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Catalina Island.

Top Catalina Island Attractions

The first time you visit Catalina Island, or any new destination, the question asked isn’t usually what attractions should be scene but what attraction to see first, what to expect, how to get there, and how much time is needed. We’ve provided tips, advice, and other information about the top tourist attractions in Catalina Island to help with your itinerary planning.

Golf Courses Golf Courses
Golf Gardens Golf Gardens
Jeep Eco Tours Jeep Eco Tours
Wrigley Memorial Wrigley Memorial
Catalina Island Museum Catalina Island Museum
Catalina Island Museum Catalina Adventure Tours
Catalina Island Museum Snorkeling Catalina

Catalina Island Golf Course

 Address 1 Country Club Drive
 Hours Open daily
 Admission Greens fees: $25 on weekdays and $45 on weekends
 Phone 310-510-0530

The modestly challenging nine-hole course (with two sets of tees for 18-hole play) is on the site believed to be California’s first golf course (around 1892). It’s a long, narrow and hilly course with beautiful views from all holes. Tiger Woods and other golf pros have played in tournaments here, but it’s a public course. Players are largely vacationers and couples on romantic weekends. That makes play somewhat casual and sometimes slow. Cart and golf club rentals are available. There’s a professional on staff for lessons.


Golf Gardens

 Address 10 Island Plaza
 Hours Open year round, weather permitting. Hours vary.
 Admission Fees: $7, adults, $4, children 8 and under
 Phone 310 -510-2300

If you or your family are more geared towards miniature golf, Golf Gardens is known as one of the most challenging and beautiful 18-hole miniature golf courses found anywhere. The heavily-treed site is in a garden setting. There’s a variety in elevations. The course also features tricky uphill shots. Children will particularly enjoy the numerous tunneled shortcuts where balls come out in unexpected directions.


Jeep Eco Tours

 Phone 310-510-2595

Catalina Island’s only full-custom tour allows you to explore the area via an open-air vehicle. Trained guides take you to back roads to find beautiful beaches, broad valleys, isolated coves and 2,000-foot-high hills. Drivers explain why scientists and naturalists consider the island an ecological treasure. While skirting the island’s rugged coastline, participants might see wildlife that includes bald eagles. Also in view: the shy Santa Catalina Island Fox and the Beechey Ground Squirrel, both endemic. Rare plants, some unique to the island, and historical and archaeological sites going back almost 7,000 years are also among the sights. Prices vary with three options ranging from a three-hour, non-chartered tour for $98 to a private, full-day tour for up to six people, snacks included, for $795. The non-profit Catalina Island Conservancy operates the tours and profits go to a good cause: helping to preserve Catalina Island for future generations.


Wrigley Memorial and Botanical Gardens

 Address Located one and a half miles up Avalon Canyon Road
 Hours Open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
 Admission $5, children under 12 are free
 Phone 310-510-2595

This 37-acre garden features many California plants that are found nowhere else in the world. Many of the plants are extremely rare and some are on the Endangered Species list. Not all of the plants here are native to California and in recent years, the temperate marine climate of Catalina has allowed horticulturists to showcase plants from every corner of the earth. Visitors can take a pleasant walk to the park, passing the area’s golf course, the Hermit Gulch campground and horse stables. On hotter summer days, visitors might want to rent a golf cart. With its commanding view of Avalon Bay, the Wrigley Memorial is the centerpiece of the Botanical Garden, which was built in 1933. Much of the concrete memorial comes from local quarries. The idea was to use as much native Catalina materials as possible. The decorative red roof tiles and colorful handmade glazed tiles used for furnishings came from the Catalina Pottery plant.The garden honors the memory of William Wrigley Jr. He was best known as the founder of the chewing gum company. But he loved the island, playing an important part in its development by building numerous public utilities, new steamships and a hotel. He also played an instrumental role in ensuring the island would always be ecologically protected.


Catalina Island Museum

 Address 1 Casino Way
 Hours Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., year-round. Closed Thursdays from January to March
 Admission Cost is $4 for adults and $1 for children under 16
 Phone 310-510-2414

The museum here has an amazing 150,000 items, portraying the island’s history back to the earliest Indian settlers and up to the many celebrities who made Catalina a glittering retreat. Items also portray the island’s geology, plants and animal life. There are colorful tiles from the well-known Catalina Pottery. Twice a week, the museum offers a chance to see the famous Avalon Ballroom and Avalon Theater during a “Tile Walking Tour” that makes stops all over town to show off the island’s various colorful tiles. Visitors should note they need to reserve a place for the museum’s special events and the “Tile Walking Tour.” Some of the best souvenir bargains on the island can be found at the museum, which is known for its great reproductions of Catalina tiles, salt and pepper shakers, mugs, glass art, stuffed toy animals of local wildlife, and books on island history and culture.


Catalina Adventure Tours

 Address Catalina Adventure Tours
 Hours Open every day
 Admission Prices vary
 Phone 310-510-2888

This company started out simply almost two decades ago with a glass bottom boat tour. The 26-passenger vessel gave guests a look at what’s under the water in Avalon Bay. Later, the company added fish feeding capabilities from every viewing area so passengers could watch fish dining out. Since then, Adventure has added many tours to complement its 45-minute glass bottom boat rides. For example, visitors can ride a submarine designed to look like the US Nautilus, America’s first nuclear powered submarine. The sub has a fish food feeding system with torpedo buttons so passengers can feed the fish themselves without getting up from their seats. Night cruises are also available, offering an entirely different cast of night feeders that include sharks, lobsters and even seals. Other outings include an “Inside Adventure Tour,” the company’s most comprehensive look at the island from a luxury tour bus. There’s also a one-hour, 45-minute “City/Botanical Garden Tour” and an “Avalon Explorer Tour” that traces the island’s history with stops at the Interpretive Center and the Catalina Museum.


Snorkeling Catalina

 Address 107 Pebbly Beach Rd
 Admission Prices start at $40
 Phone 877-510-3175

Catalina is one of the most popular dive destinations in California and often rated among the top anywhere in the US. Water temperatures vary seasonally from a low of 56 degrees F to a high in the lower to mid-70s F. Divers find sheltered coves, underwater cliffs and caves that offer a variety of ship wrecks. Another attraction for divers is an abundant variety of marine life. Snorkeling Catalina offers two and four hour snorkeling and dolphin trips. The snorkeling trips leave daily at 11:15 a.m., 1:15 p.m., and 3:15 p.m. Reservations are recommended.


Catalina Island Travel Guides
 Frommer's Catalina Island
 Lonely Planet Catalina Island
 Let's Go Catalina Island
 Fodors Catalina Island