Catalina Island Without the Crowds: A Perfect Southern California Winter Holiday Destination

  • Somewhere Over the Rainbow

    Catalina Island, located a mere 22 miles off the Southern California coast, is a perfect winter travel destination. The summer crowds are gone, the atmosphere is crisp and clear, romance is in the air, and there are plenty of activities available. Do as much (or as little) as you like during a winter visit to this historic island paradise.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • Hollywood's Playground

    The city of Avalon has served as a favorite retreat for Hollywood stars for decades, owing no doubt to its convenient-yet-remote location, charming Old World ambiance and the striking natural beauty surrounding it. A short hike from the town’s center will take you to this iconic view of Avalon Harbor, which features the historic, Art Deco-styled Catalina Casino at its entrance.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • Let It Snow

    While you can’t ski on Catalina Island, you certainly can enjoy the views of the snow-covered San Bernardino mountain range looming in the distance from Avalon’s colorful shoreline.

    Photo courtesy of Tony DiBona

  • Explore Catalina Backcountry

    Venture into Catalina Island’s backcountry, by foot, bike, or jeep, and soak in magnificent views along the way. The Trans-Catalina Trail runs 37 miles from Avalon and will lead you along the rugged coast, through spectacular canyons, along mountain ridges with breath-taking panoramas to pristine beaches of incredible beauty.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • Find Your Zen

    Nurture your mind, body and soul at any one of the many spas that operate in Avalon. The Island Spa Catalina offers an extensive palette of unique treatments based on herbs indigenous to the island.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • Fly High on a Zip Line

    Soar over five consecutive zip lines to enjoy these spectacular views of the lush canyons and the blue Pacific Ocean. The runs will delight thrill-seekers, covering nearly 4,000 feet and including dizzying drops of nearly 300 feet - with speeds that sometimes hit 40 mph.

    Photo courtesy of Catalina Island Company

  • Eclectic Cuisine to Satisfy Any Taste

    Avalon may be a small town, but it boasts a big city foodie scene. Some 30 restaurants offer up a wide variety of cuisines to satisfy any taste. For seafood lovers, this is nirvana. Surf-to-table is the culinary mantra here.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • No Bull! Bison Roam Free on Catalina Island

    Catalina Island is famous for its majestic bison herds, supposedly brought to Catalina in 1924 for a Hollywood film shoot. They roam free today in the island’s backcountry, and while scarce, they can still be spotted along jeep, bike and hiking trails.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • Go Back in Time: Catalina Casino Theatre

    Winter is the perfect time to attend a concert at the famous Catalina Casino Theatre. The intricate Art Deco design and impeccable acoustics of this theatre enhance the enjoyment of any performance in this classic venue. The Catalina Casino hosts a yearly New Year's Eve gala that brings back the romance of yesteryear, featuring dance-worthy Big Band music as well as classic decor and cuisine reminiscent of another era.

    Photo courtesy of Tony DiBona

  • Snorkeler Heaven

    Catalina’s crystal-clear waters and wide variety of sea life (including the rare, bright orange Garibaldi fish) make this a snorkeler’s and kayaker’s paradise. The healthy kelp beds surrounding the island draw a wide variety of sea creatures that are unique to this island paradise.

    Photo courtesy of Tony DiBona

  • Famous Vintage Tiles

    U.S. chewing gum magnate William Wrigley, Jr. built a tile and pottery factory on a beach near Avalon in 1927, and the rest is history. The famous Catalina tiles and pottery can be admired in the Catalina Island Museum, as well as on the fountains and architecture that make Avalon such a magical and romantic destination.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • Local Culture

    Catalina Island prides itself on a multicultural population that can be traced over thousands of years. Colorful festivals that highlight various ethnic and social groups are held regularly throughout the year, and are popular with island residents and visitors alike.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • Pedal Pushers

    Whether you're an active backcountry mountain biker or a leisurely downtown cruiser, Catalina Island is truly a biker’s heaven. Their famous backcountry trails will delight and challenge you, and their picturesque downtown avenues will soothe and charm you. You're in for a treat either way.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • Raise a Glass

    When the sun goes down, visitors can enjoy raising a glass in any one of the town’s many pubs and restaurant bars.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • All Decked Out

    Not only the famous casino, but the entire town, gets decked out in colorful lights during the holiday season. It's a winter wonderland without the snow!

    Photo courtesy of Tony DiBona