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Say Gudday to Catalina Island

Updated on December 7, 2020

A visitors Guide to Catalina Island

Santa Catalina Island, the proper name for the more commonly called Catalina, is one of the most popular travel destinations in Southern California and for good reason. Aside from being the only offshore resort destination in all of California, this island offers a bewildering array of fun activities for singles, couples, families and people of all ages.

There's the amazing and beautiful casino opened in 1929 for an elegant experience or a romantic night. For the nature lovers there's hiking trails and for animal lovers there's plenty of wildlife to enjoy. There's the Catalina Island Fox, bald eagles, horses, mules, wild pigs and even bison to name just a few.

If you're into water sports then Catalina is a veritable paradise for you, offering many enjoyable options including kayaking, snorkeling, boating, swimming, whale watching, dolphin excursions and more.

Come with me as we Say Gudday to this magical island just twenty-two miles off the Pacific coast of the United States.

Santa Catalina Island

Camping Catalina

Roughing it

Campers love Catalina because it has some of the best campsites available. Secluded and picturesque, there are eleven shore-side campgrounds for the public to enjoy and they are all owned by the Catalina Island Conservancy. These sites are primitive, meaning that they don't have fresh water or toilet facilities and no campfires are allowed but, what they lack in amenities they more than make up for with natural beauty.

There are no roads into these campsites and they can only be reached by water, which is why they are called Boat-In camping areas. A popular way to reach these areas is by kayak and, if you've never been kayak-camping, then I strongly encourage you to try it because, once you do, you will be hooked.

Regular Camping

If you're looking for something a little more 'civilized' there are also campgrounds like Two Harbors where showers, toilets, fresh water, BBQ pits and even lockers are available to campers.

Hiking Catalina

For those who enjoy walking Catalina has miles of spectacular hiking trails that stretch all the way from the east end of the island to the west end. The Trans Catalina Trail (TCT) for example will take you from one stunning vista to the next, along canyons, down mountain passes and to beautiful, quiet beaches. There's a hiking experience for people of all athletic capacities and you can even take a guided hike if you prefer.

Pictures of Catalina Island

Catalina Island (Images of America: California)
Catalina Island (Images of America: California)
Throughout its history, the 76-square-mile island of Catalina has played host to Native Americans, smugglers, otter hunters, ranchers, miners, entrepreneurs, vacationers, movie stars, and nature enthusiasts. William Wrigley Jr. (of chewing-gum fame) bought the island in 1919 and later constructed the recognizable casino building, which was never used for gambling but did become one of the best-known ballrooms in America. In the 1970s, the Wrigley family deeded 88 percent of the island to the Catalina Island Conservancy, which protects the natural state of the island and her inhabitants. Today nearly one million tourists visit annually to take in the fishing, parasailing, glass-bottomed tour boating, scuba diving, cycling, camping, galleries, shopping, and dining.

Catalina's Amazing Hiking Trails

The Catalina Casino

Located on Descanso Beach the casino, opened in 1929, is an architectural spectacle. Fully restored just a few years ago it is stunningly beautiful and is a favorite place for many couples to host their wedding. In addition to the casino itself the building also boasts a magnificent ballroom, a museum, an art gallery and even a movie theater.

The Casino

Catalina A to Z:: A Glossary Guide to California's Island Jewel

Catalina A to Z:: A Glossary Guide to California's Island Jewel
Catalina A to Z:: A Glossary Guide to California's Island Jewel
Santa Catalina Island is one of the West Coast's great nearby escapes, an hour's boat ride from Los Angeles and Long Beach for one million annual tourists. The island's seventy-six square miles contain two communities--Avalon and Two Harbors--and extremely rugged seashores and interior wild lands. Here, the history has been carved by pirates, smugglers, prospectors and squatters and set down by seafaring scribes and Hollywood fabricators. The facts have been massaged by the ebb and flow of time and scattered like sun-baked rocks from a beachcomber's kick. Co-authors Patricia Maxwell, Bob Rhein and Jerry Roberts have collected Catalina's basic facts and lore into a quick reference that's as easily accessible as the most charming of California's Channel Islands.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2012 Dale Anderson


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