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Located just 25 miles west of one of the largest US cities, Los Angeles
California, the island of Catalina is so close yet so far from the big
Once you arrive in beautiful Avalon Bay, the first thing you will
notice is the clear and calm deep blue Pacific ocean water butting up
against the cliffs and hills surrounding the bay. Catalina is a great day trip or plan a three day weekend or week long Catalina vacation and escape from the hustle and bustle of Southern California life.
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.
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, such as myself, 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. For more detailed information, please visit our Catalina weather page.
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 $125 or $250 round trip per person. Helicopters depart from Long Beach or San Pedro. Visit Island Express for details and schedule.
You have arrived in Avalon bay. As you walk towards downtown along the pier, the first thing you notice is the crystal clear Pacific ocean water and abundant sea life. Take a stroll through downtown Avalon or rent a golf cart and roam the streets. There are plenty of things to do in Catalina, 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. Grab lunch or dinner at my absolute favorite Catalina restaurant, Steve's Steak House. Catalina is so close for the Southern California visitor, yet so different from nearly Los Angeles. For more information about Catalina, check out our things to do in Catalina page.