Things To Do

Our Favorite Practically Free Things To Do

Laying on the Beach, Swimming and Snorkeling

Desconso beach is a private beach on the other side of the Catalina casino. The water is clean. They charge a small fee for entry. There is a restaurant and bar connected with it. We usually come here. There are complete modern restroom facilities.

Snorkeling in lovers cove in the kelp forest is very good. If you don’t have you own snorkeling gear, you can rent masks and flippers inexpensively, right at the cove.

You can fish off the green pier without a permit but please don’t bring the fish into our condo.


Catalina is a great walking village. You can walk anywhere easily. The city is set in a small valley and the mountains surrounding the village have trails. Check with the conservancy for local hiking trails, which range from easy to moderately difficult.

Some very interesting walks can be experienced just walking on the paved roads along the hillsides on both sides of Avalon. Walking to the right, in front of the condo complex, toward the beach, will take you to a road several doors away. Walk up this road, passing the pet cemetery and continue upward. You will eventually pass the entrance to the inn on mount Cda, and continue to a picture postcard view of Cvalon bay. From here you can continue walking and get a nice feel for the island as the road heads downhill to end at pebbly beach. The pebbly beach road takes you back to town and is a very nice waterside walk by itself. It’s a little over an hour round trip.

For another nice walk turn left on the front of the condo and continue along the next road until you reach an intersection. A sign will point to the country club and to the Wrigley cactus garden.

For a long walk into the hills, follow the country club road uphill and pass the country club building. This road will turn right at the canyon hotel and lead you through a nice residential neighborhood and nice views. The road will eventually head down to an intersection with a pocket park and bench. If you go left and uphill you will see the outskirts of the conservancy. This road circles above Desconso beach, passes the Wrigley bell tower, passes the Zane Gray house and ends where you started at the park and bench. Continue on this road down into town.

If you decide to walk toward the cactus gardens you will walk along the golf course, past a nature center, the hermits gulch campground and finally the extensive cactus garden with the Wrigley memorial.

As you face the memorial, on the right is a hiking trail that will eventually lead to a ridge where you can view both sides of the island at once. This is not an easy hike, however, so be warned.

All three of these walks are worth the effort. If you feel you are lost, just continue walking in the direction you are going and you will eventually come to something. It is a very small town. Be sure to bring water, wear sunshade and a hat.

If you are interested in off road hikes get a permit to hike into the conservancy from the catalina island conservancy 125 clarissa ave (310) 510-2595.

Sitting Around a Camp Fire

There is a fire pit in the hermit gulch campground and occasionally, in the summer, a camp ranger will tell tall stories. Be sure to bring marshmallows.

Our Favorite Things To Do That Cost A Little More

We like to hang out on the beach at Descanso by paying a small fee. You can swim out among the boats, snorkel a little, read a book or just relax. There are lifeguards, food, drink and all needed facilities here. The new restrooms are the best public facilities on the island.

Kayaks and Casino off seasonWe like to rent kayaks on Desconso Beach (310 510-1226) and then paddle along the coast of the island away from Avalon. Pack a lunch in a waterproof bag, beach the kayaks near Frog Rock or in some deserted cove and go for a swim. Bring your cell phone in a waterproof plastic bag in case of emergency. Sometimes, formal kayak tours are offered by the rental company – these are fun and worth considering.

There are no lifeguards and no bathrooms away from Descanso Beach.

We like to bicycle around Avalon. Bicycles are available for rent at Brown’s Bikes (310-510-0747). With a Conservancy permit, you can bike into the interior of the island. It costs a bit, but the Conservancy van can take you and your bikes up high into the Conservancy to Airport in the Sky. Unload your bikes, have lunch up there, watch the private planes land, then bicycle back down to Avalon. You’ll see buffalo along the way and some wonderful views.

Of course you can take a taxi to Airport in the Sky and walk back. The road is not flat but easily manageable and the scenery is good. Bring hats, sunscreen and bottled water.

Bike tours of the interior are available: (310) 913-1028

Electric Bike tours are available: (310) 510-0221

There are very few automobiles on the island and most people use golf carts for transportation. Some tourists enjoy renting a golf cart and driving themselves around the city. The rental agency will give you a map, which will take you along the roads we have suggested for walking. Catalina Island Golf Cart Rentals 635 Crescent (310) 510-1600; Cartopia Golf Cart Rentals 615 Crescent (310) 510 2493. You cannot take a golf cart into the interior of the island. They charge around $40.00 for an hour.

Yacht ClubIf you’d like to do some boating on your own, you can rent a small wooden skiff with an outboard motor from Joe’s Boats on the green pier. They won’t let you beach the boat anywhere but it can be fun to put put around and take a closer look at the boats and yachts moored in the bay.

A water taxi services the visiting boats from the very end of the Green Pier. Tell the boat operator you would like to ride along as they pick up passengers and see what they will charge. If you like boats, this is worth it.

Of course all the usual tourist stuff, paddleboards, pedal boats, etc., are available for rent the side of the bay and on the green pier.

Tennis courts information: (310) 510-1613

MC Casino


The Catalina Island Museum has a new home worth exploring. tracing the history of human occupation reaching back 8,000 years. Located in a large and impressive new building there is a permanent exhibition  of Catania Island History and temporary exhibits.  The museum has one of the best collections of old photographs of the island. The museum store stocks many books on the story of Catalina and the California islands as well as a classy collections of souvenirs. Catalina Island Museum 217 Metropole Avenue (310) 510-2414


Or you can just read a book. The Sugarloaf Books and Shades on Crescent carry a very small inventory of hardcover and paperback books in the back of the store, along with an assortment of magazines. You can also rent video’s here. There are Blu-ray players in both the living room and the bedroom of our condo.

At night, go to the movies. The Avalon Theatre, located in the casino building is a lovely 1929 Movie Palace with a working pipe organ. On Saturday evening, an hour before the film a concert on the pipe organ is usually given. It’s has a fabulous acoustical sound. They show the latest films. While the theatre is historic and old, the projection and sound equipment is state of the art. Pick up a copy of the Catalina Islander on the boat (free) and see the theatre ad to learn what film is playing. There is also a poster of the current movie on the beach next to the green pleasure pier. Showtime is 7:30PM and, sometimes 9:00PM

Things To Do That Cost Even A Little More

At the Country Club there is a golf course with nine holes. You play nine holes one way, then, turn around and play 9 holes back. (310) 510-0530.

There is a terrific old-fashioned miniature golf course just next to the tourist plaza.

Jet Skis are fun and available. An adult can operate one with a younger child on board but make certain the child is really watersafe and very comfortable falling into the water. (310) 510 2221.

ParasailingParasailing is available if you’d enjoy dangling under a parachute 400 feet in the air, pulled along by a speedboat. I do. (310) 510-9280; Another company: (310) 510-1777.

Catalina is a terrific place for Scuba Diving. If you are into this, bring your tanks and gear over. There are dive shops for air and repairs. But please don’t bring your tanks into the condo. Catalina Scuba Luv 1265 Catalina Street (310 510 2350); Catalina Divers Supply Green Pleasure Pier (310 510-0330); Dive Catalina with Ron Moore 107 Pebbly Beach Road (310 510 3175); Catalina Snorkel & Scuba 400 Pebbly Beach Road (310 510-8558).

Catalina is famous for world-class game fishing. Charters are available but let Avalon Sea food in the green pier clean and wrap your fish. Just don’t clean fish in our condo. Aficionado charters (323 447-4669); Memory Maker fishing charters (310 592-5988).

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