Catalina Island

Photo of Catalina Island

About Catalina Island

Just 22 miles off the coast of Southern California, Santa Catalina Island — generally known as Catalina Island — feels like a world unto itself. Clear blue skies framing a rocky coastline and striking seas bring to mind the Mediterranean, and Catalina Island has romance in spades. Accommodation options range from simple B&Bs to swish seaside hotels fit for a whole host of tastes and budgets. Whilst many of the best places to stay on Catalina Island are clustered around the main town of Avalon, we do have a favourite hideaway in tiny Two Harbors, which is especially popular with sailors.

The island’s unique ecosystem has long been a significant draw for visitors, with 80% of the area protected by the Santa Catalina Island Conservancy. This protection extends into the surrounding waters, which are a haven for snorkelers and scuba divers. Casino Point — named for the famous casino built by William Wrigley Jr, who once owned the entire island — is a top diving site. You’ll find a movie theatre, ballroom and the Catalina Island Museum at the casino itself.

Spend your days exploring the island’s waters by sailboat or kayak, or take the whole family out in a glass-bottomed boat to catch a glimpse of underwater life. Back on land, you can wind your way along the walking and cycling trails which criss-cross the interior. There’s also a great golf course, wonderful beaches for strolls and sunbathing, and some superb seaside restaurants.

The best places to stay on Catalina Island fill up fast during the summer months. Travel during the autumn for slightly cooler weather and fewer crowds.

The Best Places to Stay on Catalina Island

For a Cosy B&B

  • Banning House Lodge is a cosy B&B on the edge of Two Harbors, with beautiful ocean views in a tranquil setting. A Craftsman-style lodge, the residence has 12 guestrooms, with space for couples, friends or families. Charming.

For Families or Groups

  • Pavilion Hotel sits just opposite the beach and is the perfect pick for active travellers looking to spend their days boating, swimming, surfing and fishing before kicking back around the hotel's fire pits. Brilliant for families or groups of friends, and well-located in Avalon.
  • Zane Grey Pueblo Hotel is a landmark hillside hotel overlooking Avalon and the harbour. Recently renovated, this 1926-built gem has exquisite interiors and flexible room options, including romantic suites, big bedrooms with space for children, and a penthouse which sleeps 7 people. The heated swimming pool will be a hit with guests of all ages.
  • Hotel Metropole is an indulgent hotel with space for couples, friends or families, close to Avalon's seafront. The two-bedroom beach house is great for groups or those travelling with little ones, and there's even an onsite spa. Speak to the team about organising family-friendly activities on land and sea.

For Couples

  • Snug Harbour Hotel is an appealingly intimate six-bedroom spot with pretty Cape Cod-themed interiors. The ideal Avalon pad for couples, the hotel offers in-room breakfasts, superb sea views, cosy fireplaces and evening wine and hors d'oeuvres. Very romantic.
  • Hotel Atwater was built by the Wrigley family in 1920, and retains elements of its original Art Deco style. Now a swish property with bright pops of colour and leafy interiors — and some suites have striking sea views — this is a great pick for design-minded couples. The central Avalon location means that there's heaps to do on your doorstep, and you can expect complimentary champagne on arrival!


  • If you'd prefer a self-catering option, we suggest that you visit our online partner Booking.com.

Travel Information

  • Fly to Los Angeles International Airport, and take a 15-minute helicopter ride or hour-long ferry across to Catalina Island.
  • California is brilliant for a road trip! Contact our online partner Rentalcars if you would like to hire a car.
  • Catalina Island is a year round destination, but warmer seas mean that summer is the most popular time to visit. Autumn, on the other hand, is known as 'the secret season' amongst locals — it's still warm, but the crowds have gone.



Monthly Weather in Catalina Island

Best Hotels in Catalina Island

  • Banning House Lodge Catalina Island 12 rooms from £160

    Total relaxation  -  A tranquil environment works perfectly for those looking for a quiet place to rest, read, relax & enjoy the scenery
    Local exploring  -  A great base for those looking to do a few sightseeing tours of the island at a leisurely pace
    Back to Nature  -  Surrounded by palm trees, rural land and walking distance to coves, beaches & hillsides
    Kayaking  -  Equipment available at the lodge for guest use includes kayaks, mountain bikes, paddleboards, SCUBA & snorkelling gear
    GardenViewsParkingNo pets

    An early 20th-century summer home converted into charming sea-view B&B. Built on an intimate scale, the Craftman's style lodge offers plenty of shared relaxation areas & has a homely feel. Views from rooms & terraces overlook Two Harbours & surroundings. Rustic & relaxed pied-à-terre for exploring. See More

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  • Pavilion Hotel Avalon, Catalina Island 71 rooms from £187

    Fishing  -  Fly fishing boat trips are popular and readily avaliable.
    Diving  -  SNUBA dive experience is the one.
    Local markets  -  Atwater for markets and shops.
    Air conditioningGardenViewsParkingNo pets
    Recommended by  -  CN Traveller

    A nautical setting in manicured tropical gardens on the sea front. A dreamy film set town mirrored in the light rooms with all mod-cons, private bathrooms and breakfast. Restaurants, pool and spa treatments close by. Water sport activity heaven: sailing to surfing, boating and swimming. See More

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  • Hotel Atwater Catalina Island 95 rooms from £205

    Local exploring  -  Perfectly situated in the heart of the historic downtown, close to the starting point of most local tours plus sites & beaches
    Beach Life  -  Guests have access to Descanso Beach Club, a stunning private beach with cabanas, food service & live DJs
    City Style  -  Combines on-trend interior design & technology with reassuringly established feel
    Kayaking  -  Organise a kayaking excursion or spend the day on a submarine as part of a Catalina Island Undersea Expedition
    Air conditioningDisabled accessViewsParkingNo pets

    Art Deco-era hotel minutes from Avalon ferry terminal. Island decor combines a fresh colour palette, a light airy feel & ocean-inspired touches; certain rooms boast fab sea views while all feature super modern bathrooms. Offers breakfast as well as endless dining options nearby. A classic choice. See More

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  • Zane Grey Pueblo Hotel Avalon, Catalina Island 16 rooms from £218

    Groups  -  The penthouse works well for families or friends with three bedrooms, four private balconies, living room & kitchen
    Honeymoons  -  Expansive Honeymoon Suites come with romantic fireplaces & stunning outdoor terraces with some of the best views
    Historic  -  Built in 1926, the property cleverly combines an iconic past with impressive contemporary feel & amenities
    Views  -  Perched above the village and facing the ocean, this property is all about amazing views
    Air conditioningSwimming PoolGardenDisabled accessViewsNo pets

    Stunning boutique hotel with a prime ocean-facing location overlooking Avalon's town, beach & harbour. Seriously spacious rooms & suites blend contemporary cool with classic homely touches. A heated pool, sea-view breakfast & panoramic terraces offer the perfect holiday package. Ideal for couples. See More

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  • Hotel Metropole Catalina Island 52 rooms from £244

    Groups  -  Stunning two-bed Beach House offers ideal set-up for friends. Enjoy panoramic views, living room, kitchen & entertainment deck
    Romantic Break  -  Just what you want to come back to; romantic suites boast fireplaces, spa tubs, fluffy robes & sea-view balconies
    Local exploring  -  Wonderful location steps from the beach with killer views, yet nestled within the town's entertainment hub
    Spa  -  On-site day spa offers range of relaxing massages, facials & body treatments - plus a range of competitive packages
    Air conditioningSpaRestaurantDisabled accessViewsNo pets

    Elegant sea-front property steps from the water. Contemporary rooms & suites feel fresh & airy; look out over the ocean or cuddle up in front of cosy fireplaces. Enjoy the cafe, day spa, rooftop terrace with a hot tub plus shops on the doorstep. Perfect beach base for exploring the island. See More

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  • Snug Harbor Inn Avalon, Catalina Island 6 rooms from £254

    Local exploring  -  Located in the heart of town meaning the beach, restaurants, shops & sites — as well as ferry terminal — are all metres away
    Romantic Break  -  Rooms offer ideal conditions for romance; think fireplaces, spa tubs & high-thread counts
    Sailing  -  The island's water-based activities include everything from diving, fishing & snorkelling to underwater submarine excursions
    Great walks  -  Enjoy great veiws over Avalon after a quick climb to the top of the Buena Vista Point Scenic Overlook
    Air conditioningViewsNo pets

    Cape Cod-themed upmarket B&B located on Avalon waterfront. Each well-appointed room boasts its own fireplace & spa tub plus window seats for enjoying sea & town views. Take breakfast in bed or venture out to endless choices on the doorstep. A tranquil grown-up option designed for couples. See More

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