How to Spend a Day on Catalina Island

Step into the life of the rich and famous on Catalina Island just miles off the coast of Los Angeles.  The moment you step off the ferry from mainland California, a deep blue harbor, quaint shops, hilltop homes and a grand casino nestled on the coast.  Bought by William Wrigley in 1919, this island was the home of spring training for the Chicago Cubs until 1951.  Its beauty and idyllic charm enchanted me, and I’m so excited to share my adventures on Catalina Island.

Catalina Island Los Angeles Houses
Catalina Island Day Trip Travel

Getting to the Island

Although worth it, the journey to the island is a considerable hike.  Be sure to allow ample time to travel to and spend a day on the island.  There are several ports from which you can depart on mainland California: Dana Point, Long Beach or San Pedro.  Unless you are staying on the west side of the island called Two Harbors, be sure to book your ferry tickets to Avalon.  Two Harbors only has a restaurant, bar, snack shop and store—that’s it.  Avalon offers much more to do, and that’s where I spent my day (and where everything in this post is located).

Catalina Island Shop Avalon
Catalina Island Life California
Catalina Island California LA Round Trip Travel
Catalina Island Avalon Paddle Board


We grabbed an early dinner at Coyote Joe’s Restaurant and Bar and ate fajitas on the patio.  The complimentary chips and salsa were icing on the cake to this Mexican dive.  Afterwards, we wove in and out of the cute shops lining the main street lining the coast until we stopped at Lloyd’s of Avalon for a spot of ice cream.  In addition to ice cream, this cute little shop was filled with a crazy amount of chocolate and candy.

Coyote Joe's Restaurant Catalina Island California
Lloyd's of Avalon Ice Cream Catalina Island California

The Casino

The Catalina Casino is the gem of the island, but this $2 million building never been a place of gambling since its opening in 1929.  I took the Discover the Casino tour, a 45-minute guided walk through the massive casino.  This tour provided a great and interesting history lesson as we strolled through the casino’s theater and ballroom.  We learned from this tour that stars from Marilyn Monroe and Harry Houdini to Zac Efron and Nicholas Cage have spent time on this island.  Definitely worth the price and time!  My favorite part was the huge ballroom and the gorgeous views of the island from way high up.

Santa Catalina Island California Beach
Catalina Island Coast Line California Ferry
Catalina Island Casino Postcard Ocean
Catalina Casino Theater California
Catalina Casino Ballroom California
Catalina Casino Avalon Ballroom
Catalina Casino Island Los Angeles
A Trip to Los Angeles California Santa Monica Catalina Island Travel.png

I’d never heard of Catalina Island before this trip, but I fell in love with it during my day stay.  Its stunning views and change from fast-paced L.A. make it the perfect getaway

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