Just 26 miles across the sea from L.A. is where you find a tropical island paradise just waiting to be discovered. If you’ve ever listened to “26 Miles” by the Four Peps you may know what island we’re talking about, the magnificent Catalina Island.
A beloved resort island for many Angelenos and visitors alike, the town of Avalon and Catalina Island have everything you could possibly be looking for? Looking to spend the night on a beach resort on a Pacific Island? How about trying out the great scuba diving while searching for the iconic orange Garibaldi? How does an inland safari trip sound, with possibilities of various wildlife sightings, including the island buffalo, bald eagles, and if you’re lucky, even the threatened endemic Catalina Island Fox, which is found nowhere else on Earth.
Besides all the great adventures where you get the opportunity to explore the island’s nature and wildlife, the town of Avalon is home to many top-rated restaurants, bars, cafes, neighborhood stores, and more. A visit to Catalina is never complete without a bike rental to explore Avalon and surrounding areas by bike or even golf cart.
From beaching, going on a submarine trip, helicopter fights, skydiving, shopping, and much more, Catalina is definitely the California Channel Island that has it all. While many visit the island from cruise ships docking here on their way to Mexico, the island is easiest visited by one of the many ferries leaving from San Pedro, Long Beach, Dana Point, and elsewhere. Another trending activity has been to fly out to the island’s Airport-in-the-Sky from local airports such as the Camarillo Airport.
Great Dining & Drinking
Considering the island’s small population, Catalina is home to an array of great restaurants. Whether you are into seafood, Mexican, French, or Italian food, there’s always an option in Avalon. For the LA- and Malibu limousine clientele looking for a romantic dining experience, we often recommend the Landing Bar and Grill, or Steve’s Steakhouse.
The Spanish architecture and great Mexican food make the Landing Bar and Grill a great place to dine. This kind of secluded restaurant overlooks Avalon Bay and may be the island’s most romantic restaurant. Steve’s Steakhouse is located upstairs away from the promenade, but also overlooking the bay. Here you can try out the signature Catalina Swordfish, the Catalina Shrimp, or their awesome slowly cooked BBQ ribs. The stunning ocean views make for a romantic night at Steve’s Steakhouse.
Looking for another Catalina special? Check out the Catalina Buffalo Burger at Eric’s on the Pier. Located on the Green Pier, Eric’s has been an LA and LAX sedan service favorite since the early 1920s. Searching for great Avalon seafood? There are many good picks, but we would like to recommend either the Lobster Trap or Bluewater Avalon for seafood. Both restaurants have the catch of the day and a great variety of seafood dishes. The patio at Bluewater Avalon overlooks the Avalon Harbor and the place is also known for its impressive cocktails and craft beer menu.
Many heads to the Lobster Trap for great lobster, draft beer, and live entertainment during weekends. Wanna dine by maybe the most gorgeous island beach? Descanso Beach Club is not just situated on its own beach but has a bigger menu offering everything from burgers to salads, and seafood. Make sure to try the iconic Buffalo Milk for the island’s signature cocktail.
For the finest island dining, head to the spectacular Catalina Country Club. Once a training clubhouse for the Chicago Cubs, this historic 1921 piece of art is a great pick for people looking for a nice meal or drink. Looking for a less expensive dining choice? The Casino Dock Cafe is a cheap pick, but has beautiful views of the Pacific and offers live music during the summer months.
Didn’t make it on a Santa Barbara wine tour? Let’s head to CC Galagher on the Taste of Catalina Food Tours. More into a beer crawl with friends? Try out the locally brewed craft beers at the Catalina Island Brew House. Other bar picks include the Chi Chi Club, Catalina’s only nightclub, and the Hawaiian-style Luau Larry’s on the promenade. The oldest bar is the Marlin Club, a favorite amongst locals, as well as the J.L.’s Locker Room.
Looking to eat and have drinks at the same place? The Avalon Grille offers great burgers and beer. Another choice could be the Sandtrap, directly across the street from the Island Golf Course a little bit inland in Avalon. Here you can enjoy inexpensive but delicious Mexican cuisine in a relaxed atmosphere and best of all, the Sandtrap has a full bar. Alternatively, head to the Catalina Country Club for a late-night drink or try out the various cocktails at Bluewater Avalon or Descanso Beach Club.
Fun Excursions & Activities
Because of its many visitors and tourists, there is always an activity to sign up for on the island. Whether you are into seeing wildlife, exploring the island, going on a submarine ride, or signing up for a helicopter tour – the options are truly endless on Catalina.
Does golfing in a gorgeous island canyon sound interesting? How about bodysurfing in the Pacific on your own secluded beach? Or how about finally trying out jet-skiing? The primary form of transportation on the island is golf carts with a limited number of cars allowed on the island itself. In other words, there is no Los Angeles party bus that can be called for a night of barhopping. But renting an electric bike, paddling bike for two, or an iconic golf cart are definitely the best ways to explore the town of Avalon and beyond.
Among the activities we often recommend are the Cape Canyon excursion, a four-wheel ride through Catalina’s outback wilderness areas, and the Undersea Tour in the Avalon Harbor to see the native underwater ocean life. The Zip Line Eco Tour, which takes you on a zip-line ride over Descanso Canyon and lands by Descanso Beach is also a popular activity. The night ride on the Flying Fish Boat Trip is a unique experience worth looking into. The Behind the Scenes Tour at the island’s signature Casino is a must-see, and the tour also includes visits to the Catalina Island Museum where you can learn more about the island’s intriguing history.
Wanna try out scuba diving? Check out the Sea Trek Undersea Adventure and Snuba. We’ve also transferred numerous LA limo renters who take their professional scuba diving courses on the other side of the island – in the community of Two Harbors, CA. While Two Harbors definitely is more remote than its much bigger counterpart to the east, Two Harbors has a natural feel to it and you’ll have a bigger chance of observing unique wildlife and exploring the great outdoors.
For dining in Two Harbors, look into the Harbor Reef Restaurant. For accommodation, check out the Banning House Lodge or one of the beach cottages for rent! There are also various options for cabin rentals and various campground spots.
While back in Avalon, remember to always obtain a complimentary explorer’s permit and up-to-date maps and information about local wildlife. Permits for hiking and biking in the outback are handed out at the Conservancy Office on Clarissa Avenue. After the permits are in place, venture out for an adventure in Catalina’s outback! Go snorkeling by the island’s greatest snorkeling spots – the Lover’s Cove Marine Preserve or Casino Point Marine Park. Snorkeling gear can be bought at Catalina Divers Supply, rented at Catalina Snorkeling Adventures, or you can venture out on the ocean on a snorkeling trip with Joe’s Rent-a-Boat at the Green Pier. For snorkeling gear on the other side of the island, check out the West End Dive Center in Two Harbors, which also offers kayak rentals.
We’ve had so many LA and Malibu limousine people riding with us telling us about their best experiences on the island. From date massages at the Avalon Massage Therapy to going on an adventure with the Safari Bus looking for animals. Some of the best dates are on our Santa Barbara and Malibu wine tours, so why not try out some unique wine-tasting on the island? Rusack Family’s Santa Catalina Island Vineyards isn’t just gorgeous, but their wine varietals are amazing. Catalina is packed with activities for the whole family. Start planning your island excursions today!
Unmatched Nature & Accommodation
With more than 88 percent of the island’s total area being administrated by the Catalina Island Conservancy, there is a lot of nature to explore on Santa Catalina. Many renting LA limo transfers from us have told us about sighting the endemic Channel Island Fox, a species found nowhere else on the planet.
Other animals include the Island buffalo, bald eagles, snakes, a variety of birds, and more. On the submarine tour, you can explore the surrounding oceans and also get a glimpse of the iconic orange Garibaldi fish.
Did you know there are over 140 species of fauna and flora here found nowhere else on Earth? Whether you rent a bike to explore the outback by yourself, or if you decide on a safari tour or maybe an inland Jeep ride, exploring Catalina’s nature is a must. We recently asked a few people calling the LAX sedan service wanting a ride to the Catalina Express terminal in San Pedro: “Why straight from the airport? Any events coming up?”. The answer was: “No special events, just looking forward to some relaxing days of fishing and enjoying the weather!” A tour of the Wrigley Memorial & Botanic Garden is a must-do activity while on Catalina.
While many travel to Catalina just for the day, staying overnight in one of the uniquely Avalon hotels are absolutely worth it, plus you’ll get to experience the island’s sunsets, nightly activities, and events, as well as the gorgeous sunrise and early mornings.
We have several recommendations for accommodation on the island. If you’d like to stay close to the ocean, look into Hotel Vista del Mar right by the beach. How about a romantic location by the pier? Check out the Hotel Villa Portofino. Prefer ocean-views? Hotel Vista Del Mar might be the hotel for you. Other great options include Aurora Hotel, Hermosa Hotel, Hotel Metropole, and Hotel Avalon. Wanna stay in William Wrighley’s (former owner of the island) former vacation home with gorgeous views of Avalon? The Inn on Mt. Ada might just be the most beautiful hotel on the island.
As an alternative to a Santa Barbara wine tour, go wine-tasting at some of the beautiful hotels with balcony views of Avalon sunsets and the Pacific Ocean. For inexpensive options of accommodation, see Hotel Catalina, Zane Grey, or one of the many great campgrounds, e.g. the Hermit Gulch Campground.
Are you looking for a romantic island getaway to the Island of Romance with your significant other? Or are you looking for a fun excursion for the whole family? Or maybe a few days to the island with friends to explore the various bars and drinking venues? Catalina has it all. Not going to Catalina? Check out our exclusive Malibu wine tours or our beer crawl options in Hollywood. We have a vehicle to fit every need for transportation – whether you need a Los Angeles party bus for twenty friends, or you need a simple sedan for yourself to get to/from the airport.
From sedans, SUVs, stretch limousines, Hummer limos, and party buses, we have Southern California’s largest selection of luxurious vehicles and also offer an exclusive price-match-guarantee for all our new and returning clients. For your transportation to Catalina Island, contact the ferry companies (Catalina Express or Catalina Flyer), or the Island Express Helicopter Service for a helicopter ride to the Airport-in-the-Sky.