Catalina Island offers a wide range of resort activities, water sports, and adventure. The island is part of the Channel Islands archipelago and is so close that it is visible from the mainland on a clear day. It's easier to get to than other island destinations, making it the perfect weekend getaway for Southern California!
Here are the top 5 things to do on Catalina:
We ride (FREE on your Birthday!) with Catalina Express which offers a comfortable and smooth ride from Dana Point and many other ports. Best of all, it only takes about an hour to get there. Make sure to bring your waterproof camera and device charger during the trip, as there are frequent dolphin sightings.
Once on the island, there are a variety of activities including scuba diving, parasailing, boating, kayaking, biking, historical tours, as well as sun and fun. Catalina has many historical buildings including the iconic Casino built in 1929, the Tuna Club, and the Wrigley mansion and gardens. The interior of the island is mostly undeveloped and there are even bison!
The Casino was built in 1929 and serves as an entertainment center. The bottom level has a theater and the upper level as dance performances and other events. During our visit, there was a 1920's Art Deco Ball.
2. Water Sports
Catalina Harbor features numerous water sports, from scuba diving, glass bottom boats, kayaking, paddle boarding, flyboarding (yes, you can fly over the ocean), parasailing, - you name it.
3. Catalina Museum
There is one major museum on the island and during our visit, there was a Chihuly exhibit where featured many of his unique and colorful glass works. Chihuly is famous for glass ceiling in the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas. The museum is $17 for adults, and $15 for senior and it closes at 5pm.
4. Wrigley Botanical Garden
Catalina was historically owned by William Wrigley of chewing gum fame and there are a number of monuments on the island from this time period. There is the Wrigley Garden which contains botanical and desert plants, as well as a large archway lookout point. There is also the Wrigley estate which is a local landmark and has been converted into a bed and breakfast.
5. Catalina Buffalo
Catalina is famous for being a place where you can see buffalo. The buffalo are not native to the island, rather they were brought here for a 1920s silent film and their population grew. There is a tour of the interior of the island where you can see the buffalo in the wild.
We hope that you get a chance to visit Catalina Island soon. Be sure to check the Catalina Island events listings before you visit, as there are many weekend activities. Enjoy!
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We are two adventurous young professionals who turned our passion for travel into a blog to help others travel more.