Fun Things to Do in Catalina Island with Kids
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Fun Things to Do at Catalina Island with Kids

Catalina Island is a perfect destination for families with kids looking for a fun-filled vacation. With its stunning beaches, crystal clear waters, and a variety of activities, Catalina Island has something for everyone. Whether your family loves outdoor adventures, water sports, or simply relaxing on the beach, Catalina Island has it all. There are plenty…

Catalina Island is a perfect destination for families with kids looking for a fun-filled vacation. With its stunning beaches, crystal clear waters, and a variety of activities, Catalina Island has something for everyone. Whether your family loves outdoor adventures, water sports, or simply relaxing on the beach, Catalina Island has it all.

There are plenty of things to do in Catalina Island with kids. From exploring the island’s natural beauty to enjoying thrilling adventures, the island has something for every age group. Families can take a jeep eco-tour, go zip-lining, or enjoy a day at the beach. Kids can also visit the Catalina Island Museum for art and history, or stop by the arcade for some classic fun.

Here are my top 10 things you could plan to do with your kids at Catalina island:

  1. Beach Fun: Spend a day at the stunning beaches of Catalina Island, such as Descanso Beach, Lover’s Cove, Two Harbors Beach, and Pebbly Beach.
  2. Miniature Golf: Enjoy a classic family activity at the Catalina Island Golf Gardens, a challenging and fun miniature golf course.
  3. Wildlife Exploration: Explore the island’s native wildlife through activities like snorkeling, scuba diving, and kayaking in the kelp forest ecosystem.
  4. Gardens and Hiking: Visit the Wrigley Memorial and Botanic Garden for rare plant species and hiking trails with stunning views of the island.
  5. Descanso Beach: Relax on Descanso Beach while kids play in the sand and surf, with options for beachside dining and water sports rentals.
  6. Zip Line Eco Tour: Take a thrilling high-flying journey through the island’s rugged terrain with breathtaking views of the ocean and wildlife.
  7. Aerial Adventure: Challenge yourselves with rope ladders, log bridges, and zip lines at the Catalina Island Aerial Adventure course suitable for all ages.
  8. Glass Bottom Boat Voyage: Explore the underwater world of Catalina Island through a glass bottom boat tour showcasing the kelp forest ecosystem and marine life.
  9. Seawolf Semi-Submersible: Take a semi-submersible tour to witness native marine life like sea lions and dolphins in their natural habitat.
  10. Outdoor Adventures: Engage in outdoor adventures such as hiking over 165 miles of trails, snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, fishing from shore or on guided tours, and Jeep Eco-Tour to explore native plants and wildlife.

Getting to Catalina Island

If you’re planning a family trip to Catalina Island, getting there is part of the adventure. There are a few ways to get to the island, but the most popular options are by ferry or plane.

Ferry Ride

The easiest and most popular way to get to Catalina Island is by ferry. The Catalina Express is the most well-known ferry service, with several departure points including Long Beach, San Pedro, and Dana Point. The ferry ride takes about an hour, and the views of the ocean and the island are breathtaking.

a green building with a clock on the top of it

When traveling with kids, it’s important to note that the ferry ride can be bumpy, so it’s a good idea to bring some motion sickness medication just in case. Also, be sure to arrive at the ferry terminal at least 30 minutes before departure to allow time for parking and boarding.

Accommodations

When traveling with kids, finding the right accommodations can make or break a trip. Luckily, Catalina Island offers a variety of options to suit different needs and budgets. Here are some of the top accommodations for families visiting the island.

Hotels

For families looking for a more traditional hotel experience, the Pavilion Hotel is a great option. Located in the heart of Avalon, this hotel offers spacious rooms and suites with modern amenities, such as flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi. The hotel also features a heated pool and hot tub, as well as complimentary breakfast and afternoon wine and cheese receptions.

Another option is the Descanso Beach Club, which offers both hotel rooms and beachside cabanas. The cabanas are particularly popular with families, as they offer a private, shaded space to relax and play on the beach. The club also features a restaurant and bar, as well as water sports rentals.

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Camping

For families looking for a more adventurous experience, camping on Catalina Island is a great option. Two Harbors Campground is a popular choice, as it offers both tent and cabin camping options. The campground is located on the quieter, more remote side of the island, and offers stunning views of the ocean and surrounding hills. The campground also features a general store, showers, and restrooms.

Cabanas

For families looking for a unique and luxurious experience, the cabanas at Descanso Beach Club are a great option. These private, beachside cabanas offer comfortable seating, a mini-fridge, and a private server. Families can relax and play on the beach, while enjoying food and drinks delivered right to their cabana. Cabanas can be rented for a full day or half-day.

No matter what type of accommodation you choose, Catalina Island offers plenty of options for families looking to make the most of their trip. Whether you’re looking for a traditional hotel experience, a rustic camping adventure, or a luxurious beachside cabana, Catalina Island has something for everyone.

Activities for Kids

Catalina Island is a perfect destination for families with kids. There are plenty of activities to keep kids entertained and engaged throughout their stay. Here are some of the best activities for kids to enjoy on Catalina Island.

Beaches

Catalina Island has some of the best beaches in California, and kids will love spending time playing in the sand and surf. Descanso Beach is a popular spot for families, with chaise lounges, cabanas, and beachside dining available. Other great beaches for kids include Lover’s Cove, Two Harbors Beach, and Pebbly Beach.

woman lying on grass front of sea at daytime

Miniature Golf

Miniature golf is a classic family activity, and Catalina Island has a great course for kids to enjoy. The Catalina Island Golf Gardens is a challenging and fun course that will keep kids entertained for hours.

Wildlife

Catalina Island is home to a variety of native wildlife, including sea lions, dolphins, and the kelp forest ecosystem. Kids will love exploring the island’s natural wonders through activities like snorkeling, scuba diving, and kayaking.

Gardens

The Wrigley Memorial and Botanic Garden is a must-visit for families with kids. The garden features a variety of rare and endangered plant species, as well as hiking trails and stunning views of the island.

Descanso Beach

Descanso Beach is a great spot for families to spend the day. Kids can play in the sand and surf, while parents relax on chaise lounges and enjoy beachside dining. There are also plenty of activities available, including kayaking, paddleboarding, and snorkeling.

Zip Line Eco Tour

The Zip Line Eco Tour is a thrilling adventure that kids will love. The tour takes guests on a high-flying journey through the island’s rugged terrain, with stunning views of the ocean and wildlife.

Aerial Adventure

The Catalina Island Aerial Adventure is a great activity for families with kids. The course features rope ladders, log bridges, and zip lines, providing a fun and challenging experience for all ages.

Glass Bottom Boat Voyage

The Glass Bottom Boat Voyage is a unique way for kids to explore the island’s underwater world. The boat features a glass bottom, allowing passengers to see the kelp forest ecosystem and native marine life up close.

Seawolf Semi-Submersible

The Seawolf Semi-Submersible is another great way for kids to explore the island’s underwater world. The semi-submersible takes guests on a tour of the kelp forest ecosystem, with views of native marine life like sea lions and dolphins.

Outdoor Adventures

Catalina Island offers a variety of outdoor adventures for families with kids. Here are some of the top activities to try:

Hiking

Catalina Island has over 165 miles of hiking trails that offer stunning views of the island’s natural beauty. The Airport Loop Trail is a great option for families with kids, as it is an easy 2.5-mile loop that starts and ends at the airport. The trail offers panoramic views of the island and the ocean. The Trans-Catalina Trail is a more challenging option for experienced hikers, as it covers 38.5 miles of rugged terrain.

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Snorkeling and Scuba Diving

Catalina Island is a popular destination for snorkeling and scuba diving. The island’s clear waters offer excellent visibility, and there are plenty of colorful fish and other marine life to see. The Lover’s Cove Marine Preserve is a popular spot for snorkeling, as it is home to a variety of fish, sea stars, and other creatures. For scuba diving, the Casino Point Dive Park is a must-visit. It is a protected marine area that offers a unique diving experience.

Kayaking

Kayaking is a fun way to explore the island’s coastline and get up close to wildlife. The island’s calm waters are perfect for kayaking, and there are plenty of places to rent kayaks or take guided tours. The Descanso Beach Ocean Sports offers kayak rentals and tours, and the Two Harbors Dive & Recreation Center offers guided kayak tours.

Fishing

Fishing is another popular activity on Catalina Island. The island’s waters are home to a variety of fish, including yellowtail, calico bass, and barracuda. There are plenty of places to fish from shore, or you can take a guided fishing tour. The Catalina Island Fishing Company offers half-day and full-day fishing trips.

Jeep Eco-Tour

The Jeep Eco-Tour is a fun way to explore the island’s rugged interior. The tour takes you off-road to explore the island’s native plants and wildlife, as well as its history. You’ll see panoramic views of the island and the ocean, and you’ll have the opportunity to take photographs of the island’s stunning natural beauty. The tour is led by knowledgeable guides who will provide you with information about the island’s history and ecology.

In conclusion, Catalina Island offers a range of outdoor adventures for families with kids. From hiking and snorkeling to kayaking and fishing, there is something for everyone to enjoy. The Jeep Eco-Tour is a unique way to explore the island’s interior and learn about its history and ecology. Whether you’re a nature lover or an adventure seeker, Catalina Island is the perfect destination for your next family vacation.

Food and Drink

When traveling with kids, it’s important to have plenty of snacks and treats on hand. Luckily, Catalina Island has a variety of options to satisfy everyone’s cravings.

Restaurants

Catalina Island has a great selection of restaurants to choose from. For a casual meal, head to the Lobster Trap or the Sandtrap. For a more formal dining experience, try Avalon Grille or Steve’s Steakhouse. For breakfast, the Pancake Cottage is a local favorite.

Buffalo Milk

One of the most famous drinks on Catalina Island is the Buffalo Milk. It’s a creamy cocktail made with vodka, Kahlua, crème de cacao, and half-and-half. You can find it at most bars and restaurants on the island.

Gelato

If you’re looking for something sweet, head to Scoops Gelato. They have a variety of flavors to choose from, including classic favorites like chocolate and vanilla, as well as unique flavors like lavender and honey.

Taffy

For a classic candy treat, stop by Lloyd’s of Avalon. They have been making saltwater taffy on Catalina Island since 1934. They have a variety of flavors to choose from, including chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry.

Burgers

If you’re in the mood for a burger, head to Eric’s on the Pier. They have a variety of burgers to choose from, including a veggie burger and a turkey burger. They also have a great selection of fries and onion rings.

Drinks

If you’re looking for a refreshing drink, head to Luau Larry’s. They have a variety of tropical cocktails to choose from, as well as beer and wine. They also have a great happy hour, with specials on drinks and appetizers.

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Catalina Island History and Culture

Catalina Island has a rich history and culture that dates back to the early 1880s. Over the years, the island has transformed into a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors from all over the world. Here are some of the top places to visit on Catalina Island to learn more about its history and culture.

Catalina Casino

The Catalina Casino is a historic landmark that was built in 1929. It is not a gambling casino but rather a gathering place for entertainment and social events. The casino has a beautiful art deco style and features a ballroom, a movie theater, and a museum. Visitors can take a guided tour of the casino to learn about its history and architecture.

Catalina Island Museum

The Catalina Island Museum is an excellent place to learn about the island’s history and culture. The museum has several exhibits that showcase the island’s natural history, Native American culture, and the island’s transformation into a tourist destination. The museum also features a rotating exhibition that changes every few months, so visitors can always expect something new and exciting.

Island Plaza

The Island Plaza is a popular gathering place for locals and tourists alike. It is located in the heart of Avalon and features several shops, restaurants, and cafes. The plaza is also home to several events throughout the year, including concerts, art shows, and festivals.

Recreation

Catalina Island offers a wide range of recreational activities for visitors of all ages. Visitors can enjoy hiking, biking, snorkeling, kayaking, and paddleboarding. The island also has several golf courses, tennis courts, and a miniature golf course.

Exhibitions

Catalina Island is home to several exhibitions throughout the year that showcase the island’s history and culture. Some of the top exhibitions include the Catalina Island JazzTrax Festival, the Catalina Island Film Festival, and the Catalina Island Art Festival.

In conclusion, Catalina Island has a rich history and culture that visitors can explore through its many landmarks, museums, and events. Whether you’re interested in learning about the island’s natural history, Native American culture, or its transformation into a tourist destination, there is something for everyone on Catalina Island.

Relaxation and Wellness

Catalina Island is a perfect destination for relaxation and wellness. With its scenic beauty and serene atmosphere, it offers a perfect getaway for families with kids. Here are some of the best places to relax and rejuvenate on the island:

Spa Services

Catalina Island has several spas that offer a range of services to help you unwind and relax. The Island Spa Catalina is a full-service spa that offers massages, facials, body treatments, and more. The spa is located in the historic El Encanto building and features a eucalyptus steam room, a dry sauna, and a relaxation lounge.

Another popular spa on the island is the Spa at Descanso Beach Club. This spa offers massages, facials, and body treatments in a beautiful oceanfront setting. The spa also features a private outdoor hot tub and a relaxation area with ocean views.

Green Pleasure Pier

The Green Pleasure Pier is a great place to relax and enjoy the ocean views. The pier is located in Avalon and offers stunning views of the harbor and the surrounding hills. You can take a leisurely stroll on the pier or sit on one of the benches and watch the boats go by. The pier also has several restaurants and shops where you can grab a bite to eat or buy souvenirs.

Descanso Beach Club

Descanso Beach Club is a private beach club that offers a range of activities for families with kids. The club has a beachside restaurant and bar, a beach volleyball court, and a water sports center where you can rent kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, and snorkeling gear. The club also features a rock climbing wall, a zip line, and a scenic hiking trail that offers stunning ocean views.

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