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 Catalina  Flyer Boat Tour Catalina Island

catalina flyer boat
catalina flyer to avalon

    How easy is it to hop a boat to Catalina Island?    It is a breeze to put yourself on a boat and head for Paradise, even if just for a day.  

    The upper deck of the boat tour to Catalina Island on Catalina Express or Catalina Flyer boat charters often looks appealing until the boat leaves the harbor. That's when the cool winds begin to blow. Add to that the salt-sea mist and it can become downright chilling if you don't have on a jacket or a coat.


    Getting there:


    Newport Beach - Catalina Flyer Reservations  Address: 400 Main Street, Newport Beach, CA  92661.


    Dana Point, Long Beach  Catalina Express Reservations.

    Dana Point, 34675 Golden Lantern, Dana Point, CA

    Directions: From LA: I-5 Freeway. South & exit at Pacific Coast Highway. From San Diego: I-5 Freeway. North & exit at Beach Cities, Highway #1 off-ramp. Take a left at the second signal, Dana Point Harbor Drive. Left at Golden Lantern, which dead ends at Dana Harbor parking lot.

    Long Beach, 320 Golden Shore, Long Beach, CA. (Downtown Long Beach Catalina Landing)
    Directions: (710) Freeway. South into Long Beach. Stay to the left, follow signs to downtown and exit Golden Shore. Turn right at stop sign, follow around to Terminal on the right. Parking in parking structure on the left.

    Long Beach, 1046 Queensway Drive, Long Beach, CA. (Queen Mary)

    Directions: (710) Freeway. South into Long Beach. Stay in right lane, follow all signs to the Queen Mary which will lead you to the Catalina Express Port in the Queen Mary parking lot.


    Catalina Island looks like a set of mountains floating on the Pacific Ocean as you gaze from the Southern California shore to the west. Located 22 to 25 miles from Los Angeles and Orange County, on a clear, warm day they beckon to come visit. And getting to them is usually as easy as hopping on one of the daily charters departing Long Beach, Newport Beach or Dana Point. If youu've never visited or have not been there in quite some time, you are in for treat.  It's possible to stay overnight but you actually can pack in a full day of entertainment, arriving around 10 a.m. and back on the boat by 4 p.m. return for a total of six hours of play. 


    To get going, you can call Catalina Express or Catalina Flyer and get their schedules and departure times. Once you have that information, be sure to pack a sweater or jacket and some sunblock or a ball cap for the day of your life.The boats going back and forth between the island and mainland is usually a Catamaran. High speed versions departing Long Beach can clip off an extra 15 minutes for a journey under one hour each way. Most trips take about 65 to 90 minutes each way..  The boat ride itself is pleasure enough if you enjoy the open seas.  During the months of December through March you often can spot the whale migrations and when this happens, the captain sometimes may even stop to watch.  On any given day you may see dolphins and sea lions on buoys as you exit the harbor.


    While on this fun boat tour, you can sit outdoors. Most people start the trip outside and often half the original number will be there when the boat arrives, having gone inside the ship for a warmer seat..  Sitting outside is not for the faint hearted or for people with fancy hairdos. The top deck is very windy and cool and most who venture up from two other floors and inside cabins don't stay long.  Slight ocean spray mists can soak the upper deck from time to time, depending on the weather conditions and ocean currents. There's limited seating in the back by the engine. Gas exhaust is slightly noticeable at that location but the outdoor air keeps fresh air moving it along.


    Inside the boat is a snackbar with cocoa, coffee, sodas and even beer for 21+. Chips and other light refreshments are sold there.  Cushioned booths, comfortable seating and warmer weather are offered indoors.  There are also restroom facilities inside the boat.

    Time passes quickly on the hour long ride as you look at the ocean and sky. Other passengers seem friendly and before you know it, the island appears larger and closer. You arrive in the port with no rush to get off the boat, but can tell  that it is going to be fun. By the way, if the crew of the craft see a whale, they will go as far as to stop if it's a really big one nearby.


    This family pictured was on their first trip to the islands as a family.  The man with the visor had been to Catalina Island years ago as a kid attending summer camp.


    While on the Catamaran, a person may offer to sell you tickets to attractions such as island tours.  The reason this works is that when you arrive, there's only a few booth and attendants to tend to an entire boat load of people eager to try some excursion.  If you look online at the many offerings and decide, go ahead and purchase your tickets while on the ride to save time. Certain days of the week you also compete with the cruise ship passengers visiting for the day. It's not a huge problem but can impact your plans if you don't rush upon arrival to obtain a golf cart rental.

    A day goes quickly on Catalina Island. There are beaches, mountains, a 9-hole golf course, horseback riding, a skatepark, over half a dozen tour choices, paddle boats, kayaks, parasailing and snorkeling.  In addition to sports, museums and arts, there's shopping and dining. 


    After a day on Catalina Island, there's no question, that you'll have gotten lots of sun, exercise and relaxation. It's amazing that you can turn a day into an entire vacation. That's all you need, is one day. And if you still have energy, you can be back in Los Angeles and visit some theme parks in the evening, go to a movie, theater or even pick up a ball game or concert.