FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions about Catalina Island? We have answers. Find out everything there is to know about visiting Catalina Island.


Which airport should I fly into to travel to Catalina Island? Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) or Long Beach (LGB)?

Long Beach Airport (LGB) is the closest airport to the port with most Island ferry departures, while LAX offers access to the area with a greater number of airlines and daily flights. John Wayne Airport (Orange County or SNA) is a third option. For more detailed information, visit our Getting to Catalina Island page.

How do I get to Catalina Island?

Transportation to Catalina Island is via boat (ferry), helicopter, private plane, or private vessel. Scheduled ferry service is available on the Catalina Express from Long Beach (most frequent departures), San Pedro, or Dana Point, and on the Catalina Flyer from Newport Beach. Helicopter service is available via IEX Helicopters, with departure points in Long Beach, San Pedro, Santa Ana, and Burbank.

How long is the ferry ride to Catalina Island?

Both Catalina Express and the Catalina Flyer offer a high speed ferry that will get you to Catalina Island in just over one hour.

What is the best mainland port to depart from to go to Catalina Island?

A. The Catalina Express departs from two Los Angeles County ports in Long Beach and San Pedro. These ports are most convenient to Long Beach Airport (LGB) and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). They also operate out of Dana Point in south Orange County. Dana Point is most convenient for travelers from south Orange County, CA and the Greater San Diego area.

The Catalina Flyer departs from Newport Beach in central Orange County. This port is convenient to John Wayne Airport (SNA) and all Orange County locations.

What is the best way to get around Catalina Island?

Avalon, Catalina Island’s main town, is just under three-square miles in size and everything is within easy walking distance. Walking is the preferred mode of transportation.

Hotels that are a little further from downtown do offer guest shuttles and most vacation rentals offer golf carts. 

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How do I get to Two Harbors from Avalon?

The Catalina Island Company runs the Cyclone boat between Avalon and Two Harbors. The schedule varies by season. The boat ride is approximately 40 minutes. Other access is via private or chartered boat. Transportation is also available via taxi.

When is the best time to month to go to Catalina Island?

All four seasons offer their own appeal for travel to Catalina Island. Spring (March - May) offers exciting events and beautiful weather. The summer season (June - August) is the busiest, with warm sea conditions that invite a wide variety of water activities. Fall (late August - November) is known as the “secret season” among locals – the temperature is still warm, but the crowds are gone. Winter (December - February) is the quietest time of year on the Island – a great opportunity to get away from it all.

Is Catalina Island still free on your birthday?

The Catalina Express discontinued it's ride free on your birthday promotion several years ago. Some island businesses do still continue to offer birthday discounts. Check our special offers page for more details.

Do I need a passport to travel to Catalina Island?

No, a passport is not required – Catalina Island is part of Los Angeles County in the state of California. ID is not required to board the ferry

Is there public bus transportation on Catalina Island?

Public bus transportation is available in Avalon through the City’s Garibaldi Bus. Buses run approximately every 30 minutes on a fixed route. The fare is $2 per person, per ride (children under 5 are free). For more information, pick up a schedule at our Visitor Center on the Green Pleasure Pier. The Catalina Island Co. operates a free shuttle during summer months between the Via Casino Way Arch and Descanso Beach Club.

Is there Uber or Lyft on Catalina Island?

Uber and Lyft do not currently operate on the Island. A taxi service is available. Avalon is very pedestrian friendly and easily walkable.

Can I rent a car on Catalina Island?

No. There are no car ferries to Catalina Island and no car rentals. Only businesses and a limited number of residents are permitted to own and drive full size vehicles on the island. For your convenience there are several golf cart rentals companies, one taxi company, a public bus and options for travel to other points on the island. The City of Avalon is very walkable and most visitors get around on foot.

Things To Do

What is there to do on Catalina Island?

A wide variety of land and ocean based activities – from cultural to adventure are available on the Island. There’s something for everyone! For more information, please visit things to do.

Are there family friend things to do on Catalina Island?

Yes! Catalina is very family friendly. We've put together a list of family friendly things to do called Kidalina. This list also includes family friendly dining.

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What are the top things to do on Catalina Island?

1. Hit the water on a kayak, paddleboard or motor boat.
2. Rent a Golf Tour
3. Experience the Catalina Zip Line Eco Tour
4. Venture into Catalina's backcountry on a a guided tour.
5. Visit Two Harbors
6. Go Parasailing
7. Go SCUBA diving or Snorkeling
8. Tour the Catalina Casino
9. Play a round of Mini Golf
10. Go a Flying Fish Tour.

Top 10 Catalina Adventures

What types of tours are offered on Catalina Island?

A wide variety of land and sea tours are offered. For more information, see all of the things to do.

Where do you see bison on Catalina Island?

Bison or the American Buffalo wander the 42,000 acres of protected land of the Catalina Island Conservancy within the island's interior. Bison are not in Avalon, but may be spotted in Two Harbors. Several companies offer tours of the interior or you may encounter bison while hiking or camping. While wonderful to spot, be sure to keep your distance as they are large and dangerous animals.

Is there a Casino on Catalina Island?

The Catalina Island Casino was built in 1929, as a dance hall and movie theater. "Casino" means "gathering place" in Italian. There is no gambling here. The Casino boasts the world's largest circular ballroom. Tours of the building are available daily.

Can I rent a golf cart for multiple days on Catalina Island?

Golf cart rentals are by the hour only. Some vacation rentals include use of a golf cart for the duration of your stay. Parking is very limited in the City of Avalon, thus parking on city streets without a permit is not advised.

What is the drinking age in Catalina Island?

Catalina's drinking age is 21. Driving under the influence is still a crime in a golf cart and open containers of alcohol are strictly prohibited.

Can you walk around with alcohol on Catalina Island?

Because Catalina Island is part of California, the same laws are followed. It is generally illegal to drink alcohol in public spaces. Alcohol must be consumed in a licensed venue.

Where do I obtain a Catalina Island bike permit?

To bike in the interior of Catalina Island, a Freewheeler Bike Pass is required, and is available through the purchase of a Catalina Island Conservancy membership, starting at $35. To join now, click here. Bring your receipt with you to any of the Conservancy's locations where you will be issued a permit placard that goes on your bike. You may also obtain a bike permit by stopping at the Catalina Island Conservancy Trailhead on Pebbly Beach Rd.

Can you drink alcohol on the beach on Catalina Island?

Alcoholic beverages, animals and smoking are prohibited on public beaches on Catalina Island, which is part of Los Angeles County. You can however enjoy a cocktail at Descanso Beach Club, one of California’s last private beaches with public access. 

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Is there horseback riding on Catalina Island?

Horseback riding, as an activity, is not currently offered on Catalina Island.

Hotels & Lodging

Where should I stay on Catalina Island?

Vacation rentals, hotels, and bed and breakfasts are all available in Avalon. Campsites are located throughout the Island. Two Harbors offers one bed and breakfast inn, and two vacation rental homes. For more information on hotel and lodging options, please visit places to stay

How much are Catalina Island hotels?

Prices vary. Many hotels offer packages that include boat transportation. Please visit our online booking engine to get current rates and pricing.

What Catalina Island hotels or tours are handicap accessible?

Many of our lodging properties offer handicap-accessible rooms. Please contact your chosen lodging property for more information. Accessibility information is listed under the amenities tab within the hotel listing on this website. Some tours are handicap accessible – please inquire when purchasing tickets. Brown Bikes offers wheel chair rentals.

Do any Catalina Island hotels allow smoking?

Some properties offer designated smoking areas. Please contact your chosen lodging property for more information.


Where can I charge my phone on Catalina Island?

In Avalon, there are 4 device charging options. Read more about where to charge your device.

What is the water/drought situation?

A: After nearly 7 years of drought, Catalina Island has exited mandatory water conservation. Southern California Edison is still encouraging all residents, businesses and visitors to the island to continue their great conservation efforts. Please help us be “water wise."

Are there lockers to store my stuff on Catalina Island?

Lockers are available at the Cabrillo Mole (where the boats arrive) and at Descanso Beach Club (only for use by participants of the Zip Line, Climbing Wall & Aerial Adventure). Avalon Blue Line Baggage also offers bag storage and delivery services, call 310-510-9599 for more info. 

Are there public showers on Catalina Island?

A: Public showers are available on Casino Way across from the Catalina Yacht Club in Avalon. Hours vary by season – please contact our Visitor Center on the Green Pier for current operating hours. Descanso Beach Club offers outdoor showers. There are also coin operated showers in Two Harbors.

Where can I access WiFi on Catalina Island?

WiFi is available through Catalina Wifi, starting at .99 cents per day, based on the package purchased. Additionally, most hotels provide WiFi for paying guests. Complimentary wired internet access is available at the Avalon Library.

Are there electric scooter or wheelchair rentals on Catalina Island?

Wheelchair rentals are available at Brown’s Bikes on Pebbly Beach Road. Please call for availability – 310-510-0986. There is also a Dial-A-Ride program available through the City of Avalon


Are dogs allowed on Catalina Island/boat/tours? Hotels? Is Avalon pet or dog friendly?

Pets are allowed on Catalina Express, but they must wear a muzzle or be in a pet carrier.

Pets are not allowed in certain restricted areas: Crescent Avenue between Clarissa and Metropole including paved areas on lower Sumner and lower Catalina, Avalon public beaches, on the Green Pleasure Pier and the Cabrillo Mole (boat landing). While transporting a dog through a restricted area, a leash and muzzle must be used. Some hotels, vacation rentals, and restaurants are pet friendly. Check the amenities tab on our member listings to see if they are pet friendly. Click for a list of pet friendly hotels.


How can I move to Catalina Island?

Year round housing is very limited on Catalina Island. There is a 25 year + waiting list for a full-size vehicle. For information on current employment opportunities, please view current employment opportunities. Please click for a list of local realtors.

Is there a pubic school on Catalina Island?

Yes! Avalon's K-12 public school is home to nearly 500 students, and is part of the Long Beach Unified School District. 

Need more answers?
Ask Lina! Email info@lovecatalina.com

Getting Here

By sea or air, getting to Catalina is easy and fun. You can get to Catalina Island by ferry from four mainland ports in Southern California – San Pedro…

Bikes & Golf Carts

Once you arrive in Avalon, you’ll quickly discover that it has a very pedestrian friendly downtown. Visitors enjoy exploring the hills surrounding Avalon…

Explore the Island

Catalina Flyer

Catalina Flyer from Newport

$10 Off Catalina Island Ferry

Hop onboard the Catalina Flyer for daily ferry service from Newport Beach to Avalon, Catalina Island in just over 1 hour.

Catalina Sea Spa

Catalina Sea Spa

Recharge with massages starting at $110.

Discover Bliss at Catalina Sea Spa! Book online or call 310-510-8920. Treat yourself and escape to relaxation today!