GETTING TO CATALINA ISLAND
& Descanso Beach Ocean Sports (DBOS)
Cross-channel boats are faster and more comfortable than the earlier days of travel and still part of the fun of getting to Catalina!
Catalina Island lies approx. 21 miles due south of San Pedro, the gateway to Los Angeles. There are three major boat companies that provide transportation to the island. You may access their web sites for schedules and information directly from our LINKS page. They leave from terminals in the South Bay (Marina del Rey), Los Angeles, Long Beach, Newport Beach and Dana Point. The closest ports (L.A. and L.B.) have the shortest travel times (just under an hour), but for an extra half hour of sea time, you may save a lot more driving time. Check with each company for directions to their terminals – also the Chamber of Commerce web site (also on our LINKS page) has detailed information including shuttle services from the airports.
Generally, the summer season has the most departures, both leaving the mainland and returning. You can make a whole day beginning with a 6:15 am departure from Long Beach and leave the island at 9pm.
It is very important to make your weekend travel reservations early, especially during the summer months. There are many excellent events planned for Avalon weekends from foot races to cultural events so check the Events Calendar (Chamber of Commerce Link) before planning your trip. Art Festival weekend in September, for instance, is extremely popular and hotels and boat transportation book up way ahead of time.
We work with a number of fine hotels offering cross-channel transportation/hotel packages. The hotel will book your boat and room and also a guided kayak tour. Check out our HOTEL PACKAGES page for more information. Once you’ve booked a kayak package, a call to us is an easy way to upgrade to a more lengthy kayak tour if you desire, additional charges payable when you arrive for your tour with us.
We are a short, enjoyable stroll through town away from the Cabrillo Mole Boat Landing where all the cross-channel boats tie up. You’ll notice the big, round Casino Building (Art Deco masterpiece built in 1929) which houses our Movie Theatre, Museum & local Art Gallery as you approach the island. It stands opposite the boat landing, and you’ll walk around the horseshoe-shaped bay ’til you get to this building, and then continue along the water’s edge for another couple of minutes and you’ll walk right into us at Descanso Beach. The Descanso Beach Club is a seasonal operation – opening each year around April and continuing through the October Jazz Trax festival. They feature an outdoor restaurant, beachside bar, famous evening BBQ’s (bring/grill your own entree & purchase their sumptious salad bar/ vegetable & potato side dishes for a fun meal), lockers, changing rooms, restrooms and beach rinse-off showers. Some summer weekends they have live musical entertainment as well.
We, on the other hand, are open year around (weather permitting) for snorkeling & kayaking rentals and guided natural history kayak tours. Come see us in the delightful off-season, when Avalon is less loved & more quiet. Nature awaits your discovery here, and our awesome crew is always happy to help you.