Find an island escape right off the urban shore of Southern California by taking a quick ride aboard a Catalina Express ferry. Once on Santa Catalina Island, you can spend a day or more relaxing in the Mediterranean-like atmosphere; wildlife watching on the island’s interior; or scuba diving, kayaking, or fishing just offshore.
Trips to Catalina Island aboard the Catalina Express depart from San Pedro, Long Beach, and Dana Point on the mainland and take about an hour one way. All three mainland ports offer ferry service to the town of Avalon, while San Pedro also offers service to Two Harbors, a better choice for visitors wanting to hike or mountain bike the interior portion of the island. Explore Avalon at your own pace by downloading an audio guide for a leisurely, educational walk around town.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Catalina Express is one of the best ways to reach Catalina Island from the mainland.
- Book your roundtrip ferry service ahead of time to skip the lines at the port and guarantee your spot on the ferry.
- Remember to bring sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat, as it’s often sunny on the island.
- Both the San Pedro and Long Beach ports offer on-site restaurants.
- Ports and vessels are wheelchair and stroller accessible.
How to Get There
San Pedro and Long Beach ports offer the closest access from Los Angeles and Anaheim, California, while the Dana Point location is most convenient for travelers coming from South Orange County or San Diego. The easiest way to reach the ports is to drive or take a ride-sharing service or taxi.
When to Get There
Each Catalina Express port has its own schedule of departures, which often sell out during the summer and on holiday weekends. Weather on the island is best during spring and fall. The water can get choppy during the winter.
The Catalina Express Fleet
Catalina Express began operating in 1981. Today, the fleet comprises eight high-speed vessels, including four spacious catamarans. Passengers will find seating inside and on the outdoor upper deck and a full bar with snacks and refreshments on each ship.