Catalina California

Catalina Guide

Things to do   Weather   Hotels   Webcams

The island of Catalina California is located just 25 miles west of one of the largest US cities, Los Angeles, and is so close, yet so far from hustle and bustle of everyday big city living. 

View from the hills of Catalina's Avalon Harbor showing how peaceful and protected the bay isCatalina's Avalon Harbor

Once you arrive in beautiful Avalon Harbor, the first thing you will notice is the clear and calm deep blue Pacific ocean water hitting up against the cliffs and hills surrounding the bay.  Catalina California is a great day trip destination, or alternately, plan a three day weekend or week long escape from the fast pace of Southern California life.

Restaurants and boutique hotels are nestled in the hills and on the boardwalk that surround Avalon Harbor providing the perfect backdrop for your stay.

Avalon is the main city in Catalina.  Located on the eastern part of the island, it is protected from the normal westerly wind and waves.  This makes for calm waters perfect for all types of beach and water activities for the entire family.

The Best Time to Visit

As with most Southern California coastal cities, the ocean tempers the weather all year long.  Rarely do temperatures get extremely hot or cold.  July through October will bring the warmest and clearest weather with May and June being cool with the most clouds.  Even the winter months of November through March will see some beautiful days with moderate temperatures and abundant sunshine.  The rainy season is November through April with the most rain occurring in February and March.

View towards the east from Catalina's Avalon Harbor showing brilliant purple and pink sunriseSunrise in Catalina

Hint! - if you enjoy the sun, avoid any southern California beach city from San Diego to Santa Barbara during the months of May and June.  Southern California natives call it May gray and June gloom.  As the California inland deserts start to heat up in May, the rapidly rising air pulls in the coastal clouds all the way to the mountain foothills, some 20 miles inland, that results in days and nights of low clouds and fog along the coast with little or no sun for 1 to 2 weeks at a time.

Visit our Catalina weather page for details on average monthly high and low air temperatures and water temperatures.

Weather in Catalina

Things to Do

Upon arrival to Catalina, the first thing you notice is the crystal clear Pacific ocean water and abundant sea life.  

Glassy calm day on the paddle board just off of Catalina's Descanso BeachPaddle Boarding off of Descanso Beach

Take a stroll through downtown Avalon or rent a golf cart and roam the streets.  There are plenty of things to do in Catalina California, from lounging on the beach to water sports such as kayaking, paddle boarding and snorkeling.  Take a walk up the hill for a great view of the bay or perhaps play a round of golf.  Just north of the Casino is Descanso beach, a great place to relax for the day with all of the amenities of a high end resort should you desire to indulge.

Things to do in Catalina

See Catalina California Live

Take a look from one of our live webcams and check out current weather and beach conditions.  These are also great cameras to view a stunning California sunrise and sunset.  Some cameras allow the user to pan, tilt and zoom.

Live Catalina Webcams


Catalina is a small island and the big hotel chains don't exist.  This is what gives this town its charm.  Most places to stay are very unique and are considered boutique hotels.  Check out our hotel map and reviews via the page link below.

View Catalina Hotels

Getting to Catalina

The best way to start your Catalina vacation is to fly into the Los Angeles (LAX) or Long Beach airport and then take a passenger ferry to Catalina from Long Beach, Dana Point or San Pedro.  You can even fly into San Diego (SAN) and then drive 65 miles to Dana Point, should you wish to spend some time in America's Finest City before going to Catalina.

The ferry trip from takes between 60 and 90 minutes depending on your departure city.  Visit the Catalina Express page for schedules, prices and more.

Although more expensive, but much faster, you can take a helicopter instead of the ferry.  The trip takes about 15 minutes and soars 200 to 300 feet over the ocean making for some great views along the way.  A one way trip cost abut $250 per person for a round trip.  Helicopters depart from Long Beach or San Pedro.  Visit Island Express for details and schedule.

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