Catalina Island, located off the coast of Southern California near San Diego, is a popular destination for boaters. With its secluded anchorages, welcoming marinas, and opportunities to encounter local wildlife, it's no wonder that Catalina is a cherished destination for boating enthusiasts. Located approximately 87 miles from San Diego, California, boaters can make the journey to the island in about one hour.

The Island is a popular boating destination for a reason. It offers stunning scenery, a mild climate, and a variety of activities to enjoy. Whether you're looking to relax on a secluded beach, anchor in a picturesque cove, or explore the island's charming towns, Catalina Island has something for everyone. If you're planning a boating trip to Southern California, be sure to add Catalina Island to your itinerary. You won't be disappointed!

Catalina Island Activities

Catalina Island remains a popular year-round destination, with the most favorable weather for boating being in spring and fall when conditions are calm. Summer is also a great time to explore the island by boat, though it's worth noting that during this season, occasional overcast skies and afternoon rain showers are possible.

Catalina Island’s Harbor Department only allows anchoring 100 yards outside the island’s mooring area and only for less than 14 days, but there are many beautiful spots to anchor around the island.

One of the top places to anchor your boat is just north of Pin Rock, near Cato Harbor. This area is very shallow, so be careful depending upon the tide and the size of your boat. Other notable areas include Emerald Bay, known for its stunning coastline views and popular for swimming, sunbathing, and fishing. Howland's Landing on the east side of the island is a great spot for overnight anchoring. Lastly, Little Geiger Cove on the west side of the island is perfect for day anchoring.

The island is teeming with a diverse range of fish species: bass, halibut, yellowtail, and tuna. Whether you prefer shore or offshore fishing, just remember to obtain a fishing license. You can conveniently purchase it online or at most sporting goods stores.

Exploring Catalina Island

There are plenty of activities to do onshore at Catalina Island. Hiking enthusiasts can enjoy a variety of trails, ranging from easy to challenging. Notable trails include the Trans-Catalina Trail, spanning the length of the island, and the Chimes Tower Trail, boasting breathtaking coastal vistas. Catalina Island is home to numerous restaurants, each offering a diverse range of cuisines. Among the popular dining establishments, the Bluewater Grill stands out with its delightful seafood options, particularly their Clam Chowder. Another must-try spot is the Descanso Beach Club, where you can savor coconut shrimp and tacos while enjoying the beach ambiance. Finally, the Avalon Grille serves a delicious buffalo burger that is sure to satisfy your appetite.

There are several museums and historical sites, such as the Catalina Island Museum, the Chimes Tower, and the Wrigley Memorial & Botanic Garden. The island also hosts exciting events year-round, including the Catalina Island JazzTrax Festival, the Catalina Island Film Festival, and the Catalina Island Christmas Boat Parade.

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Nearby Attractions

For an immersive experience, the Catalina Island Zipline Eco Tour is highly recommended. This popular activity showcases stunning views of the island's coastline and canyon, featuring five ziplines ranging from 600 to 1,100 feet in length.

Golf enthusiasts can indulge in two remarkable courses on Catalina Island: the Catalina Island Golf Course and the Avalon Golf Course, with both courses offering picturesque views of the island.

Island Access and Hours

The moorings around Catalina Island are leased to private parties but are rented when available. Mooring charges are based on the size of the mooring and the length of your stay. Moorings are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Check-out time is 9:00 AM.