While high speed boats from Long
Beach and San Pedro harbors in Los Angeles County travel back
and forth to the island numerous times during daily, boats from
Newport Beach and Dana Point in Orange County go only once. In
Newport Beach, the Catamaran leaves at approximately 9:30 a.m.
and departs Catalina Island for the return trip at 4:30 p.m.
This venue is very popular and reservations are recommended,
especially during nice weather, holidays and summer.
As boats pull into the Avalon
Harbor, signage greets travelers and announces that you have
arrived on the Island. Though there are no Island girls or guys
placing leis around guests necks, those who book a hotel room at
the Best Western Catalina Canyon Resort and Spa (the only hotel
chain on the island), get a golf cart ride to their suite.
The majority staying overnight
carry baggage to their hotel rooms, with "suitcases on wheels"
being the preferred choice. Tram and taxi services are
available, as well, but many hotels are within a short walk of
the dock. Car rental is not a choice but you can rent a golf
As you exit your boat, you will
pass kiosks selling tickets for scenic tours. With only a few
hours to spend, some of the tours take over three hours and must
be planned upon arrival. Many are pre-booked and are sold out.
A variety of tours include
favorites such as the 50 minute scenic tour which takes you
around the streets of Avalon. Gas golf carts are very popular at
$30 an hour (subject to change) though bicycles, mopeds,
motorcycles and walking will also get you to most locations.
Hills are often steep and windy, however, and the scenic tour
tram does not attempt a few of them. Avalon controls the size
and number of vehicles by requiring a permit for all forms of
transportation and limiting the number of cars.
Catalina Island is part of Los
Angeles County with the city of Avalon situated on the easterly
portion, 22 miles south/southwest of the Los Angeles Harbor. The
picturesque seaport village of Avalon has a permanent population
of around 3,500 but hosts over one million guests annually. On
an average summer day, residents are are quite happy to be
outnumbered five to one since the primary source of revenue
comes from tourism.
While the city of Avalon is a
little over 2 2/3 square miles in size, the island comprises 76
square miles. 85% of it is in a conservancy area maintained in
its natural state in perpetuity. Catalina Island and Avalon's
policy of limiting the number of cars equates with no smog and
crystal clear water to snorkel, swim and sail in. Violent crimes
are virtually nonexistent on this tropical paradise.