We gave you the basics on how to get to Avalon on Catalina Island. As a family, we brainstormed 50 things to do on the island, split between Avalon and Two Harbors. This is only meant to give you some general ideas. You can consult the visitor websites to get a more in-depth look at each activity.
#1 Visit the Wrigley Mansion and see excellent views of Avalon.
#2 Lick an ice cream cone from Scoops (replaced Big Olaf’s – pictured below).
#3 Snorkel in Lover’s Cove.
#4 Ride a Glass Bottom Boat.
#5 Visit the Botanic Gardens and hike to the ridge to see the other side of the island.
#6 Order OH MY! ANTONIO’S FAMOUS BAKED PASTA and dine outside at Antonio’s Pizzeria.
#7 Visit the historic Catalina Island Museum in the Ada Blanche Wrigley Schreiner Building on Metropole Avenue.
#8 Take a submarine tour (snorkeling without getting wet).
#9 Hear the bells chime from the Chimes Tower across from the Zane Grey Pueblo.
#10 Take a guided walking tour at the historic Casino in all its Art Deco glory.
#11 Play golf at the long and narrow Catalina Island Golf Course.
#12 Walk the pier.
#13 Ride the zip line at Descanso Beach.
#14 Dodge golf carts – the most prevalent vehicle on the road.
#15 Rent a bike and get a workout on the hills.
#16 See the California state marine fish – the Garibaldi (unfortunately, Ben’s Bakery closed since we got this awesome Garibaldi cupcake) – but you will see plenty in the water! Garibaldi in the water, not cupcakes.
#17 Buy a shirt with a Jimmy Buffet song lyric on it.
#18 Scuba dive off Casino Point in the underwater dive park.
#19 See flying fish on a nighttime boat trip.
#20 Go parasailing, jet-skiing or kayaking.
#21 Hear a band.
#22 Browse gift shops with ocean artwork and famous Catalina tiles.
#23 Go fishing.
#24 Take a walking tour and visit a playground or play miniature golf.
#25 Hang out at the beach and people watch.
Sample Day Trip: Mr. Play Parks and I took the ferry over in the morning and had breakfast at one of the restaurants. We stored our snorkel gear in a locker at the ferry terminal. Then we headed up to the Botanic Gardens and hiked up the trail to the ridge. We hiked back down and snorkeled in Lover’s Cove. Then, off to the coin-operated showers near the Tuna Club to clean up for a nice dinner out before catching the ferry home. [This would be a great “date day” – but you can customize your trip for the family.]
Best Online Resources:
- The Catalina Island Conservancy
- The Santa Catalina Island Company
- Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau
- Catalina Island Vacation Rentals
- Trekaroo shares info from a press tour (the Chief Editor is a friend and I thought it was an excellent post)
At the time of writing in 2010, NO compensation received from any of the companies or websites mentioned. However, I updated this post in 2016 resulting from press trip where we received Catalina Express transportation to/from the island and tried a number of activities offered by tour companies without charge.
Originally published in August 2010.