How to Get to Catalina
Visitors have a range of transportation options for getting from the mainland to Catalina Island, including public ferries, helicopters, private boats and private airplanes. Helicopters and ferries depart from several ports in Southern California. Visitors will want to confirm their departure location, time, and date before travel, and allow ample time to find parking.
Catalina Island Ports:
Catalina Island is home to two ports, one in the popular resort town of Avalon, and one in the rural community of Two Harbors.
Most visitors arrive on this Southern California island in Avalon, where they will find small beaches, restaurants, hotels, boat rentals, and many more businesses catering to tourists. Two Harbors is a tiny resort village offering just one hotel, one restaurant, and a general store.
By Sea – Cross Channel Ferry Services
Long Beach Catalina Downtown Landing:
Take the 710 Freeway south into Long Beach. Follow signs to downtown and exit Golden Shore. Turn right at the stop sign, follow around to terminal on the right. Parking in the parking structure on the left.
Take the 110 Freeway south into San Pedro. Take the Terminal Island, Exit 47 ramp. Stay in the right lane, exit Harbor Blvd. Follow signs to Catalina Terminal, Berth 95, entrance across Harbor Blvd. If you’re coming from Long Beach you can take Ocean Blvd. west, cross over the Vincent Thomas Bridge, and take the Harbor Blvd. exit.
From Los Angeles – Take I-5 Freeway South & exit at Pacific Coast Highway.
From San Diego – Take I-5 Freeway North & exit at Beach Cities, Highway #1 off the ramp. Take a left at the signal, (Dana Point Harbor Drive) then left at Golden Lantern, which dead-ends at Dana Harbor parking lot
This Catalina Island ferry offers year-round passenger service to Catalina with up to 30 daily departures from ports in Long Beach, San Pedro and Dana Point. For boat information, directions, schedules and fares, visit www.catalinaexpress.com.
Catalina Flyer Passenger Service
The Catalina Flyer offers service from Newport Beach. For boat information, directions, schedules, fares and online ticket sales, visit www.catalinainfo.com.
Catalina Flyer Passenger Service Terminal at Newport Beach: Take the 405 Freeway to the 55 Freeway South. The 55 ends and becomes Newport Blvd, which ends and becomes Balboa Blvd. Travel 2 miles on Balboa Blvd. Turn left on Main St. for the terminal at the Balboa Pavilion or turn right on Palm Street for long-term parking.
By Air – Cross Channel Flights
Island Express Helicopters
Visitors looking for a faster way to travel to Catalina can hop aboard the Island Express for a 15-minute flight to Catalina.
Island Express Helicopters operate a regular daily schedule of flights, 8 am -sunset, from Long Beach, near the Queen Mary. Or schedule on-demand charters departing from heliports in San Pedro, Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR) and John Wayne Airport (SNA) in Orange County. Reservations from Long Beach can be completed online on their website while all other departure points must be scheduled over the phone. Luggage is limited to 25 pounds per person; passenger weight will be needed for reservations. Contact Island Express Helicopters directly or call (800) 228-2566 for directions, fares, and reservations.
Long Beach – Queen Mary:
Take the 710 Freeway south into Long Beach. Stay to the right and follow all signs to the Queen Mary/Port of Long Beach. Enter the Queen Mary parking lot and keep to the right, following the signs saying heliport. They will take you to the last parking lot. Park on the right side and the offices are about 200 feet from the parking area.
San Pedro – World Cruise Center:
Take the 110 Freeway south into San Pedro. Take the Terminal Island, Exit 47 ramp. Stay in the right lane, exit Harbor Blvd. Follow signs to Catalina Terminal entrance across Harbor Blvd. If you’re coming from Long Beach you can take Ocean Blvd. west, cross over the Vincent Thomas Bridge, and take the Harbor Blvd. exit.
Airport in the Sky:
On a mountaintop, at the center of the island, there is a private airport newly renovated by the Marines and Navy in a $5 million project that resurfaced the landing strip and christened it the ACE Clearwater Airfield.
More commonly known as “Airport in the Sky,” (AVX) this one runway landing strip is open to the public for small plane flights, general aviation pilots and small charter flights. To contact them for flight options, call 310-510-0143.
To investigate direct charter flight service to Airport in the Sky on Catalina Island, check out Air Charter Advisors for more information on private flights.
Transportation from airport to Avalon is handled by the Wildlands Express Shuttle which is operated by the Catalina Island Conservancy. Private taxi service can also be arranged through Catalina Taxi and Tours. If you’d like to go from Avalon for a tour of the airport and experience Catalina island’s wildlife see the shuttle link above. Guided Eco Jeep Tours of the interior are also available through the Conservancy.
Services are limited at the airport but do include a small café and gift shop, DC-3 Gifts & Grill. Home of the famed Buffalo Burger.