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Plan your perfect Catalina Island vacation

Updated: Apr 12, 2020

Catalina Island is about a 1 hour and 15 minute boat ride on the Catalina Express, or a 15 minute helicopter ride exclusively at IEX Helicopters. A little over 20 miles from the nation’s second largest metropolitan region lies beautiful Santa Catalina Island. Many people visit for a day but the island offers a plethora of activities to keep one occupied for much longer. Avalon is the largest town on the island with about 5,000 full time residents. In contrast, the only other town is Two Harbors with about 300 people. The rest of the island is under the care of the Santa Catalina Conservancy – which preserves about 88% of the island in its natural state.

The harbor of Avalon is central – shops, food and hotels are located along here. There are also hiking trails, mountain biking trails, golfing, and of course scuba diving and snorkeling. The Casino Point Dive Park is the premier diving destination in Avalon for day trippers, over night guest, and locals. Catalina scuba diving is ranked top 10 in the world. The captivating giant kelp forests will leave you speechless and wanting more.

Avalon is very picturesque with small colorful homes set behind the main waterfront. The famous casino is not actually a casino – but a historic ballroom and theater. The water is beautiful on the sunny days – blues and greens – with a diversity of marine life just below the surface. The bright orange state fish, the garibaldi, will surely make an appearance whether you're out of, on or under the beautiful waters of the island.

Choose from a variety of activities ranging from relaxing, sunbathing, swimming, zip lining, miniature golf, adventure tours, helicopter tours, diving, snorkeling, yellow submarine tours, paragliding, fishing and hiking among others. Catalina is also home to a number of wildlife including the endemic cute little island fox, bald eagles and bison which roam much of the island – now numbering about 150 animals – since 14 were originally left on the island after a film shoot.

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