Santa Catalina Island or Catalina Island is one of the Channel Islands located off the coast of Southern California near the Outer Santa Barbara Channel. It is part of Los Angeles County. The island is approximately 22 miles long and 8 miles across at its widest point. At the 2010 census, the population was 4,096, of which more than 90% lived in Avalon, the only incorporated city on the island. The local economy is based upon tourism. Public transportation is available by boat from San Pedro, Newport Beach, and Dana Point. Helicopter service is also available. Mount Orizaba is the highest peak on Santa Catalina Island at 2,097 feet.
Residential communities in Avalon on Catalina Island include:
Catalina Airport is a general aviation and airfreight airport owned by the Catalina Island Conservancy, and open to the public. The airport is commonly referred to as the Airport in the Sky because it is located near the highest point on the island at 1,602 feet, approximately ten miles from the city of Avalon at the center of the island.
Mount Orizaba is the highest point on Catalina Island and in the Channel Islands. The mountain rises approximately 2098 feet. A trail leads to the top where hikers can view San Clemente Island, the Santa Monica Mountains, Santiago Peak in Orange County, the San Gabriel Mountains, and the Pacific Ocean. Hikers can obtain permits and trail maps from the Catalina Island Conservancy in Avalon.
Santa Catalina Island Company
The Santa Catalina Island Company was incorporated in 1894 by William, Hancock, and Joseph Banning (the Banning Brothers) which acquired most of Catalina Island for the purpose of creating an island resort. In 1919, William Wrigley Jr. acquired a majority interest in the Santa Catalina Island Company and led the firm in developing Santa Catalina Island for 56 years. Today, the Santa Catalina Company owns and operates the Hotel Atwater, the Pavillon Hotel, Catalina Visitors Country Club, Catalina Expeditions, Catalina Island Golf Course, the Casino, Avalon Grill, Descanso Beach Club, and the operations located at the resort of Two Harbors.
Catalina Island Conservancy
The Catalina Island Conservancy (CIC) is a non-profit organization, established in 1972 by the Wrigley and Offield families, to preserve and protect Santa Catalina Island. It is the oldest and largest private land trust in Southern California. CIC was founded when both families contributed more than 42,100 acres of Catalina Island to the conservancy. CIC operates the Nature Center at Avalon Canyon and the Wrigley Botanical Gardens. The conservancy currently protects more than 89% of Catalina Island which includes over 60 miles of coastline.
City of Avalon
Avalon, or Avalon Bay, is the only incorporated city on Santa Catalina Island or anywhere in the Channel Islands of California. The city has a permanent population of nearly 3,800, but has annual visitors now exceeding one million. Catalina is part of Los Angeles County with Avalon being the southern most city in the county. The city is 22 miles southwest of the Los Angeles Harbor and is a great place to visit any time of the year.
The Avalon Marina is located inside Avalon Bay, also known as Avalon Harbor, on Santa Catalina Island just outside the city of Avalon.
Hamilton Cove Condominiums
Hamilton Cove is located at 60 Camino de Flores in Avalon on Catalina Island. The luxury condominium community features 24 moorings, three beach areas stretching approximately 1,500 feet, a beautiful clubhouse, a pool and spa, two tennis courts, an 18-hole putting course, a croquet course, a fitness center, a conference room, 24-hour security, large private balconies, fireplaces, incredible views, and an excellent location overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Nature Center at Avalon Canyon - Catalina Island
The Nature Center at Avalon Canyon on Catalina Island is operated by the Catalina Island Conservancy. The center offers numerous exhibits and films about Catalina Island's wildlife, plant life, and geology. The Nature Center is a short walk up Avalon Canyon from the center of Avalon and is a perfect place to start a tour of Catalina Island.
Catalina Casino and Museum
The Catalina Casino, built in 1929 by William Wrigley Jr., is the most recognizable landmark in Avalon on Catalina Island. It currently contains a large movie theater, a spectacular grand ballroom with a capacity of 1400, and a museum. When approaching Avalon by boat, the Catalina Casino is the first object that becomes visible because of its size and prominent location. The height of the Art Deco structure is the equivalent of a 12 story building. There is no gambling at the facility. Tours are available daily and the facility can be used for large corporate events. The museum has been collecting and presenting the history of Santa Catalina Island for more than 50 years and has an excellent gift shop.
Catalina Island Museum
William Wrigley, Jr. Summer Cottage
The William Wrigley, Jr. Summer Cottage, built in 1920-21, was a summer home for the Wrigleys who owned 99% of Santa Catalina Island. Before Mr. Wrigley died in 1932, the family entertained President Calvin Coolidge, President Warren G. Harding, and the Prince of Wales at the house. In the 1970s, the family donated the property to the University of Southern California which is in Los Angeles. In 1985, the property was converted into a luxury hotel known as The Inn on Mount Ada and was also added to the National Register of Historic Places that year.
Wrigley Memorial and Botanical Garden - Catalina
The Wrigley Memorial is a tribute to William Wrigley Jr., who purchased a controlling interest in the Santa Catalina Island Company in 1919 and later donated more than 42,100 acres to the Catalina Island Conservancy in 1972. The botanical garden contains mostly plants that are native to Santa Catalina Island as well as the other Channel Islands of Southern California.
Catalina Visitors Country Club
The Catalina Visitors Country Club, originally constructed for William Wrigley's baseball team, the Chicago Clubs, is now open to the public for tours and dining. The facility and grounds are beautiful and offer spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean and surrounding hills. It is definitely worth visiting.
El Rancho Escondido - Catalina
El Rancho Escondido, also known as "the Hidden Ranch", was originally developed as the Wrigley family's Arabian Horse Ranch. Today, the facility is a world-class working horse ranch that has been made available to visitors. It is 12 miles outside of Avalon on Catalina Island and features many prizewinning horses, numerous exhibits, and historical memorabilia.
Catalina Island Golf Course
The Catalina Island Golf Course is the oldest operating golf course west of the Mississippi River. It was developed in 1892 by the Banning Brothers and is a 9 hole course that offers spectacular ocean and mountain views. It is truly one of the most beautiful courses in California.
Two Harbors - The Isthmus
Two Harbors, also known as The Isthmus, is an unincorporated island community on Santa Catalina Island with a population of just over 300. It is located about 18 miles from Avalon and is named for the two harbors that are separated by an isthmus. Two Harbors is primarily a resort and retirement village.
Santa Catalina Isthmus
The Isthmus of Catalina Island, also known as Two Harbors, is the narrowest section of the island. In 1863, the U.S. Army stationed a garrison of troops in the middle of the isthmus to guard the island from confederate troops. Today, the Union Army barracks building remains and is now home to the Isthmus Yacht Club.
The Trans-Catalina Trail is a 37.2 mile hiking trail on Catalina Island which is off the cost of Southern California in Los Angeles County. The eastern end is at Avalon and the western end is at Starlight Beach. The highest point is at 1,775 feet which offers great views. There are five campgrounds on or near the trail. Hiking permits can be obtained from the Catalina Island Conservancy in Avalon.
Long Point Beach - Catalina Island
Long Point Beach is a favorite camping and diving location on the north side of Santa Catalina Island, located 4.9 miles from Avalon and 7.8 miles from Two Harbors. The beach is immediately west of the Long Point Coast Guard Light.
Ben Weston Point
Ben Weston Beach on Catalina Island is located nearly mid-point between Avalon and the town of Two Harbors. The beach is accessed primarily by boat or a 14 mile hike from Avalon. The white sandy beach is beautiful and usually not crowded.
Starlight Beach is near the west end of Catalina Island and is the western end of the 37.2 mile Trans-Catalina Trail. The beach is in a beautiful cove that faces north. Starlight Beach is surrounded by rocks and cliffs and is not designated as a camping area. It is absolutely worth visiting.
Arrow Point to Lion Head Point
Arrow Point to Lion Head Point (SMCA) is a marine protected area on Catalina Island covering .67 square miles. SMCA is one of 36 protected areas in California.
Catalina Channel, also known as the San Pedro Channel, is a 20.2 mile waterway between the coast of Southern California and Catalina Island. Catalina Channel Swimming Federation sponsors solo and relay swimming contests in the channel.
Gulf of Santa Catalina
The Gulf of Santa Catalina, also known as the Gulf of Catalina, is a major gulf in the Pacific Ocean extending from east of Catalina Island south to Baja California.
Catalina Island Sport Fishing
Catalina Island is often referred to as the birthplace of western saltwater sport fishing. The island’s sheltered coves, beaches, and underwater reefs create one of the best habitats for fish anywhere in the world. Several day and night charters are available. Fishing licenses can be obtained on the island.
Tuna Club of Avalon
The Tuna Club of Avalon, founded in 1898, is a private membership club in Avalon on Catalina Island. The club offers leased waterfront facilities and a first class clubhouse. Former members have included General George S. Patton, President Theodore Roosevelt, President Herbert Hoover, Charles Frederick Holder, and Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
Catalina Chamber of Commerce
The Catalina Chamber of Commerce serves its member businesses on Santa Catalina Island. In addition, it is an excellent visitor's resource, providing valuable information on nearly every aspect of visiting Catalina or acquiring property on the island. We recommend visiting their website before making a trip to the island.
Avalon Library - Catalina Island
The Avalon Library is a 1,256 square community library in Avalon on Catalina Island. The library is operated by the County of Los Angeles, Avalon Library is the only library located on any of the Channel Islands off the coast of Southern California.
Los Angeles Harbor Region
The Los Angeles Harbor Region is an area in Los Angeles County that includes the following cities or communities:
South Los Angeles is to the north, Orange County is to the east, the Pacific Ocean is to the south, and the South Bay Region is to the west.
Getting to Catalina Island from Los Angeles
Catalina Express boats provide year round service to both Avalon and Two Harbors with up to 30 daily departures from three Southern California locations - Long Beach, San Pedro, and Dana Point. The trip takes about an hour. They have been operating continuously for more than thirty three years. Helicopter service to and from Avalon is also available from Long Beach and San Pedro.
Channel Islands From North to South
Camp Santa Catalina Island
In 1864, following an incident involving a Confederate privateer, the Union Army and Navy established Camp Santa Catalina Island at the isthmus located near the west end of the island. The facility was closed before the end of the Civil War.
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