06 Sep No Cars Allowed – Catalina Island
Cars are useful and convenient, but they also cause pollution, noise and alter the structure of cities. Imagine a world without cars. There’s nothing like gearing up for an incredible vacation full of promise – of pampering, relaxation, and blissful days free from vehicles.
If you’re not in the mood for a hopping, urban city, here’s part 1 of pedestrian-friendly destinations where you won’t spot a car – Catalina Island.
Catalina Island, California
In Catalina Island, pedestrians and golf carts own the roads. In Catalina Island, you can go total Americana at old-fashioned ice-cream parlours, bakeries and sidewalk restaurants. Getting to Catalina Island is fast and easy.
Getting to Catalina island
Getting to Catalina Island is fast and easy. It takes only 1h via high-speed ferry or 15min via helicopter to get you to paradise.
Ferry Services are provided from Long Beach, San Pedro, Dana Point and Newport Beach. A round trip fare is USD 72 – 74.
Helicopter service is available from Long Beach and San Pedro. A round trip fare is USD 300 – 450.
For both modes of transport, you may purchase tickets online or on site.
Avalon, Catalina Island’s main town, is only one square mile in size and everything is within easy walking distance. In fact, walking is the preferred mode of transportation. Vehicles are not allowed in the island, hence no cars, and no buses.
To enjoy the hills above the town, do what the locals do and drive a golf cart. Golf cart rentals are so abundant in town and you can easily explore the mountain terrain around Avalon. A 4-passenger golf cart costs USD 43 per hour.
Cartopa Golf Cart Rental
625 Crescent Ave, Avalon, CA 90704
Directions from the Casino; Walk south from Casino Way towards Pebbly Beach Road and you will find Cartopa Golf Cart Rental.
107 Pebbly Beach Rd, Avalon, CA 90704, United States
Directions from the Casino : Walk south from Casino Way via Pebbly Beach Road until you find Brown’s Bikes
Price: $15/h, $45/day
Wrigley Memorial & Botanic Garden
Address: 1402 Avalon Cyn Rd, Avalon, CA 90704, United States
Directions: The Wrigley Memorial & Botanical Gardens is a 30 minute walk up Avalon Canyon from downtown Avalon. You can also take the Catalina Trolley, a taxi, bike up or rent a golf cart. The Wrigley Memorial & Botanical Gardens is operated by the Catalina Island Conservancy.
Wrigley Memorial & Botanic Garden is a pedestrian paradise, no golf carts are allowed here! Here lies a beautiful paradise of tropical blooms and 200 buffalo. The Botanic Garden is the primary gateway to access one of the island’s most popular hikes, the Garden to Sky Trail. Entry to the garden is free.
Sunbathe in style at Descano Beach Club
Address: 1 Descanso Ave Avalon, CA 90704 , United States
Getting to the beach requires a walk of over a half-mile from the Green Pleasure Pier and Crescent Beach in downtown Avalon. Just head north on the walkway along the waterfront and continue past the large white casino building.
This private club sits on a secluded cove. Each cabana comes stocked with haute amenities such as flat-screen television, Wi-Fi, chaise lounges and bottled water. A personal concierge delivers fresh fruit and smoothies throughout the day, and guests can also order from the club’s restaurant menu.
Address: Catalina Casino, Avalon, CA 90704, USADirections: Catalina Casino is the most visible landmark on Avalon Bay, and directly in the front at Avalon Harbour. (Refer to Map)
The Catalina has been the focal point of Catalina Island entertainment and culture since it opened 80 years ago. The Catalina Casino has been the venue of choice for great entertainers and live-theater productions. Entry to the casino is free.
Flying Fish Tour
- Address: 1 Island Plz Avalon, CA 90704
Price: USD45 for adults, USD42 for children
The evening tour takes place on a boat built especially for this tour. Catalina’s flying fish have oversized front fins that help them soar and glide above the ocean waves when attracted by light. A great experience for families.
Jeep Eco Tour
Address: 125 Claressa Ave, Avalon, CA 90704, United States
Price: USD 109 for a 3h tour
Catalina’s famous buffalo have been here for 80 years, when a herd of buffalo was brought here for the filming of a movie and were left behind. Currently 200 in number, one way to get a good look at the buffalo is by taking the Jeep Eco Tour. Go off-roading with your guide in a Jeep and you’ll also enjoy visiting remote areas of the island while viewing its wildlife.
Camping on Two Harbours Campground
Directions: It is best to arrange travel with the Catalina Express direct from San Pedro to Two Harbors. The Safari Bus from Avalon to Two Harbors runs daily but seats are very limited. There is no scheduled ferry between Avalon and Two Harbors.
Camping on Catalina island is a unique experience and very different from camping on mainland United States. Sitting on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean 1/4 mile outside the village of Two Harbors. Featuring 42 individual sites and tent cabins. Showers, lockers, toilets, fresh water, fire pits and picnic tables. Once here, the main mode of transportation is your own two feet. Hiking is the most popular activity but Two Harbors also offers crystal clear water and a pristine and easily accessible sandy beach.
The Two Harbors Campground is located just one-quarter mile uphill from the village of Two Harbors. Campers must first check-in at Two Harbors Visitor Services. Transportation to the Two Harbors Campground is available on the Safari Bus from Avalon.
It costs USD $25 per person per night. Tent Cabins can be rented at USD $60 per night.
What to Eat
Lunch at the Inn on Mt. Ada
Address: 398 Wrigley Rd
Directions from the Casino to Mount Ada: Walk south from Casino Way via Pebbly Beach Road and turn right into Wrigley Road
It’s a special treat to have lunch on the wraparound terrace with spectacular views of all below. You can now dine on crab salad, buffalo burgers and, if you’re lucky, a delicious carnitas plate, one of the daily specials offered by the property’s longtime cook. Call the inn to make a reservation, and you’ll need a golf cart to get up there — they don’t supply transportation.
Address: 306 Crescent Ave, Avalon, CA 90704, United States
Directions from the Casino: Walk south from Casino way to Crescent Avenue. Bluewater Grill is located right in the front of Avalon Bay.
Open: 11am – 9pm
Local chain offering fresh oysters, fish in many incarnations (fried, grilled, blackened, etc.), cocktails and more right on the water. Cedar-plank salmon, mahi mahi sliders and jumbo prawn cocktails are all good bets.
The Lobster Trap
Address: 128 Catalina Street Avalon, CA 90704
Directions from the Casino: Walk south from Casino way to Crescent Avenue. Turn right towards Catalina Island Museum and Make your way to Catalina Avenue and find the Lobster Trap.
Open: 11am – Late
The lobster roll trend isn’t lost on Catalina, if by “lobster roll” you mean a pile of delicious lobster salad on a giant wheat roll — a sandwich big enough to feed two people. It’s a staple at this rowdy, colorful spot, and also makes a perfect meal to take away for the ferry ride back to the mainland. Fans flock here for seafood pastas, clam chowder, oysters Rockefeller and friendly service.
Address: 1 St. Catherine Way
Directions from Casino: Walk North from Casino Way to St. Catherine Way. Descano Fresh is located 200m from the Casino.
This little ice cream parlor in the Descanso Beach Club area features handmade frozen treats, and this being the beach, some even have booze in them. There’s a flavor made with Bailey’s Irish Cream and espresso that’s studded with big chunks of donuts. A super-cute nonboozy flavor is the Salty Garibaldi, a blue salted caramel ice cream studded with orange crispies — it’s supposed to look like the orange garibaldi fish you see swimming along the shoreline of the island.
Address: 509 Crescent Ave, Avalon, Catalina Island, CA 90704
Directions from the Casino: Walk south from Casino way to Crescent Avenue. Turn right towards Catalina Island Museum and Make your way to Catalina Avenue and find Luau Larry’s.
Open: 9am – 130am
Just steps from the beach, Luau’s offers breathtaking views of the harbor in a lively, fun tropical setting. Luau’s is an American Restaurant and bar.
Maggie’s Blue Rose
Address: 417B Crescent Avenue, Avalon, Catalina Island,
Directions from the Casino: Walk south from Casino way to Crescent Avenue. Turn right towards Ruth Mayer Fine Arts and Make your way to Summer Avenue and find Maggie’s Blue Rose.
Open: 8am – 10pm
Maggie’s Blue Rose for Great Maxican food in Avalon on Catalina Island California.
Where To Stay:
(Beach Hotels) The Avalon Hotel
Address: 124 Whittley Ave, Avalon, Catalina Island, CA 90704
The Avalon is one of Santa Catalina Island’s premier hotels. Discover an environment of understated elegance, where luxurious bedding, unique artwork and hand-crafted hardwoods and tile combine to create an enchanting experience.
(Beach Hotels) Pavilion Hotel
Address: 513 Crescent Ave., PO Box 737, Avalon, Catalina Island, CA 90704
Creating a new style on Avalon Bay is the Pavilion Hotel. Enjoy luxury accommodations, just steps from the beach. Set in an elegantly landscaped tropical garden, this beach side hotel will have you relaxing in the cool ocean air in your semi-private courtyard lanai.
(Beach Hotels) Hotel Vista Del Mar
Address: 417 Crescent Ave., Avalon, Catalina Island, CA 90704
One of Catalina Island’s best-loved hotels, Hotel Vista Del Mar is recognized as one of Avalon’s leading hotels with gracious island hospitality, thoughtful amenities and distinctive Mediterranean charm.
(Luxury) Hotel Villa Portofino
Address: 111 Crescent Avenue, PO Box 127, Avalon, Catalina Island, CA 90704
Hotel Villa Portofino carries on the traditions of a European seaside resort with high quality standards, personalized service and a relaxed Mediterranean charm.
(Affordable) Hotel St. Lauren
Address: 231 Beacon St, Avalon, CA 90704, United States