7 Insane Travel Hacks For Your Visit to Catalina Island This Winter!

Hey there, fellow wanderlusts! If you’re craving a getaway that combines thrilling experiences coupled with relaxation, look no further than Catalina Island. As a local, I want to give you the inside scoop on how to conquer the island like we do. So, let’s dive right into these seven travel hacks to make your Catalina Island adventure one for the books.

Want the place to yourself?
First things first, timing is everything. Catalina Island offers a unique experience year-round, but if you like it a bit quieter and truly relish solitude, consider visiting during less crowded seasons, like late fall and winter. Since Catalina Island is a mild subtropical climate, you will enjoy warmer year-round temps and little rain, making it safer to travel any time of year. Just think, stunning landscapes and exciting activities all to yourself; you are already winning.

Smart Packing
Under packing, especially on the island, with only some cute t-shirt and bathing suit shops, will leave you high and dry if not prepared, so it’s better in this instance to have too much than not enough! Since Catalina Island is all about adventure and relaxation, pack accordingly, especially if you are spontaneous. Now that thought might seem obvious, but most people are surprised at all the options for adventures just in Avalon. Case in point, the zipline only allows closed-toed shoes, and the Hermit Gulch hiking trail should be traversed in trail hiking boots preventing rolled ankles. Some beaches in Avalon have sand, and flip-flops are appropriate, and others have stones, so water shoes are best. So include comfortable footwear for hiking and beachcombing, swimwear for unplanned post-hike dips, and a versatile wardrobe for both laid-back souvenir shopping and fancy dinners. Don’t forget a lightweight jacket that can easily be stuffed in a backpack for those cloudy days.

Efficient Island Transportation
Getting around Avalon is a breeze because the town is only 1 square mile. You can easily explore all of Avalon and some of the interior on foot. But for a different view, rent a bicycle or an E-bike. It’s the perfect way to go up and down each street and enjoy all the tiny homes built in the 30s. Each unique in their own way and totally worth checking out. Golf cart self-guided tours are another option when your feet aren’t interested in walking. Grab the map and follow it closely so you don’t miss stunning vistas and surprise lookouts over the harbor. Absolutely breathtaking and not to be missed.

Hidden Gems
While Avalon is fantastic, don’t forget to explore the island beyond the main hub. Two Harbors, situated on the west end, offers a slower pace atmosphere and is perfect for a day trip, although they do have a small campground with both tent space and A-frame accommodations if you want to stay overnight. Little Harbor on the south side of the island is another hidden gem, known for its beautiful beach and a favorite of the locals and surf enthusiasts. These spots are less crowded and ideal for solo travelers seeking serenity. To get there, take the Catalina Express from Long Beach or San Pedro to Two Harbors direct. If you are already in Avalon, take the Cyclone high-speed boat when in season or the inner island tour offered by the Santa Catalina Island Co.

Hiking Thrills
Santa Catalina Island is a hiker’s paradise with breathtaking trails of all skill levels. The best part is they are just right out your door. If you are up for a REAL challenge, think about tackling the Trans-Catalina Trail, a strenuous but rewarding experience. This trail takes several days with camping along the trail, so careful planning before attempting is advised. Trail maps can be found at the Catalina Nature center up the canyon near the Catalina Island Botanical Garden or any of the Catalina Island Conservancy kiosks in town. Check with the Nature Guides at the nature center to confirm trail conditions during the winter months. Some trails have only partial cell service, so be prepared and stay safe. All trails have zero amenities, so bring water, toilet paper, and snacks if heading out on a longer hike.

Water Activities
For those who crave aquatic adventures, Catalina won’t disappoint. Water sports change in the off-season. Parasailing, deep-sea fishing, snorkeling, and scuba diving run year-round and truthfully become even better with the water clarity in wintertime. Kayaking and paddleboarding rental shops can be found inside the harbor year-round as well. Up for learning a new skill? Check out spearfishing and take your fresh catch to the local restaurants for cooking.

Squeeze in relaxation
With your action-packed itinerary, you might find yourself needing a vacation from your vacation. Catalina Sea Spa is the ultimate destination for unwinding and shouldn’t been passed over. Nestled in the heart of Avalon just ½ block from the beach, the spa offers a range of services from soothing massages to rejuvenating packages. The well-appointed treatment rooms and expert therapists ensure you leave feeling completely refreshed and ready to jump back into the rest of your vacation.

With these seven travel hacks, you’ll be all set to explore Catalina Island like a pro. Balance thrilling adventures with moments of relaxation, and you’re bound to have an unforgettable experience. Catalina Sea Spa is the perfect finale to your journey, allowing you to recharge to get back out there and hit it!