If you're looking for an action-packed vacation, you can hike through the backcountry, fly down a zip line 500 feet above the water, or go scuba diving with the area's colorful marine life. Travelers who are interested in something more relaxing can book a day at the spa, take a soothing glass bottom boat tour, or browse the small boutique shops that dot the island.
Miniature golf, Segway tours, peddle boats, and bikes offer leisurely opportunities to soak up some sun and take in the picturesque location. History buffs should make sure to include the Catalina Island Museum on their itinerary. The Wrigley Memorial and Botanical Gardens, Casino Ballroom, and Avalon Theater offer additional highlights.
No matter what you're in the mood for, if it's tropical in nature, Catalina Island can meet your needs. Work up a sweat, or settle in for a massage. Whatever your choice, your time here is sure to prove unforgettable.
When to Visit Catalina Island, California
The weather on Catalina Island is nearly perfect year-round. The average high fluctuates from 75 degrees in summer to 65 degrees in winter. The beautiful island enjoys 270 days of sunshine every year. Winter is the wettest season, but the area still sees only about 15 inches of precipitation a year.
If fishing is big on your agenda, spring is the best time to visit. Temperatures begin to warm up in April, and the conditions for Pacific fishing are ideal. This is also a good time for golfing, hiking, or taking a boat tour. Summer is the best time for water sports, but it's also the busiest season on the island. As such, you can expect the highest prices and most difficulty snagging a room.
For lower hotel rates and thinner crowds, time your visit for fall. The weather is still warm, but you can avoid some of the hassles of peak tourist season.
Below is a chart of the current pricing seasonality of hotels and motels in Catalina Island, CA:
Catalina Island by Star Rating
Below are 3 charts demonstrating mean nightly cost trends by star rating class in Catalina Island, CA. You can use these illustrations to calculate the best seasons to book a room in Catalina Island for upcoming travels.
Luxury Hotel Options in Catalina Island, California
4 Star Average Prices: $171.88
All the hotels in Catalina Island offer the luxury that's associated with a picturesque beach destination, but one stands out above the rest for travelers who want that added touch of elegance. The Pavilion Hotel commands a prime location, just 14 steps from the beach. The morning begins with a complimentary hot breakfast, and the day comes to a close with a charming wine and cheese reception.
Whether you're reclining in a semi-private lanai, gathering around the fire pit with friends, or strolling the tropical gardens, you'll find the ambiance of this resort unparalleled on the island. Complimentary luggage service from the Avalon boat dock makes it easy to settle into your spot at this luxury hotel.
Guest rooms here feature plush down comforters and blackout curtains so it's easy to sink into a deep sleep. An iPod docking station, DVD player, LCD TV with cable channels, and complimentary Wi-Fi offer ample entertainment during your visit. With complimentary bottled water, you can always stay hydrated. An in-room refrigerator makes it easy to keep your own cold beverages handy as well.
Affordable Hotels in Catalina Island, California
3 Star Average Prices: $151.99
Catalina Island is often associated with tropical luxury, but you don't have to drain your travel budget to score a room here. There are several budget-friendly options that will give you a charming room and ample amenities.
One of the most affordable options on Catalina Island is Hotel Atwater. Getting settled at the hotel is easy thanks to complimentary luggage service from the ferry. Its 91 rooms offer ample entertainment with complimentary Wi-Fi, LCD televisions, and cable programming with HBO and Showtime. Divers are more than just welcomed at the Atwater – they're carefully catered to. There's a complimentary storage room on property for diving gear, and rinse-off outdoor showers make it easy to clean up before you head back to your room. This beachfront location is the perfect pick for a low-cost diving retreat.
Another affordable choice on the island is the Glenmore Plaza Hotel. This hotel offers several different room types to suit your needs. Standard rooms feature a flat screen television, seating area, and private bath. Upgrade to a deluxe room for a mini-refrigerator and microwave. Premium queen rooms have all these amenities plus a whirlpool tub in the bath.
If you want more space to stretch out, you'll find several distinctive suites available at the Glenmore Plaza Hotel. Named for famous faces of the past, accommodations like the Marilyn Monroe suite or Amelia Earhart Suite offer more spacious accommodations and distinguishing decorative perks. No matter where you're staying, you can enjoy a complimentary continental breakfast each morning, and a location that's just steps from the beach.
2 Star Average Prices: $155.60
Which Catalina Island hotels have real discounts?
Chain hotels are usually the best option for scoring a discount hotel room, but the hotels in Catalina Island are primarily stand-alone destinations. It's more difficult to get special rates at these locations, but you can often score a surprising discount by asking the right questions. For example, The Hotel Atwater offers discounts for military personnel, seniors, and groups.
For special packages, Catalina Canyon is the best choice. This hotel offers seasonal discounts that will reward you for making an advanced purchase. Hotel St. Lauren is another good option if you're looking for special packages to add some extra perks to your stay. This hotel offers special deals with seasonal perks like complimentary transportation.
Best Value Options in Catalina Island, California
For value hotels on Catalina Island, you have several options. It's surprisingly easy to find a reasonably priced room here with numerous amenities included to streamline your stay. Hotel St. Lauren is an affordable option with a stunning location. Situated on a quiet hillside, this hotel offers breathtaking views of the surrounding town and nearby coast.
The elegant guest rooms at Hotel St. Lauren feature Victorian-style décor for a timeless appeal. All rooms include private baths and plush towels. Select accommodations offer whirlpool tubs. Complimentary Wi-Fi is available to help you stay connected, while cable television offers plentiful entertainment. With complimentary morning coffee, you can enjoy a bright start to any day.
Catalina Canyon is a cozy retreat that's surprisingly affordable for its stellar service and smart amenities. Rooms feature complimentary Wi-Fi and more than 80 channels of cable programming for your entertainment and convenience. Microwaves and refrigerators in each room make it easy to stash snacks or even small meals. For extra space, you can book the Honeymoon Suite. These spacious accommodations include a dining room, living room, and kitchenette with a stove top as well as a private hot tub.
Catalina Canyon's on-site spa offers a full menu of massages, wraps, and specialized services like a lifestyle counseling and body assessment session. The hotel's sunning areas and heated outdoor pool offer additional opportunities to relax. If you prefer to unwind by working up a sweat, just head to the fitness center or check out the ping-pong table. On-site dining is available at the Seaport Bistro, offering coastal flavors inspired by Greece, Italy, Morocco, and the Mediterranean.
Getting Around Catalina Island, California
Reaching Catalina Island requires a bit of advanced planning. You must take an hour-long boat ride to reach the island. San Pedro, Long Beach, Newport Beach, and Dana Point all offer transportation to the Avalon side of the island. If you're headed to Two Harbors, you'll need to take a boat from San Pedro. Helicopter rides to Catalina Island are also available. These cut your transportation time down to about 15 minutes.
Most hotels offer complimentary shuttle service from the ports to your accommodations. Many provide free luggage service as well, so you don't have to worry about carting your belongings along as you head to your room. Avalon covers about one square mile and is extremely walkable. It's the only city in California where the state can regulate the size and number of vehicles that are permitted on the city streets, so you'll find little to no congestion if you need to hop on a taxi or bus.
The Garibaldi Bus offers service from the Avalon ferry landing to Casino Way and the Wrigley Memorial and Botanical Garden for just $1 per ride. If you're headed from Avalon across to Two Harbors, you can use the Safari Bus. This extensive trip has a $57 fare. A free shuttle runs seasonally from Avalon to Descanso Beach.
If you're looking for a peaceful island getaway in California, you can't do any better than the charming Catalina Island.
'Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius - Marilyn Monroe, who lived on this island for some time, once said.
This rocky island off the coast of California has some breathtaking scenery. It attracts many tourists every year and with the wide range of activities on offer it's not hard to see why. The surrounding waters offer much for visitors to do, there are glass bottom boat tours available and much sea-life to view for scuba divers and snorkelers. The Catalina Island Museum is great for those who want to learn more about the island's heritage. There are a few resort villages offering a variety of hotels in Santa Catalina, but it is a little harder to find cheap hotels on this island.
Affordable Inns and Hotels
Many of the hotels in Santa Catalina are located in Avalon. Hotel Atwater offers basic and uncomplicated rooms for those on a budget, and is one of the few cheap hotels available. The straightforward rooms are equipped with air conditioning and wifi, some rooms also come with views over the harbour. It's just a two minute walk from the pier. Catalina Island Inn Hotel offers the feeling of an inn, with the service of a hotel. Rooms also have fantastic harbour views, and this hotel is located close to many of the sights and attractions this island has to offer.
There really is no shortage of luxury hotels in Santa Catalina. Snug Harbor Inn offers cosy rooms with stunning views of either the sea or the mountains. There are six rooms to choose from and they are decorated in a Cape Cod theme. Free breakfast is also provided when staying here. Hotel Vista Del Mar is one of the most popular Santa Catalina hotels. It has fantastic amenities throughout the hotel and prides itself on delivering amazing service. It is decorated in a Mediterranean style and is an ideal location for those looking to make the most of their stay on the island. Rooms come with ocean views, jacuzzi tubs and wifi. The lobby area offers great views of Avalon Bay. The Inn on Mt. Ada is an upscale luxury bed and breakfast in the only city on Catalina Island, Avalon. It's on the small side with only six rooms, all of which are unique, offering beautiful harbour views which can be enjoyed from the balconies. There is a large decking area where guest can relax and enjoy breakfast.
The Avalon Hotel has a beautiful exterior which is very eye-catching. It's a three storey boutique hotel perched on a small hill offering character and charm. Breakfast is served in the morning and included in the cost of a room, there are also refreshments served in the afternoon. Even better is the rooftop deck offering stunning views of the surrounds. The Edgewater is another one of the boutique Santa Catalina hotels, and is on the oceanfront overlooking Avalon Bay. It offers basic rooms with a complimentary breakfast included. It's located not far from the ferry terminal There is also the added bonus of a kitchen for guests to use.