Check out a beautiful ode to the island’s founding father, William Wrigley, Jr. (yes, the gum guy), who was responsible for the development of Catalina. This garden and memorial is one of the most beautiful spots on the island—it’s just about a 30-minute moderate hike from the beach, but you can also there by renting a bike or via golf cart (more on that in a bit). At the memorial, you’ll be surrounded by 37 acres of botanical gardens that flourish with plants endemic to California and the Channel Islands—there’s a great view from the tower overlook, a structure built from quarried rocks culled from the island itself.
Once a getaway for Hollywood elites hoping to escape paparazzi, the best things to do on Catalina Island still tend to be rather low-key. That doesn’t mean Catalina flies under the radar—in recent decades, it’s become more of an open secret for everyday Southern Californians and visitors looking for a simple, relaxing vacation (with a handful of thrills, of course).
Cars are few and far between on the island, and just about everything is either walking distance or a short golf-cart-taxi-ride away. Whether you’re shooting for a family vibe, an outdoor sports experience, or just a laid-back hang, Catalina has something for everyone. You’ll find most of the action in Avalon (the main port town) and the small community of Two Harbors, while adventure awaits out in the island’s wild interior, too.
A daily ferry service is available from Long Beach, San Pedro, and Dana Point, although there's also a speedier (and pricier) helicopter option. Ready to explore? Here are the best things to do on Catalina Island.