Locals Guide: Top 4 ways to get to Catalina Island

Navigating Catalina Island Transportation: From Ferries, Helicopters, Private Planes, To Jet Skis
Catalina Island, with its stunning landscapes and the quaint town of Avalon, has long been a popular getaway destination for So. Cal locals and tourists alike. Accessing this enchanting paradise requires some thoughtful planning though, as the island offers a variety of transportation options. From bustling ferries to speedy helicopters, private planes, cross channel jet ski tour, Catalina Island’s transportation network is extensive considering its 26 miles into the Pacific Ocean. Let’s explore the various modes of travel available and some insider tips to make your journey smooth and enjoyable.

Catalina Express: A Gateway to the Island
When it comes to ferry services, Catalina Express takes the lead as the busiest passenger ferry provider to the island. With departure ports in Long Beach, San Pedro, and Dana Point, they offer the most daily round trips, ensuring you have options to fit your schedule. It’s worth noting that their ferry schedule changes quarterly, so a quick visit to their website will provide you with the most up-to-date Ferry schedule. https://www.catalinaexpress.com While parking can be a tad pricey ($19 a day) it’s a covered garage which offers protection for your vehicle against the elements so that’s a bonus. Insider Tip Alert: Opting for a drop-off by a friend or family member can help you save a few bucks and a traffic jam leaving the parking garage. 

Newport Flyer Boat: A Quaint Voyage
For those seeking a more leisurely pace, the Newport Flyer Boat provides a single round trip every day. However, bear in mind that parking is limited at this departure point. To make the most of your time, it’s recommended to arrive early to find a parking spot. https://www.catalinainfo.com Insider Tip Alert: The Newport flyer has food on the boardwalk right next to where you board so consider coming early to get a snack and secure your parking spot. 

Couples Retreat Massage

Catalina Sea Spa: Locationally Convenient 
Insider Tip Alert: Got time to spare before your departure from Avalon and unsure how to make the most of it? Enjoy relaxing and rejuvenating massages at Catalina Sea Spa www.catalinaseaspa.com just a block from the boat terminal and they will store your luggage during the massage. No appointment? No problem they gladly accommodate last-minute and walk-in bookings (310-510-8920) so hit them up on your way back to the boat. You can watch our latest video to learn more about our ✨Magic✨ Top 5 Reasons to Visit Catalina Sea Spa

Island Express Helicopter: Swift Aerial Getaway to Catalina
For those willing to splurge on both speed and breathtaking aerial views, Island Express Helicopter Service offers a convenient option. https://iexhelicopters.com/catalina With several round trips to the island daily and located just a mile outside of town in Avalon, the heliport is easily reached by taking a pleasant walk or a quick taxi ride. While this might be the priciest mode of commercial transportation, it’s also the quickest, whisking you away to the island in a mere 15 minutes from Long Beach. However, keep in mind that weather conditions play a significant role in helicopter operations, so it’s wise to call ahead and ensure they are operating at the time you want. Insider Tip Alert: While waiting for your chopper back to the mainland, indulge your taste buds at Buffalo Nickel, a Mexican restaurant located in the same parking lot – their Mexican pizza is a must-try!

Airport in the Sky: Where Adventure Begins 
For thrill-seekers that can enjoy a suspenseful landing, look no further than the Airport in the Sky. Nestled between an ocean cliff on one side and a steep valley, its runway promises a visually intense arrival with no room for error. Private planes come in Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas and all over the country to experience what is called the “$100 hamburger”. Pilots coined this phrase years ago but means the price of a hamburger and the cost of airplane fuel needed to get there (these days it would probably be closer to $200 hamburger but well worth the journey they say). Weather permitting, private planes frequent this airstrip. Insider Tip Alert: After a safe landing, indulge in delights from the on-site restaurant at https://airportintheskyrestaurant.com, including their famed warm cookies – a local must-try and don’t forget the burger. To reach Avalon, a 20-minute taxi ride awaits. For shuttle options, visit Wild lands Express or Safari Bus, you can reach them using this number (310) 510- 4205. Another option for a fitness enthusiast would be to bring your bike and bike mostly downhill on a paved road to Avalon. When ready catch a cab back. 

Jet Ski to the island: True thrill seekers
Jet Ski to Catalina Island! Experience the latest adventure from Long Beach to Catalina Island on a jet ski, a high-speed journey across the open ocean. This exhilarating day trip offers dolphin sightings, crystal-clear waters, and a ride back to Long Beach arriving at 3:30, making for an unforgettable experience. Whether you’re a jet ski enthusiast or a first timer, this is a unique way to explore the island’s wonders for sure. Things to keep in mind here is the weather and getting wet. https://www.jetski2catalina.com NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART!

Island Taxi Service: Your Convenient Companion
Should you require reliable transportation to and from the boat terminal in Avalon, the Island Taxi Service is at your service. Insider Tip Alert: If you have a passenger over 55 years old, consider signing up ahead of time for Dial-a-Ride. This fantastic offer provides a taxi trip for just $2, and anyone accompanying the eligible passenger can also enjoy the same reduced rate. Given that regular taxi fares on the island can be quite steep, this Dial-a-Ride deal is a smart way to keep transportation costs in check. From here DIAL-A-RIDE – Department of Public Works download the form and resubmit for approval (24hr). Make sure to call ahead to schedule with the taxi service so they know you are coming (310) 510-0342 or the deal won’t work.

 Catalina Island’s diverse transportation options cater to every traveler’s needs and preferences. Whether you opt for the bustling Catalina Express, the leisurely Newport Flyer Boat, the swift Island Express Helicopter, the adventurous Airport in the Sky, a 26-mile jet ski ride, and a convenient Island Taxi Service once on island, you’re sure to find a mode of transportation that suits your style. By following these insider tips, you can make the most of your journey, ensuring you arrive on the Catalina Island with a smile on your face and excitement for your wanderlust spirit. So, embark on your Catalina adventure and explore this captivating paradise from every angle – the journey is just as memorable as the destination!