Hotels in Catalina Island, California

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Catalina Island Hotels

The unspoiled mountain areas of Catalina Island are just a short boat ride from Los Angeles, across the sparkling Atlantic Ocean, but it couldn’t feel further from the big city. Arriving in the port, you’ll notice small quaint houses and hotels perched unassumingly on the mountains, with lush greenery covering the rugged coastlines. In Avalon, the main resort, you can enjoy sandy beaches and bright blue seas, with bars and restaurants looking out over the water.

Things to see

For many visitors, Avalon Port is the first they see of the island, with the view of tree covered mountains, with white houses with red roofs dotted down the side. Reaching out towards the sea is Avalon Pier, often with fishermen sat waiting for a bite, and glass bottom boats leaving from the bay, allowing an incomparable view of the sea life. From the sandy shores of Descanso Beach you can lie under a palm tree and look out at the clear blue seas. You can also take a kayak out to sea, allowing you to see the island from a new perspective. The Catalina Casino doesn’t offer gambling, rather it’s a meeting place for people with a theater and ballroom, with events from swing dancing, to weddings, and local theater productions. The building is distinctive in the area for being round and flanked by columns, with huge windows letting in the light. The building also hosts the Catalina Island Museum where you’ll find exhibits about various eras in the island’s history, as well as work from local artists.

Hotels in Catalina Island

Most hotels are in the Avalon area, with easy access to the port and great views of the sandy beaches. Facilities often include heated outdoor pools, gardens, spas, and easy beach access. Guestrooms will also have extras such as balconies or patios, hot tubs, flat screen televisions, mini-fridges, and WiFi. Many hotels also offer suites, some with views of the ocean, and extras that include bathrobes, separate living areas, and oversized tubs.

Where to stay

Avalon is the only city on Catalina Island, and the streets gently slope down to Avalon Port. There you will find plenty of boutique stores and restaurants overlooking the calm waters. Diving or snorkeling off the coast allows you to enjoy the coral reefs up close, with colorful, playful fish hiding around every corner. At night, the area is lit up, giving it a warm glow, and people sit outside restaurants enjoying a glass of wine while watching boats bob in the distance. The village of Two Harbors has a rockier shoreline, and with just a few facilities such as a snack bar, restaurant, and bar, it feels much more remote than Avalon, with buses running between the 2 areas on a regular basis.

How to get to Catalina Island

Catalina Airport allows small aircraft to land, and there are private services that can fly you to the island. From the airport atop the mountains, you can then catch one of the regular shuttle buses to Avalon or Two Harbors. There’s an express helicopter service that runs from Long Beach or San Pedro, getting you to the island in less than 15 minutes. However, if you’re not in a hurry, then getting the boat can be the most comfortable option, with services departing from San Pedro, Long Beach, and Dana Point taking between 60 to 90 minutes.

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