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Navigating Your Getaway to Catalina Island

This article was originally posted on on Sep. 13, 2020.

You will recognize your favorite destination when you arrive, but some things have changed.

Face coverings and social distancing are required in LA County and Catalina Island. If you’re traveling to Catalina Island via the ferry or the helicopter, you’ll be asked to wear a face covering in the terminal and the entire way over to Catalina Island. Ferries are operating at a limited capacity, to allow for social distancing and cleaning, so you’re asked to make reservations at least 24 hours in advance, perhaps more on weekends. With fewer travelers, there’s room to spread out. Get outside and enjoy the fresh ocean air on your journey over.

Due to the latest Los Angeles County restrictions which go into effect Wednesday, November 25 at 10:00 p.m., the Los Angeles Public Health Department has directed Catalina Express to close onboard galleys as well as prohibit the consumption of personal food and beverage items brought on board. Catalina Express continues to require everyone wear their mask while in the terminal, waiting to board and the entire trip on the vessel. Commodore Lounge seating that has been booked will be refunded upon checking in and treated as general seating until further notice.

Once you arrive on the island, whether at the ferry terminal, heli pad or Green Pleasure Pier, you’ll notice social distance markers and signs asking for face coverings to be worn. Shops, beaches, the Green Pleasure Pier, restaurants and activities are open. Face coverings are required along Crescent Avenue, along Casino Way, in shops, restaurants and activities; anywhere you’re around others. If sitting at the beach, you should stay with your group and maintain 6 feet distance from those not in your group. The waterfront is open for swimming, sand castle building, frolicking and water sports.

New Los Angeles County mandates (as of 11/25) call for restaurants to utilize take out. Just a handful of our restaurants are closed. You’ll find the majority of our restaurants are open with take out. Luau Larry’s, home of the Wiki Wacker, NDMK Fish House  and Coyote Joe’s are open daily. The new restaurant at the Holiday Inn Resort, The Cove Bar & Grill, has opened for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Antonio’s Cabaret is now serving breakfast in addition to lunch and dinner. The Metropole Marketplace offers meals from Coney Island WestThree PalmsCatalina Coffee & Cookie Co., Cafe Metropole and the M Restaurant. Check our Open Restaurants page for a complete list. 

Tours and Activities are operating with fewer guests to allow for social distancing. There are so many options for guests to enjoy. Take a hummer tour and explore Catalina Island’s vast interior. Get some air and catch the views on a parasail excursion. Rent a golf cart and explore the hills and winding roads around Avalon. Rent a kayak or SUP, or snorkel at Lovers Cove. Fly through the air on the Catalina Zip Line Eco Tour. Swing from the trees on the Catalina Aerial Adventure. Play a round of mini golf.

Take a scenic 30 minute boat ride to Two Harbors and explore Catalina Island’s west end village. Well known among boaters, it’s a great spot to explore on foot, sit beach-side or enjoy Catalina Island’s favorite cocktail, the Buffalo Milk. There are several spots to enjoy lunch or have a drink, just be aware that with recent mandates, food must be ordered when grabbing a cocktail.

If you really want to get away from it all, head for the hills. Our trails are open and all five of our campgrounds are open. Camp in Avalon at Hermit Gulch, in the heart of the interior at Black Jack, on the backside of the island at the secluded Little Harbor, in Two Harbors at Two Harbors Campground or at the remote west end of the island at Parsons Landing. There are also 17 primitive boat-in only campsites at locations between Two Harbors and Avalon.

Hotels, bed and breakfast inns and vacation rental companies are welcoming visitors. New things offered are touch-less check-in, enhanced cleaning protocols and delivered breakfast in lieu of a buffet. Due to state and county mandates, pools, spas and fitness centers may not be available at this time. Check with your accommodations for specific updates.

Find out more about What’s Open on Catalina Island. You can also send us a message on Facebook or Instagram, send us an email at, give us call at 310-510-1520 or stop into our Visitor Center located at the end of the Green Pleasure Pier.

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