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19 Fun & Best Things to Do on Catalina Island

Catalina Casino, Avalon Harbor, Santa Catalina Island

Located off the coast of Southern California, Santa Catalina Island (usually shortened to Catalina Island) is a fantastic destination for scuba diving, wildlife viewing, shopping, and relaxation. This 22-mile-long island is the southernmost island of California’s Channel Islands. If you only want to spend the day on Catalina Island, it’s a short one-hour trip via high-speed ferry from cities like Newport Beach, San Pedro, and Long Beach.

Although Catalina Island is small, there are many reasons to visit, whether you’re looking to stay for a day or a week. Located on the island’s north side is the small resort town of Two Harbors, which offers a relaxing vibe. However, most visitors flock to the city of Avalon on the island’s southeast side, which is famous for the palm-tree-lined Descanso Beach Club and the eclectic Catalina Island Casino. The famous Green Pleasure Pier in Avalon is a hub of activity, with the visitor center, tours, and restaurants.

Catalina Island has been a historic seaside tourist destination for over a hundred years, attracting celebrities, high-ranking government officials, and business leaders. It’s no surprise that the island is so famous, with its ocean adventures, recreational experiences, beautiful beaches, shopping, and hotels.

So, whether you’re visiting Catalina Island for a romantic day trip, a fun girls’ trip, hiking the Trans-Catalina Trail, scuba diving in Lovers Cove, or heading out for a family-friendly vacation, you’re in for a treat!


  • Most significant landmark – Catalina Casino
  • Best free activity – Snorkeling at Lovers Cove or Casino Dive Park
  • Best activity for kids – Mini Golf or Glass-Bottom Boat Tour
  • Best activity for adults – Zip Line Eco Tour
  • Best food – Descanso Beach Club
  • Best nightlife – Luau Larry’s
  • Best all-around accommodationZane Grey Pueblo Hotel

Fun Things to Do on Catalina Island

1. Visit the Famous Art Deco-Style Catalina Island Casino

Catalina Casino, Avalon Harbor, Santa Catalina Island
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Address: 1 Casino Way, Avalon, CA 90704

When approaching Catalina Island from the mainland, you can’t miss the Catalina Casino. As the most prominent building on the island, it’s Avalon’s most recognizable landmark.

Opened in 1929, the iconic casino has been a gathering place for entertainment, including Broadway productions, musicians, and special events. Although it’s called a casino, the building doesn’t have any slot machines…

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