How to Get to Catalina Island
Getting to Catalina Island
Located just 22 miles southwest of Los Angeles, Catalina Island is the perfect destination to escape from all the rush of city life, and relax and reconnect with nature. Be it couples on a romantic holiday or a group of friends looking for some casual time under the sun, Catalina Island has something for everyone.
For outdoor enthusiasts, the island has a plethora of options on both water and land, which makes it an ideal place to enjoy nature and recharge. If you are not that into outdoor activities, the southernmost island of the Channel Islands of California also has a lot of cozy and lush stay options, which would make sure you relish the serene ambiance of Catalina Island to the fullest.
Although visiting Catalina Island sounds like heading to a far-off paradise, the island is just a short trip away from LA, easily accessible via boats, helicopters, airplanes, and ferries. You can get to Catalina Island from different ports of Southern California; ferries and helicopters depart from Long Beach, San Pedro, Newport Beach, and Dana Point.
There are two ports in Catalina Island – one in Avalon and the other in Two Harbors. Many visitors of the island arrive at Avalon as the beach town is home to many small beaches, hotels, and restaurants. Two Harbors, on the other hand, is a rural community that has only one hotel and restaurant.
Catalina Express: The Catalina Island Ferry passenger service operates all year round, offering up to 30 trips per day. The ferries depart from Long Beach, Dana Point, and San Pedro ports.
Catalina Flyer: This passenger boat service departs every day from Newport Beach. However, their schedule may vary depending upon the season.
Island Express: This helicopter service offers a quicker way to reach Catalina Island from the mainland. The service runs on demand (between 08:00 am to sunset), leaving from San Pedro and Long Beach.
Note that the helicopters and ferries depart from different ports across Southern California's coast, so you should check the official website of your preferred transportation service to know about the departure location and time. Below are the directions to the terminals to make things a bit easy.
If Taking the Catalina Express Service
If your ferry is from Long Beach Catalina Downtown Landing, you need to take the 710 Freeway South to Long Beach, head to downtown following the signs, and exit at Golden Shore. From there, turn right at the stop sign and go to the terminal on the right.
If your ferry is from San Pedro, take the 110 Freeway South into San Pedro, head to Terminal Island and exit the 47 ramp. Continue on the right lane, towards the exit Harbor Blvd, and continue to Catalina Terminal, Berth 95. If you are coming from Long Beach, take Ocean Blvd West, and cross the Vincent Thomas Bridge to take the Harbor Blvd exit.
If you're taking a ferry is from Dana Point, you need to take I-5 Freeway South and exit at Pacific Coast Highway. If you are coming from San Diego, take I-5 Freeway North, and exit at Beach Cities, and take Highway 1 off the ramp. From there, turn left at the Dana Point Harbor Drive signal and left again at Golden Lantern to the Dana Harbor parking lot.
If Taking the Catalina Flyer Service
Take the 405 Freeway to the 55 Freeway South, and continue to Balboa Blvd through Newport Blvd. Turn left on Main Street to the terminal at the Balboa Pavilion. You can also turn right on Palm Street if you were looking for long-term parking.
If Taking the Island Express Helicopter
If you opted to depart from Long Beach Queen Mary, take the 710 Freeway South into Long Beach. Continue on towards the right and follow the signs to the Queen Mary/Port of Long Beach. When you enter the Queen Mary parking lot, follow the signs saying heliport and keep to the right to reach the last parking lot, which is about 200 feet from the Island Express offices.
If you opted to depart from San Pedro, take the 110 Freeway South to San Pedro. Continue to the Terminal Island and exit the 47 ramp. Make sure to stay on the right lane to exit Harbor Blvd, and follow the signs into Catalina Terminal. If you are heading there from Long Beach, take Ocean Blvd West, and cross the Vincent Thomas Bridge to take the Harbor Blvd exit.