There’s always something to do on Southern California’s resort island destination. Whether you are looking for a vacation pumping with adrenaline or filled with nothing but relaxation, Catalina delivers year-round. Summer, however, is the Island’s high season and the myriad activities are just one reason why. Here are 12 of the best things to do on Catalina Island this summer.
Catalina’s crystal clear waters are simply irresistible in the warmer months.
1. Teeming with marine life and blessed with great visibility, Catalina is consistently rated one of the top scuba diving destinations in North America. A Discover Scuba experience is a great way to introduce yourself to this fascinating activity or plunge even deeper and get certified with one of the dive shops on Catalina.
2. If scuba is a bit much, snorkeling on Catalina Island is another great activity for the whole family, with protected Lover’s Cove a popular destination. Rent gear on the island or bring your own – a wetsuit will keep you comfortable for the duration.
3. Combing the best of both scuba and snorkeling, snuba is available in the summer months with explorers able to descend up to 30 feet beneath the surface.
4. Kids on Catalina are always drawn to Avalon Harbor and now, with a new inflatable playscape there’s even more to do. Installed this June on South Beach at the swim line, the obstacle course is already one of the most popular water activities in Avalon.
Looking to give back? The Catalina Conservancy, responsible for protecting the Island and its natural inhabitants, offers several ways to volunteer on Catalina Island.
5. Volunteer vacations bring the whole crew together for several days of volunteering, with accommodations provided in the interior of the Island.
6. For a few hours of volunteering – and learning more about the native flora -- take part in Thursdays at the Nursery. Transportation is provided for these mornings in the interior.
7. Once a month, the Conservancy provides a chance to see the remote beaches on the backside of the Island while collecting trash. The Windward Beaches Clean-ups are held monthly at various windswept and beautiful coves.
The vast majority of visitors to Catalina Island never venture beyond the confines of Avalon. While that charming seaside village has plenty of amenities, the rest of Catalina offers a wealth of things to see and do.
8. Take a hike. You can spend a few hours on the Garden to the Sky Trail or commit several days to the Trans-Catalina Trail. Either way, getting out on foot will allow you to connect with Catalina in a primal way, challenging your body in the rugged terrain, seeing flora and fauna found nowhere else and experiencing some of the most dramatic vistas imaginable.
9. Go on a tour. Let someone else do the work while you get out of town. Classic busses, hummers and jeeps are just some of the ways you can tour the beauty of Catalina’s interior.
Expand your horizons
Catalina Island offers several ways to challenge your inner adventurer and overcome your inhibitions.
10. Soar to new heights on Catalina’s popular zipline or float above the Pacific on a parasailing adventure. Speaking of adventures, Catalina’s newest is the Aerial Adventure, an obstacle course in the trees above Descanso Canyon.
11. Satisfy your hunger – and your curiosity – by trying something new to eat. Restaurants on Catalina offer a fascinating array of dining options from the familiar to the exotic. Or taste half a dozen Avalon dining options on a food tour.
12. Take another boat ride. The ferry to Catalina is far from the only nautical adventure available to island visitors. Search for dolphins in a high-speed inflatable. Go in search of the big one that doesn’t get away aboard a charter fishing boat. Or zoom along the coast on the Island’s new Cyclone Coastal Adventure.
Whatever you choose to do on Catalina Island this summer, this seaside paradise will call you back again and again, promising more adventures year after year.
by Sherri Cline