Catalina Island Beaches
Catalina Island beaches - Have fun in the sun and relax with friends and family
Avalon has three public beaches and one private beach.
South Beach, Middle Beach and Step Beach are public beaches that lie along Crescent Avenue, steps away from hotels, shops, restaurants, restrooms and recreation. During the summer months, each public beach has a lifeguard on duty, as well as a swim line. Feel free to bring your lunch, but please note that alcoholic beverages, animals and smoking are prohibited on public beaches.
South Beach and Middle Beach are located on either side of the Green Pleasure Pier. South Beach is the first beach you see when arriving from the ferry terminal, it's located directly in front of the Pavilion Hotel and Luau Larry's. Middle Beach overlooks the center of the harbor, where the majority of Crescent Ave shops and restaurants are located. Step Beach is located in the area in front of the Via Casino Arch and is a few steps down off Crescent Ave.
High tide and low tide occur twice daily, every six hours. Beach-goers lounge in the white sandy beach area above the sea wall. Below the sea wall, the wet sand is perfect for sand castle building or other sandy endeavors.
New in 2020 - With a ban on indoor dining, South Beach & Middle Beach transform into outdoor dining rooms daily, starting at 5 pm. Stop by one of six local restaurants for an open air, beach dining experience.
Descanso Beach Club
Just beyond the world-famous Catalina Casino is Descanso Beach, one of California’s last private beaches with public access. Part of Descanso Beach Club, it offers a restaurant with table service, full-service bar, restrooms, outdoor showers, dressing rooms and chaise lounge and cabana rentals. Access to the beach is $2 per day. The Beach Club has easy access to Descanso Beach Ocean Sports, where you will find a great selection of sit-on-top and touring kayaks as well as a selection of stand-up paddle boards (SUPs), snorkel gear, wetsuits and boogie boards. Guided kayak excursions are available every day. Feeling adventurous? Try the Catalina Climbing Wall, Catalina Aerial Adventure ropes course or the exciting Zip Line Eco Tour where you can zip through the air at speeds up to 40 mph!
All Catalina Island beaches are filled with soft sand, warm sun and gentle surf. The crystal clear aqua blue water is great for families to frolic and play in the ocean. Remember to bring your sunscreen! Forget your beach chair or umbrella? Many hotels provide chairs and towels for their guests and during the summer months you will find a rental shack for all of your beach equipment needs. You can also find beach supplies at the drugstore, Vons and several local shops.
For a great snorkeling location (mostly rocks, not a sandy beach) try Lover's Cove, a state marine conservation area.
Like the name implies, Pebbly Beach is rocky. Located past the ferry terminal, next to the helipad, this beach is a favorite among locals and those scouting for treasures from the sea. Get to Pebbly Beach by walking or biking, or stop by on a golf cart tour. There are no services or amenities at Pebbly Beach.
Long a popular spot with boaters, Two Harbors is now a destination for hikers, campers and beach goers. Just off Isthmus Pier lies Harbor Sands, a beautiful white sand beach club with palapas and lounge chairs, as well as a beach side dining deck known as Harbor Reef. Enjoy a Buffalo Milk or have lunch at this seaside oasis.
The beach in Two Harbors, on either side of Isthmus Pier, below the sea wall, is a popular spot for recreation and water sports including kayaking, SUP and more.
If you're visiting Avalon, you can take a day trip to Two Harbors. Take a scenic 30 minute trip along the coast of the island aboard the Cyclone boat. There are two trips daily between Avalon and Two Harbors in summer months. (The Cyclone operates seasonally.)
Interior Coastal Areas
Beaches within Catalina Island's remote interior lands are beautiful. On the windward side of the island you'll find Ben Weston beach, Little Harbor and Shark Harbor. Ben Weston beach is a popular beach for surfing, but requires about a mile hike in from the road. Little Harbor and Shark Harbor both offer overnight camping, which can be reserved through Reserve America. These beaches are accessible by hiking, biking or via private transportation or tour. Parsons Landing is located on the far west end of the island and offers opportunities for overnight camping. This beach is only available by hiking in or kayaking in. Camping can be reserved through Reserve America.
Other Catalina Island beaches and coves are accessible via kayak or watercraft. Interesting in camping at the beach? There are several options; from beachfront campgrounds to primitive boat-in campsites along the coast of the island. Catalina Island boasts more than 62 miles of unspoiled beaches and secluded coves—the longest publicly accessible stretch of undeveloped coastline left in Southern California.