- For other places with the same name, see Avalon (disambiguation).
Avalon is a resort city on Catalina Island, just off the coast of Southern California. Avalon is the main settlement on Catalina, and home to the majority of the island's permanent population. Avalon serves as the center of activity for most visitors as well as the jumping off point for exploration elsewhere on Catalina.
Most visitors reach Avalon on the ferry from either Long Beach, San Pedro, Dana Point or Newport Beach; note that the ferry from Marina del Rey is no longer in operation. The trip takes about an hour via high-speed ferry. Perhaps the best way to reach the island is by private sailboat or powerboat, about a half-day from the Los Angeles harbors. The seas in the channel are generally calm, though there are swells; dolphins, flying fish, and other sea life are often sighted.
- Catalina Express, ☏ +1-800-481-3470. The most popular way to get to Catalina Island via their fleet of boats. In the summer months, Catalina Express offers about 30 trips a day to Avalon from San Pedro, Dana Point and two ports in Long Beach, downtown and at the Queen Mary.
- Catalinaferries. Has two boats making trips daily in the summer and also have a special winter schedule. It's a great way to get out of town without having to drive out of town.
- Catalina Passenger Service. Operates the Catalina Flyer on a daily round-trip service from Newport Beach.
- 1 Catalina Airport (AVX IATA Airport In The Sky). accessible by private plane
- Island Express Helicopter Service, toll-free: +1 800 218-2566. Offers daily flights from heliports in San Pedro and Long Beach, carrying up to six passengers.
Around Avalon, the primary mode of transportation is by golf cart. The streets are very narrow and the town is crowded and small so this works out very well. Upon arrival to Avalon by sea you will see signs for golf cart rentals.
You may also rent bicycles (or bring your own from the mainland for an extra fee).
- 1 Brown's Bikes, 107 Pebbly Beach Rd, ☏ +1 310 510-0986, fax: +1 310 510-0747, [email protected]. Rentals and bike repair. Hourly rates are from $5 to $15 per hour, depending on the type of bike. Daily rates are from $12 to $40.
- 2 Catalina Auto & Bike Rental, 301 Crescent Ave, ☏ +1 310 510-0111. Bicycle and golf cart rental.
- 1 Wrigley Memorial and Botanical Garden, ☏ +1 310 510-2595. 1.5 miles (2.4 km) up Avalon Canyon Road from Avalon. Daily from 8AM to 5PM, year round. A memorial to William Wriggley, Jr., founder of the WM Wriggley Jr. Company, renowned for its chewing gum. Mr. Wriggley was also a long-time benefactor of Catalina and was key in assuring that it was protected for future generations. The Botanical Garden features plants that are native to California islands, especially species only found on Catalina Island. Adults: $5, Children under 12: Free.
- 2 The Casino, toll-free: +1-800-626-5440. /Art Museum - Casino Point, northwest end of Avalon Harbor. The Casino is an Art-Deco movie palace and ballroom built in 1929 that was once the place to be for the Los Angeles elite. The tour will take you into the movie theater and up the ramps to the ballroom while the tour guide gives information about the history and unique construction of the casino. Adults: $14.50, Children: $7.25, Seniors: $13
- Descanso Beach Club, ☏ +1 310 510-7410. On the north side of the casino. A beach front bar and restaurant. Showers, chair and umbrealla rentals and restrooms are available.
- 3 Catalina Island Museum, 217 Metropole Ave., ☏ +1 310 510-2414, fax: +1 310 510-2780, [email protected]. 10AM to 5PM daily. Avalon’s only institution devoted to art, culture and the rich history of Santa Catalina Island. The newly renovated Catalina Island Museum includes an expanded museum store, a digital theater, a number of galleries dedicated to the history of the Catalina Island and a new traveling exhibitions gallery. Open daily 10AM - 5PM. Adults $17, Seniors $15, Children 15 & under Free w/ paid Adult.
- Catalina Island Golf Course, 1 Country Club Rd, ☏ +1 310 510-0530. A 2,100 yard, nine-hole golf course with two sets of tees to provide 18-hole play. Call for current prices.
- Hiking - Catalina Island has miles of backroads and trails but a permit is required. A permit can be obtained the day of your hike at the following locations:
- Conservancy House in Avalon, at 125 Claressa Ave.
- Two Harbors Visitor Information Center
- Fishing - The ocean waters around Catalina are teeming with fish. Rent a boat or join an organized fishing trip on a commercial boat.
Snorkeling and Scuba Diving
Multiple locations. With warm temperatures and clear waters with visibility from 40-100 feet (12 to 30 m), Catalina is a prime location for snorkeling and scuba diving. Several vendors rent equipment or provide guided trips.
- Lover’s Cove Undersea Gardens. Just a few minutes from the boat landing in Avalon, this cove features giant kelp forests and hundreds of fish.
- Descanso Beach, ☏ +1 310 510-1226. Just north of the Casino. Rental equipment available.
- Casino Point Marine Park (Casino Point Dive Park). At the edge of Casino Point. At the breakwater with stairs access to a kelp forest and a shipwreck starting at 60'. Lot's of Garibaldi's, Calico Bass, Moray Eels and the occasions Black Sea Bass sightings make this a favorite dive destination for many. No Charge.
- 1 Scuba Luv, 126 Catalina Ave, ☏ +1 310 510-2350, toll-free: +1-800-262-3483, fax: +1 310 510-0821, [email protected]. A complete scuba outfitter providing rentals, instruction and guided trips from their 65-foot (19 m) dive boat King Neptune.
- 2 Catalina Divers Supply, ☏ +1 310 510-0330, toll-free: +1-800-353-0330, fax: +1 310 510-1629, [email protected]. Green Pier and Casino Point., . A complete scuba outfitter providing rentals, instruction and guided trips from their 42-foot (12 m) dive boat Cat Dive.
One way to explore the island is to kayak around it, finding coves inaccessible from land and peering up at massive cliffs. Several vendors on the island rent kayaks or provide guided tours.
- Descanso Beach Ocean Sports, ☏ +1 310 510-1226. Kayak rentals and tours with experienced guides. Specialty tours such as a sunset tour and an astronomy tour.
- Joe's Rent-A-Boat (Avalon Pleasure Pier), ☏ +1 310 510-0455. Joe's rents kayaks by the hour as well as paddle boards and motor boats.
- Wet Spot Rental, ☏ +1 310 510-2229, [email protected]. Avalon Boat Pier., . Kayak and paddle boat rentals. Wet Spot also has another location in Little Harbor.
- Avalon Benefit 50 Mile Run. An annual benefit run from Avalon to Two Harbors and back. Proceeds benfit local charities.
- Annual Avalon Harbor Underwater Cleanup. An annual event where scuba divers dive in Avalon Harbor to remove trash and other items from the floor of the harbor. This is the only day of the year that scuba divers are allowed to dive in the harbor.
- Catalina Marathon. A 26.2 mile run from Two Harbors to Avalon.
- Catalina Conservancy Ball. Avalon Casino. A black tie event that includes dinner, big band dancing and silent and live auctions to benefit the Catalina Island Conservancy.
- Rubber Ducky Derby, ☏ +1 310 510-1987. A rubber duck race to benefit the children's theater company.
- Silent Film Benefit. A silent film screening featuring live musical accompaniment on the historic Page organ in the Avalon Casino's Theatre.
- Church Mouse Marlin Invitational, ☏ +1 310 820-4434. A non-profit marlin fishing tournament to benefit Cataline youth.
- Pottery & Tile Extravaganza, ☏ +1 310 510-2414. A month long exhibition of locally made Catalina tile including walking tours of examples of installed tile.
- Catalina Island Festival of Art. An art festival that has been running annually for more than 50 years, this street fair is free and features artwork from all over the country. The 2016 fair will be held from September 16-18, from 10AM-5PM each day.
- Catalina Island Jazz Trax Festival. A 3-weekend, nine-night jazz festival held in the Casino Ballroom.
- [dead link] The Avalon Ball. Recreating the Big Band scene of the 1920s and 30s in the Avalon Ballroom.
- Catalina Island Triathlon, ☏ +1 714 978-1528. A half-mile swim in Avalon Bay, a 16K cycle course around Mt. Ada and a 5K run past the golf course.
- New Year's Eve Celebration, ☏ +1 310 510-1520. December 31 - Ring in the New Year in the Casino Ballroom. Reservations are accepted beginning in July.
There is a variety of places to eat on the pier, serving things like hot dogs and fish and chips. There is also a small Vons supermarket at 123 Metropole Avenue which may be helpful if you need a candy bar, soft drink or such.
Santa Catalina Island has no chain restaurants except for Vons, and is full of local, unique, independent, and well-acclaimed restaurants.
- 1 Catalina Visitors Country Club, ☏ +1 310 510-7404. The clubhouse of the Catalina Country Club golf course. Nice, quiet ambiance on the patio, but the food is pricey and can be lacking in flavor and creativity.
- 2 Steve's Steakhouse, 417 Cresent Ave, ☏ +1 310-510-0333, [email protected].
- 3 The Sandtrap Restaurant and Bar, 501 Avalon Canyon Rd, ☏ +1 310 510-2505, [email protected].
- 4 Avalon Grille, 423 Crescent Avenue, ☏ +1 310-510-7494. M–Th 4–8PM, F 3–9PM, Sa 11AM–2PM 3–9PM, Su 11AM–2PM 3–8PM. Upscale steakhouse with a full bar just across the promenade from the water. Large patio, low, ambient lighting, not too noisy.
- Bluewater Grill Avalon, 306 Crescent Avenue, ☏ +1 310-510-3474. Su 10AM–9:30PM, M–Th 11AM–10PM, F 11AM–10:30PM, Sa 10AM–10:30PM. Hip waterfront eatery with fantastic fresh seafood. The baked crab and artichoke dip is outstanding, and the seared scalloped with jalapeño aioli is the perfect mix of savory and spice, with chopped crispy bacon to balance the soft scallops.
- 5 Lloyd's of Avalon Confectionary, 315 Crescent Avenue, ☏ +1 310 510 7266. Lloyd's is an absolute Avalon classic. They've got all sorts of handmade chocolates and pastries, but are most famous for their creative candied apples, which come in dozens of flavors. Kids enjoy watching the saltwater taffy machine in the window, whirling the homemade taffy to perfection.
- Luau Larry's, 509 Crescent Ave, ☏ +1 310-510-1919. 10AM-1AM. Has the island's drink, the buffalo milk cocktail.
- Catalina Island Brew House, 417 Crescent Ave, ☏ +1 310-590-6905. M-Th 6AM-7PM F-Sa 6AM-8PM Su 6AM-6PM. Food, coffee and locally brewed beer
- 1 Descanso Beach Club, ☏ +1 310 510-7410. Hours vary by season. Beach restaurant and bar. The strawberry daiquiris are made with real strawberry pulp and are thick, sweet and refreshing. Worth visiting just for the daiquiri. Nachos are tasty and a generous portion.
- 1 Best Western Catalina Canyon Resort And Spa, 888 Country Club Dr, ☏ +1 310 510-0325, fax: +1 310 510-0900.
- 2 The Avalon Hotel, 124 Whittley Ave, ☏ +1 310 510-7070, fax: +1 310 510-7210, [email protected]. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Classic California Craftsman style with ocean view rooms. Have your morning coffee and continental breakfast in the garden patio, meet our koi puppies and watch the local hummingbirds drink their morning nectar. Enjoy the roof deck with a 360-degree view of town and Avalon harbor. Enjoy our tangerine-sage lotion, salt scrub and shea butter made especially for us. Hike, bike or tour in the surrounding 75 square miles of private nature preserve. Swim, paddle or boat in the Pacific Ocean. Wander through the local shops, eat at the nearby restaurants and enjoy the interesting and elegant history of Avalon's glamor past. Hollywood use to play here. Opening "talkie" performances were shown in the local Avalon Casino Theater, you can still catch the music on a pipe organ on the weekends before the opening show (we get 1 new movie, ever friday night). The Catalina Island Museum has information on the Chicago Cubs that did their spring training here in Avalon in the early 1900s. Find the serpentine wall traversing down front street. Set up a spa service, relax and unwind. We hope to see you soon visiting our Island home. $175 - 795.
- 3 Aurora Hotel & Spa, 137 Marilla Ave, toll-free: +1-800-422-6836. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Romantic modern hotel & spa in downtown Avalon. $150-$925.
- 4 Pavilion Hotel, 513 Crescent Ave (Closest major hotel to the boat terminal), toll-free: +1-800-626-1496. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. The 71-room, 2-story Pavilion Hotel, formerly the Pavilion Lodge, is 14 steps from the beach. The new design takes advantage of the garden courtyard area by creating semi-private lanais, or outdoor living areas for most of the ground level rooms. The landscaped garden includes a large fire ring and an open air ocean-view lounge area near the front lobby. There is also a new indoor lounge area and hospitality room where guests will find their complimentary continental breakfast in the morning and the complimentary wine and cheese pairing in the afternoon. New amenities also include HD flat screen TVs, upgraded in-room coffee/tea, iHome MP3 players and complimentary use of Apple's new iPads. Packages and specials available.
In addition to hotels and campsites, visitors to Avalon can rent private homes, townhouses and condominiums on a short-term basis.
- 5 Catalina Island Vacation Rentals, 119 Sumner Ave, toll-free: +1-855-631-5280, fax: +1 310 510-8375, [email protected]. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 10AM. Provides vacation rentals in private homes and condominiums in Avalon and Hamilton Cove. A call ahead is necessary to make arrangements for picking up keys and getting directions to the vacation rental. $125-$650.
If you are coming from the mainland you probably want to see a bit more of Catalina Island, such as Two Harbors or the interior of the island (home of the buffalo). Unfortunately, golf carts are not allowed outside of Avalon; all roads leading away from the town hold "no golf cart" signs. So, if you are interested in visiting other parts of the island, another mode of transportation (such as bicycle, small motorscooter, or guided tour) must be found. Note that the island is hilly so you might find yourself pushing your bike up the roads in the island's interior.