Things to do in Catalina Island – California

Catalina Island is an island about one hour off the coast of California south west of Los Angeles.

The main things to do in Catalina Island include:

  • take an ocean tour and see dolphins, sea lions and other aquatic life
  • try zip lining for those adventurers who like heights
  • check out the historic Catalina Island Casino
  • Catalina Island Museum has great historic and art exhibitions
  • bush walk the trans-Catalina trail

Must do Activity

Zip-lining is the top-rated adventure in Catalina Island. It’s a great, fun filled activity and a great adrenaline rush. You will board a shuttle that goes up to 600 feet. On the shuttle you get great views of the Descanso Beach Club and the amazing ocean.

The shuttles go at a speed of 35mph in a zigzag manner and go through a grove of eucalyptus trees. The professional guides will give insights on flora and fauna on the island. The trip ends in Descanso Beach Club where you’ll get to interact with family and friends as you take a sumptuous meal in this renowned restaurant.

What do I like Most about Catalina Island?

I like the diversity of the animal species of Catalina Island. The island is one of the Channel Islands. The island has well preserved flora and fauna.

Catalina is considered the best island to visit for it’s natural wonders due to it’s high biodiversity.

The island home to many endangered species such as Santa Catalina fox, Baja California tree frog, arboreal salamander, and San Diego alligator lizard.

The wildlife also includes eight types of reptiles and four types of amphibians. The black-buck antelope and the American bison were also introduced due to the human population on the island. Self-guides in the trails give exciting facts about the nature of the island as you travel.

Catalina Island is a charming and adventurous place. It is located south of California Coast. Some of the activities in Catalina Island include Avalon on the historic Avalon scenic Drive, the fantastic land tours, ocean tours including glass boat voyage, and many other amazing adventures.

Best Walk in Catalina Island

The Trans- Catalina trail is the best walking adventure on this island. There are single-track trails and other roads that form the 38.5-mile trail. Along the trail, there are five campgrounds if you wish to walk the entire trail and camp along the way.

The trail meanders through the hilly terrain between two harbors and the Avalon. You should have a plan of hiking along the trail. The tour is best done when the sea breezes complement the cool temperature in places that lack shade along the path. To navigate through the trails, you will need trekking poles and hiking boots. Trans-Catalina Trail has a lot of awesome scenery and great views that will give you unforgettable memories


Catalina Island has great restaurants that offer a variety of cuisines from different communities all over the world. Travel to Catalina and enjoy the delicious meal of spiny lobsters, sea bass, halibut swordfish, and sand dabs.

This is a unique way to experience Catalina Island. Some of the restaurants, such as Descanso Beach Club, are located on the coastline, and you can enjoy the amazing meals while having a look at the beach. You also have a choice of having outdoor events, special day, or other occasions, which will be attended to by a team of professional chefs.

The restaurants offer unique menus made from freshly and naturally collected ingredients. Catalina Island also offers beachfront picnics in Avalon and the Two Harbors. Rent occasion venues such as the Catalina Casino or the Catalina Country Club based on your needs.

Best Music Festival

Catalina Island has some of the most amazing music festivals in the world, and JazzTrax is one of them. JazzTrax Festival is held on every October. The festival has been carried out for more than thirty years and runs for a span of two weekends.

It is a worldwide festival and includes jazz musicians who travel from all over the globe. Tickets are always on demand, and people get to enjoy performances from their loved artists. The venues for the festival are at Descanso Beach, Casino Ballroom, and other jam sessions at local clubs. The headliners include Marc Antoine, Incognito, The summit, and Marcus Anderson.

Best Nightlife  

Enjoy a great night in Catalina Island at Avalon, which has a festive bar site with karaoke, pub grub and live music. The festive bar has classic dive bars, legendary water holes, lively tiki bars, and other sandy beach side bars.

Catalina’s nightlife is quiet due to the small population. There are local cultural events and people socialize in bars and restaurants. Catalina Island also hosts the Chi-Chi nightclub, which features live entertainment and a DJ. It has a VIP room and an open dance floor.

On the island, casinos are mainly for gatherings and not for gambling. The casino hosts a movie theater and a large ballroom and is the island’s main cultural Center.

You can engage in interesting activities during the night, such as having a ghost tour. You need to make a reservation with The Original Ghost Tours of Catalina. Bring your camera and enjoy some beautiful shots on the tour.

Best Day Trip Out of the City

Snorkeling is one of the activities that must feature in your bucket list. Snorkeling in the clear waters of Catalina is breathtaking. Take some time from the island activities, and enjoy your day in the cool waters. While engaging in this adventure, there are hundreds of different fish swimming around you, and this makes it even more exciting. Snorkeling is truly a mind-blowing Activity.

Something That not Many Travelers Would know about Catalina Island

Many people don’t know that buffalo milk is the official drink in Catalina. Catalina Island is home to the American buffalo also known as the bison.

In the 1920’s 12 bison were sent to Catalina Island for the filming of a movie. After the movie finished, the buffalo stayed and multiplied.

Dairies were later established on the island to process the milk. We are now able to enjoy the sweet Buffalo Milk. This milk is wonderful and creamy, and the best place for having it is at the beach.

The milk is loved by locals and you will find it in many restaurants in Catalina.

It’s often served with ice and other toppings such as a slice of banana and whip cream. Some of the venues offering this great drink include Avalon Grille, Harbor Sands, Harbor Reef Restaurants, Saloon, and Descanso Beach Club.