top of page

The Ultimate Guide to a Catalina Island Trip: Things to Do, Eat + Stay

This was my first time visiting Catalina Island and let me tell you, it's one of my favorite spots ever.

Only about 20 miles off the coast of Los Angeles, Catalina Island is the perfect spot for a quick trip to get away from Southern California for stunning views, adventures, and relaxation with your family or friends. Right after stepping foot on the island, I felt like I was in France or Italy and not the West Coast. The island is full of history and where Hollywood's biggest stars would come in the 1920's to let loose and getaway from SoCal. Stars including Marilyn Monroe and Ronald Reagan once called Catalina Island Home!

After almost four years living in Los Angeles...I FINALLY got to experience the beautiful island of Catalina. So whether you’re planning a trip to California, or live in Southern California, Catalina is now one of my favorite places to vacation to.


We took the Catalina Express Ferry from Long Beach to Avalon Harbor. You can also catch a ferry from Dana Point or San Pedro. The fare runs around $75 per adult, round trip. The ride is very smooth and takes about 1 hour long. I recommend getting there early if you want a seat on the top deck!

You can also take a helicopter to the island if you are wanting to splurge a bit!


Since this was our first trip to Catalina Island, we wanted to explore two different hotels during our stay.

We first stayed at the newly renovated Bellanca Hotel, which had just reopened in July. The Bellanca Hotel is steps away from the harbor and located in the heart of Avalon. You are walking distance to all activities, beach and restaurants. The hotel also has a cute rooftop lounge with panoramic views of the island. The hotel staff was very accommodating and friendly throughout our entire stay. The rooms were spacious, modern, and very comfortable bed! We were provided with beach towels, chairs, and bikes to explore the island on.

The second night we stayed at The Hotel Atwater.

*Both hotels allowed us to check in early which is KEY if you are just arriving to the island and wanting to get settled into your room. The hotels also held our bags for us before our room was ready and after we checked out before we caught our ferry ride home.*

WHAT TO DO ON CATALINA ISLAND, find a complete list here

  • Rent Kayaks

  • Rent Golf Carts

  • Rent Bikes

  • Boat Rental

  • Glass Bottom Boat Tour

  • Boat Fishing Tours

  • Rent Snorkeling or Scuba Diving Gear

  • Catalina Island Golf Course

  • Zip Lining

  • Aerial Adventure

  • Parasail

  • Paddle Board Rentals

  • Bike Rentals

  • Jet Ski Rentals

  • Helicopter Tours

  • Jeep Tours

Tours that are closed during Covid:

- The Casino Tour, info here

- Twilight at the Casino, info here



This is the spot for breakfast or for a sweet treat. We stopped by here before our tours and enjoyed coffee, a strawberry smoothie, and a delicious build your own egg sandwich. They are only open until 12 pm, so get there early if you want to go!


The Bluewater Avalon was our first stop after the ferry for a lunch right on the water. It is one of the main seafood restaurants on the island and located in a building perched over Avalon Harbor. I got an amazing lobster roll and my boyfriend got the brick chicken. We split the baked crab dip for an appetizer! He also got an oyster shooter...I couldn't bring myself to try one lol!


This was both my boyfriend and I's favorite restaurant we went to on the island. The food was PHENMONMIAL. We got the Frito Misto, Ahi Poke Nachos, and Bella Chop Salad. Not only does The Naughty Fox have great food, but we loved our drinks. My boyfriend got the spicy manga drink (VERY SPICY) and I got the Strawberry Vodka one, which sounded weird but was super tasty.


We actually went here twice! On the way to our ferry to go home we stopped for a quick slice of pizza at the location on Summer Ave. We went to the sit-down location by the water for dinner the night before. I got a calamari steak and my boyfriend got the regular steak. I wanted to try something different and glad I did!


The Descanso Beach Club has the only beach-side dining in Catalina. This trendy and fun spot was the perfect location to relax and enjoy tasty food with gorgeous views. I was a big fan of my nachos and our street tacos we ordered. I recommend trying the dragon berry mojito!


YUMMM! We split homemade ice cream and crepes from the famous Scoops in Catalina. Scoops makes everything from scratch and has several different flavors to try. There was always a line out the door every time we passed by the restaurant.

What are your favorite things to do on Catalina Island? Tell me in the comments!

All opinions are my own. Sponsored posts enable me to create more quality content for you and I never endorse or support a company or product I don't truly believe in.


bottom of page