Sail Over to Catalina Island

Catalina Island is located off the coast of southern California, about 22 miles southwest of San Pedro, near Los Angeles. It is part of the Channel Islands. The only city on the island is Avalon, and although over a million tourists visit the island every year, the population hovers around five thousand people.

When I’ve visited Catalina, I’ve taken the ferry from Long Beach. You can also get there by ferry from Newport Beach, Dana Point, San Pedro, and Marina del Rey. The last time I took the ferry to Catalina, I had a very serious case of sea sickness, so I don’t have a terribly fond memory of the boat trip. I think, however, that it took a little over an hour to get to the island from Long Beach. You can also get there by helicopter.

Motor vehicles are restricted to a limited number, and this means that their is a waiting list to bring a car to the island. Not to worry, though, most residents and visitors get around the island in golf carts or bikes.

Things to do on the island include:

  • Hiking and biking
  • Glass bottom boat tours of the reefs and shipwrecks in the surrounding water
  • Scuba diving and snorkeling
  • Attend the Catalina Island Jazztrax Festival, held in October every year
  • Visit the Catalina Island Museum in the Casino Building, depicting the history of the island

You can plan a long day trip to Catalina from the LA area, or do what I did, and stay for a couple days. It’s a very relaxing choice now, especially now that summer is here.

Photo credit: morguefile


Tags: b5media, California, festivals, flight attendants, Flyaway Cafe, museums, music, outdoor activities, travel, travel blogs, vacation, Los Angeles, LA, Catalina Island, Avalon Bay


Mary Jo Manzanares is a traveler, travel blogger, and podcaster. In addition to her blog, Traveling with MJ, she hosts the Where Else to Go podcast, and is the founder and the editor-in-chief of The Traveler’s Way, an online travel magazine. Her travel ethos is value luxury - luxury for real people - and her goal is to help travelers know when to splurge and when to save. Mary Jo has been a speaker at various industry events around the world. When she’s not traveling, Mary Jo likes lingering over a cup of coffee, wandering in a museum, sipping wine at a cafe, and sharing it all with friends and readers. Her most recent travels were to Stockholm, a Baltic cruise, and Universal Orlando Resort.

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