Things to do in Catalina

Catalina Guide

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From strolling through the streets of Avalon and visiting various shops that  line the harbor, stopping for a relaxing lunch at an open air restaurant patio to water sports such as snorkeling, kayaking and paddle boarding.

Catalina offers something for everybody, even the person that wants to relax on the beach and do nothing.  Below is a list of the best things to do in Catalina. 

Ocean Tours

Garibaldi and Calico bass in a kelp forest

The water in Catalina can have visibilty is excess of 90-100 feet offering visitors stunning views of the local waters, fish life and kelp beds.  Catalina Island Boat Adventures offers the following great tours 1) Glass Bottom Boat, 2) Undersea Expedition in a semi-submersible boat where you are seated inside and have a view about 5 feet under the surface and 3) Ocean Expedition, a high speed boat tour of the island.


Catalina has some of the clearest water in California and combined with the calm and protected waters of Avalon bay, the Casino Point Dive park is one of the best areas to snorkel in Southern California.  The Casino Point Dive Park is a marine sanctuary protected by the State of California.  Immediately upon entering the water you will see abundant and colorful sea life.

Coloful Catalina fish

Kayaking and Paddle Boarding

Descanso beach, located within easy walking distance from Avalon Bay, is a great place to kayak and paddle board.  The beach offers reasonable rentals and easy beach access along with great facilities.  This eastern facing bay provides crystal clear water that is protected from the waves and wind of the Pacific ocean.

Hint! - The exception is when the Los Angeles area is experiencing strong Santa Ana winds form the east.  This can often cause high waves and wind that blows from east to west, directly into Avalon bay.  Usually these winds occur in the spring months of February and March and in the fall during September and October.

Descanso beach is also a great place to just relax on the sand and soak up the west coast sunshine.

Paddle boading at Catalina's Descanso Beach

Photo Above:  Taking a break outside the buoy line about 200 yards off of Descanso beach on a beautiful Catalina September day.

Zip Line

If you like zip lines, this one is definitely one to experience.  The trip starts out at an elevation of about 500 feet and takes you through Descanso canyon via five separate zip lines covering about three-quarters of a mile at up to 45 mph.  The longest run being about 1100 feet.

Catalina zip line with cruise ship in background

At each zip line tower stop, you will get a presentation of local wildlife and history of Catalina island.

The trip takes about 2 hours and eventually ends up a Descanso Beach where you can get a soothing drink and splash in the crystal clear Catalina water.

For more information, visit Catalina Zip line.


Most people are surprised to find a golf coarse on Catalina Island.  This fun course starts high above the valley and features five par 4 and four par 3 holes.  The course is based on 9 holes with two sets of tees for 18 hole play and offers some challenging play even for the experienced golfer.

Located up the hill and within walking distance from Avalon bay, this is a great mid morning activity before hitting downtown Avalon for lunch.

For more information, visit Catalina Golf.

Golfing in Catalina
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