Santa Catalina Island is part of the Channel Islands archipelago in the Pacific Ocean, just off the southern coast of California. This popular tourist destination attracts more than one million tourists each year. From fine sands to secluded beaches, discover Santa Catalina Island from Los Angeles!

travel guide Santa Catalina Island

How to get there from Los Angeles?

Santa Catalina Island is located about 75 km from Los Angeles. To get there, you can find many private companies that allow you to make this journey by air, either by helicopter or private plane. It is a way to approach this island by the air, and to be able to enjoy the sumptuous landscapes.

However, the air route is not the easiest way to get there because it can cost up to $250 per person for a round trip, to check rates and schedules visit


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You can also reach the island of Santa Catalina by ferry. This is the means of transportation that I recommend to you, because the crossing, which lasts about 1 hour and 45 minutes, is particularly pleasant! The Catalina Express is the only ferry line that currently operates in the Los Angeles area. And, it takes approximately 1 hour by boat to get to Santa Catalina Island from L.A.

The Catalina Express consists of 8 different boats that make the round trip several times a day, every day. Connecting San Pedro or Long Beach to one of the city’s two ports, it’s the most flexible solution and offers you a peaceful moment on the ocean.

What to do there?

The beaches of Santa Catalina Island

The beaches of Santa Catalina Island are among the most beautiful in the world. The island has a beautiful sandy coastline and offers clear blue water, which makes you want to never leave! The 2 most touristic beaches of the island are Moon Stone Beach and Empire Landing.

Moonstone Beach is a beautiful beach located on the east coast of the island. The sand is white and powdery. The water temperature is pleasant enough, and the waves shallow enough, that schools of small fish come to visit you, close to the shore. This makes it an ideal place to spend a nice family day.

Empire Landing is one of the few beaches in the world that has not been touched by man. Located in a remote part of Santa Catalina Island, its access is more adventurous. The beach extends from the base of Catalina Island to the north. This beach is popular for its calm waters, ideal for swimming and snorkeling.

travel guide Santa Catalina Island

Latin flavors on Santa Catalina Island

On Santa Catalina Island, you can taste the best specialties of the southern region of America! All the Latin flavors can be found on the plates of the many restaurants on the island.

During your stay, discover the splendor of Latin cuisine. Whether it’s in a nice restaurant on the terrace to enjoy the tropical atmosphere of your stay, or in a refined place that transports you in a colorful and festive decor. You can also enjoy in more modest places with, on the menu: a buffet of fish and seafood barbecue, accompanied by specialties with very Latin inspirations.

Bars and cafes on Santa Catalina Island

Many bars and cafes on Santa Catalina Island liven up the nightlife and daylife: the Descanso Beach Club is located near Hamilton Beach, or Café Metropole. You also have the Marlin Club, located on the edge of Avalon Bay, where you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the ocean while you drink a small coffee or a local cocktail. I also recommend Luau Larry’s, a friendly restaurant-bar.

Museums to visit in Santa Catalina Island

Santa Catalina Island is a magical place to live! On the island, you will find several museums to visit. Most of them describe the origins of the Tongva people and the pioneers who came to settle on the island over 160 years ago. These museums also give the opportunity to discover the different animals that inhabit the island, such as turtles, sea wolves, seals, and many others. This place is a real paradise for anyone who loves nature!

The island offers several renowned museums, such as the Navy Museum, the Pioneer Museum and the Art Museum. If you are fond of cultural visits, don’t miss to discover one of these museums! But also, the Catalina Island Science Museum is a small museum that houses very few treasures, but that I still recommend you to visit, especially if you are a history or archaeology lover. It is located in the big city of Avalon.

Where to sleep on site?

Spend a few magical days in a unique accommodation on Santa Catalina Island. Book your stay at The Avalon Hotel for an unforgettable experience! You’ll discover breathtaking views of the city’s harbor.

The second hotel I would suggest is the Pavilion Hotel in Avalon. This is a luxury hotel with a history dating back to the 1920s. The architectural ensemble that makes up the establishment is a combination of Italian, Spanish and modern Southern California styles. The building was restored in 1985 by interior designer André Eggert. The renovation was done in keeping with its original hacienda style. Today, it is part of the Four Seasons Hotels group, I already published a review about the Four Seasons Bahamas !

Book your hotel in Catalina IslandClick here to see best offers !

Bottom line

Santa Catalina Island, which is located in the Gulf of California, is an island full of natural areas and outdoor activities. It covers 194 km² and has about 3800 inhabitants. In addition to its fine sandy beaches, it is also well known for its nightlife and parties. And, with a reservation at one of the best hotels on the island, your stay off the coast of Los Angeles can turn into a true bubble of heavenly happiness!

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