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: $217.69
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: $147.00
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: $123.78
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.