling along the leeward side of the island and more experienced paddlers can challenge themselves with longer expeditions. Guided tours are a great way to learn more about the island while kayaking on Catalina.
Paddle-boarding: Stand-up paddle-boarding has taken the country by storm and it’s not difficult to see why. Paddle-boarding on the leeward side of Catalina offers miles of scenic coastline, isolated coves and compelling marine life to discover.
Sport Fishing: For more than a century, anglers have flocked to Catalina’s waters in pursuit of the ultimate prize – marlin. These magnificent game fish can still be found in island waters, although most sports fishers choose catch and release. A number of charter vessels are available from Avalon Harbor.
Jet skis: Personal watercraft provide an adrenaline-pumping water adventure perfect for visitors who feel the need for speed. Jet ski rentals on Catalina Island are available for one or two adventurers.