Avalon and Catalina Island, California

Catalina Express Tickets

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 cart.


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.

A trip to Avalon on Catalina Island, the island of romance is a Fantasy Island vacation. You can get there by boat or high speed catamaran from San Pedro, Long Beach, Newport Beach and Dana Point or by helicopter from San Pedro and Long Beach. A round trip boat ticket costs approximately $60 with the ride taking around an hour, give or take 20 minutes depending on which boat you take.