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Catalina Island Transportation Guide

Catalina Island transportation options range from ferry boats to helicopters. Getting there is half the fun! Once on the island, no cars are allowed, so your choices are to walk, ride a bike, rent a motorized golf cart or take a tour bus or taxi. If you want to get to the isthmus/Two Harbors area, there is bus service. Some ferries go there as well. 

avalon harbor and boats in catalina island californiaApproaching Catalina Island

How To Get To Catalina Island

In general, the faster you want to get to Santa Catalina, the more you'll have to pay. Some enjoy a long slow ride at sea, but others may prefer to maximize their time on the island itself. It is 22 miles from the mainland.

By Sea:

There are a few companies that offer ferry transportation to the island, which takes around an hour. The places these ferries leave from are:

  • San Pedro
  • Long Beach
  • Newport Beach
  • Dana Point

If you want to go directly to Two Harbors, you can do that from San Pedro. Or you can take a ferry between Avalon and Two Harbors.

Catalina Express is the ferry that leaves from San Pedro, Long Beach and Dana Point. They have multiple daily rides. 310-519-1212

Catalina Flyer is a very large catamaran that will get you there in 75 minutes. It leaves from Newport Beach on the peninsula.  949-673-5245

Several cruise ships stop at Catalina Island as a Port of call. They anchor offshore and passengers take a smaller tender to the Green Pleasure Pier in Avalon.

By Air:

You can take a Catalina Island helicopter for a quick 15 minute trip. Helicopters leave from:

  • San Pedro
  • Long Beach
  • Burbank Airport (28 minutes)
  • John Wayne Airport in Orange County (18 minutes)

IEX (Island Express) offers service to Catalina for $135-$612 plus tax each way, depending on where you leave from, the cheapest and quickest leave from Long Beach.  It drops you off at a landing pad less than a mile from Avalon. From there you can take a cab into town for an extra charge. Call 310-510-2525.

To vary your Catalina Island transportation experience and enjoy multiple views, you could consider taking the ferry over and flying back via helicopter. Or do some variation of that, as long as you return to the same terminal where your car is parked! 

Of course there are also other ways to get there, such as by private charter or by private boat or aircraft. 


Ways for getting around on the island itself includes golf carts, tour buses, cabs, bicycles and boats. The city of Avalon operates a transit bus. Get info here.

golf carts on Catalina IslandGolf carts on Catalina Island

Safari Bus can take you to Two Harbors, the airport, Avalon or the Black Jack Junction trailhead. 310-510-4205

Catalina Transportation Services offers taxi service on the island. They also offer limo rentals. In the summer they run an Avalon trolley. 310-510-0025

In addition, there are golf cart rentals, shore boats, pedi cabs and more. The Green Pleasure Pier in Avalon has lots of information about local charters and tours.

> > Catalina Transportation

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