Visiting Catalina Island by Air or Sea
Island travel is always different than what you might expect from normal California travel. There is no bridge, and you can’t bring your own car to the island—though it’s only a few miles out of your way. Catalina Island is within easy reach of Southern California. For starters, focus on the two main attractions here: Avalon and Two Harbors. Regardless of your method of transportation, it is important to make reservations.
Travelers who are in a hurry can fly to and from the island. There is a helicopter port that meets with Pebbly Beach, and also charter flights to the “Airport in the Sky.” Otherwise, your method of transportation will be boat lines. Boat lines depart from major island locations like Newport Beach, Long Beach and San Pedro. Companies like Super Shuttle and Super Express can help you travel from the mainland.
Travel by plane, helicopter or ferry to beautiful Catalina Island
Let’s review the departure points to the island. First, we have the Air Sea Terminal. This terminal goes from San Pedro to Avalon. Second, there is the Catalina Terminal, which goes from Long Beach to Avalon and to the Two Harbors. Third, there is helicopter service operating from Long Beach to Avalon. Fourth, there is the Newport Boat Terminal, which goes from Newport to Avalon. Fifth, there is the John Wayne Airport, which goes from Orange County to Avalon. Sixth, there is the Long Beach Municipal Airport Charter Service, which goes from Long Beach to Avalon.
There are a few transportation companies to consult. Catalina Express Boats (and ferries) are popular choices and take about one hour. Their seats are airline-quality and they provide drinks and snacks. The Express operates from Long Beach and San Pedro. The Catalina Cruises line takes about two hours, though it offers wine and a number of water sport activities in packages. It operates coming out of Long Beach. The Catalina Passenger Service departs from Newport and offers full service cocktail lounges and a sundeck. It takes about 75 minutes.
Island Express Helicopter Service offers flights coming from Long Beach, as well as San Pedro. They also provide a courtesy van service and free parking for your vehicle in the mainland. Island Hopper/Catalina Airlines are a smaller service that departs from San Diego (Montgomery Field).
Naturally, Avalon is the main entry point of the island, though a few services go directly to Two Harbors. Moorings around the island include Little Harbor, Catalina Harbor, Parson’s Landing, Emerald Bay, Howlands and Fourth of July. There are also numerous coves around the region, such as Big Geiger, Cherry, Big Fisherman’s and Ripper’s.
Imagine taking a beautiful and exotic island vacation but without being but half a day away from home! You don’t even have to fly if you are afraid of planes. This is one of the easiest vacations to take, but it’s far from ordinary.