Catalina Island has earned a reputation as "the island of romance" with over fifty miles of shoreline, secluded coves and dramatic scenery. The island is friendly, relaxed and can be explored easily on foot or by golf cart. The rich marine life and clear, calm waters make it a popular destination for fishing, snorkeling and kayaking. Catalina's most famous landmark, the 1929 Art Deco Casino, dominates the waterfront. Shops, restaurants and hotels stretch along Crescent Avenue and up into narrow streets dotted with bougainvillea-framed bungalows.

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  • Skyline Drive Historical Tour

    Follow a wonderfully winding road toward the center of the island, looking for wildlife on the approach to the Airport in the Sky, where you will browse the nature center.

    After departing from the pier, you will start following one of the island’s most scenic roads and soon leave the more than 100-year-old city of Avalon behind. The higher you ascend, the more spectacular and panoramic the views.

    The island’s interior is just as captivating, and the winding road will soon take you there. Along the way, you may spot free-roaming buffalo, descendants of ones left after a movie shoot in the 1920s. They have plenty of open space to wander about because the Catalina Island Conservancy owns 88% of the island and has heavily restricted development.

    You might also catch sight of the Catalina Island fox, a species found nowhere else in the world. Much smaller than their mainland ancestors, the foxes now number in the hundreds, thanks to the conservancy’s efforts to protect them.

    In time, you will arrive at the Airport in the Sky, which sits atop a 1,602-foot-tall mountain at the center of the island. The views are extraordinary from this elevated vantage point, and after admiring the sights you will have the opportunity to walk through the airport’s outdoor nature center or grab a snack at the . Landscaped with native California plants, it offers an enlightening look into the island’s natural history. After visiting, you will return to the pier via the same scenic route.

    Please note: This tour includes limited walking, primarily at the guests’ discretion during the stop at the Airport in the Sky. The tour is available to wheelchair guests who have a collapsible wheelchair, are able to make their own way on and off the coach and have an able-bodied companion to assist them. Those with mobility concerns are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability and guests who suffer from motion sickness should take the appropriate precautions before commencing the tour. Weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. Minimum age to participate is 5 years old. Wildlife sightings are not guaranteed.

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  • Descanso Beach Break

    Spend a delightful day relaxing at a private beach, where you will be free to enjoy the magnificent setting and access the amenities at the beach club.

    After a brief ride from the pier, you will arrive at Descanso Beach, a beautiful stretch of sand that lies in the shadow of the Catalina Casino. The island’s most recognizable landmark, the round Art Deco-style casino was constructed in 1929 for entertaining, not gambling.

    Your time at the beach will be spent doing whatever you please. You might settle in and read a good book, perhaps one recounting the history of Catalina and the Hollywood celebrities that enjoyed leisure time here. Or you may prefer to just bask in the sun on a padded chaise lounge with nothing on your mind but relaxation.

    You may notice that the sand on Descanso Beach is particularly soft and inviting. It was imported and just the right consistency to cover the natural coastline, which is a bit rocky. That way, you can comfortably enter the stunningly blue sea if you want to swim. If you are feeling even more ambitious, you might rent a kayak or snorkeling gear and explore other areas just off shore. The view from the water looking back to the island is spectacular.

    If you get hungry, the beach club is just steps away and you’re welcome to order breakfast on your own. The return to the pier is at your leisure and on your own. The walk back is approximately fifteen minutes.

    Please note: This tour includes approximately 1 mile of easy to moderate walking, plus any additional walking at the guests’ discretion during free time at the beach club. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests or those with mobility concerns. Weather appropriate clothing worn over a swimsuit; sun cap; sunglasses; sunscreen; a towel from the ship; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. Minimum age to participate is 3 years old. Those who take part in any water activities do so at their own risk and responsibility.

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  • Avalon Scenic Drive

    Enjoy an introductory overview of Avalon by riding a trolley around town and learning about the signature attractions and the enormous influence of William Wrigley, Jr.

    Your tour commences at the tender pier where you will soon board a trolley and settle in for a captivating tour of Avalon, a city founded more than 100 years ago. As you travel along, you will notice few vehicles on the streets, as residents wait an average of more than 15 years for a permit to have a car. Golf carts, bicycles and the trolley are the most popular ways to get around.

    Avalon was built around a natural amphitheater in a protected cove, and the setting is absolutely magical. The most recognizable landmark is the Catalina Casino, a round Art Deco building on the sea that was built in 1929 for entertaining, not gambling.

    Catalina Island Country Club is another iconic point of interest. It was originally built for the Chicago Cubs, who spent spring training here. William Wrigley, Jr., of chewing gum fame, owned the team and had an exact replica of Chicago’s Wrigley Field constructed here.

    The Wrigley Memorial and Botanic Garden sits near the top of the canyon and honors the visionary Wrigley, who once owned the entire island. The memorial is made of stones quarried on Catalina and many of the garden’s plants are endemic.

    The trolley route is extraordinarily scenic and highlights attractions you may wish to explore further on your own, after returning to the tour plaza.

    Please note: This tour is primarily a seated, panoramic tour. The tour is available to wheelchair guests who have a collapsible wheelchair, are able to make their own way on and off the trolley and have an able-bodied companion to assist them. Those with mobility concerns are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. Minimum age to participate is 2 years old.

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  • Moonstone Glass-Bottom Boat

    Cruise a marine preserve in a glass-bottom boat that provides a spectacular window to the brilliantly colored, ever-changing world beneath the water’s surface.

    From the tender pier, it’s a short walk to the Moonstone, a vintage wooden boat. Once underway, you will soon arrive at Lover’s Cove Marine Preserve, a protected area teeming with sea life. The 50-foot Moonstone features a large glass bottom and the seats face inward to offer magnificent views of the wonders below no matter where you sit.

    Glass-bottom boat rides have been an attraction in Catalina since the late 1890s, and it’s no wonder. The water is typically crystal clear and the kelp forests rising from the sea bottom provide food and shelter for a staggering number of marine species. While looking down through the glass, you will likely spot bright-orange garibaldis, California’s state fish. Kelp bass are also common at Lover’s Cove. They are olive green and have an elongated third dorsal spine.

    The even larger Pacific sea bass can grow up to four feet long and weigh 400 pounds, so it’s a thrill to see one darting by. Other creatures that you may spot before returning to the pier include seals, sea turtles and the incredibly colorful nudibranch, a type of sea slug.

    Please note: This tour includes approximately 25 minutes of easy walking. The tour is available to wheelchair guests who have a collapsible wheelchair, are able to make their own way on and off the boat and have an able-bodied companion to assist them. Those with mobility concerns are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Guests who suffer from motion sickness are cautioned to take the appropriate precautions before commencing the tour. Weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; sunscreen; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. Minimum age to participate is 3 years old. Wildlife sightings are not guaranteed.

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  • East End Adventure

    Ride in a 4x4 vehicle to the island’s interior, an undeveloped setting where you may spot free-roaming buffalo, bald eagles and other indigenous wildlife.

    After departing from the pier, you will settle in for a wonderfully scenic drive around the island in an open-air but covered H1 Hummer. In keeping with the spirit of conservation so prominent on the island, the 4x4 vehicle has been modified so it runs on vegetable oil.

    Before long, you will leave the compact city of Avalon behind and ascend Catalina Canyon to the top of the ridge. The views will be spectacular from this vantage spot on the island’s east end, and if the weather is clear San Clemente Island will be easily seen on the horizon.

    However, this excursion is more about spotting wildlife than landmarks. A herd of about 150 buffalo, descendants of ones left after a movie shoot in the 1920s, freely roam the island interior. They have plenty of open space to wander about because the Catalina Island Conservancy owns 88% of the island and has heavily restricted development.

    The conservancy has also helped to restore the island’s population of bald eagles, and America’s national bird now thrives here, as well. Other birds commonly seen include Catalina California Quails, Allen’s Hummingbirds and Orange-Crowned Warblers.

    With so much of the island protected, Catalina has become a natural paradise for a variety of creatures that include black buck antelope, mule deer and sea lions and seals along the coast.

    Please note: This tour includes limited walking and is primarily seated in nature. There is a high step-up to enter the vehicle and while there is a step-stool to assist, guests must be able to do so with limited assistance. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and those with mobility concerns are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Guests who suffer from motion sickness are cautioned to take the appropriate precautions before commencing the tour. Weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. Minimum age to participate is 5 years old.

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  • Sea Wolf Undersea Adventure

    Cruise the semi-submersible Sea Wolf to a nearby marine preserve and observe the colorful marine life teeming below the surface and the natural beauty above from the on-deck seats.

    From the tender pier, it’s a short walk to the Green Pier where you will embark the Sea Wolf and then cruise toward Lover’s Cove Marine Preserve, a protected area teeming with sea life. The 54-foot semi-submersible vessel offers unique perspectives of the natural world, above and below the water’s surface.

    If you sit topside on deck, you will enjoy the sea breezes and a spectacular view of the island. You may even spot seals and sea lions on the rocky shore. There is plenty more seating below deck in the Sea Wolf’s spacious, climate-controlled cabin.

    This perspective offers views from about five feet below the surface. Each seat has its own porthole and visibility is often up to 100 feet. These views tend to be more 3-dimensional than in a glass-bottom boat because you are immersed in the underwater environment.

    It’s a vibrant ecosystem as the currents around Catalina Island are ideal for marine life, and the kelp forests rising from the sea bottom provide abundant food and shelter. Keep an eye out for California’s state fish, the bright-orange garibaldi, olive-green kelp bass, Pacific Sea bass, and half-moons, which are easy to identify by their half-moon-shaped tails.

    Other creatures that you may spot before returning to the pier include seals, sea turtles and the incredibly colorful nudibranch, a type of sea slug.

    Please note: This tour includes approximately 20 minutes of easy walking. To reach the underwater viewing area on the boat, guests must negotiate a ladder. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests or those with mobility concerns. Guests who suffer from motion sickness are cautioned to take the appropriate precautions before commencing the tour. Weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. Minimum age to participate is 3 years old. Wildlife sightings are not guaranteed.

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  • Ocean Runner Adventure

    Zip through the sea on a high-speed vessel in hopes of spotting dolphins and migrating whales, a likely event considering that these waters provide an ideal environment.

    It’s a short walk from the tender pier to the Green Pier where you will embark the Ocean Runner. Setting off, you’ll head to Catalina Channel, where you are most likely to spot dolphins and perhaps even whales. The Ocean Runner is an open-air RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat) powered by 500 horsepower, so it zips through the water yet offers a remarkably smooth ride. The Navy SEALs use the same type of vessel in their exercises, so you can expect an exhilarating, adrenaline-charged experience.

    Being so speedy, the Ocean Runner can cover a wide area quickly, which increases the chances of seeing dolphins and whales. Dolphins are particularly plentiful in these waters, including the Common Dolphin, a species easily recognized by the hourglass pattern on their sides. They typically feed on squid and small schooling fish. Larger, dark-gray Risso’s Dolphins are also found here.

    As fun as dolphins are to watch, when a whale breaches the surface, it’s a showstopper. Blue Whales, Fin Whales and Gray Whales all migrate here to feed in the nutrient-rich waters, and you may well spot one. The Blue Whale is the world’s largest mammal, so you can imagine the thrill of seeing one up close from the Ocean Runner.

    While returning to the pier, be sure to scan the shoreline for sea lions and seals and look even higher for buffalo roaming the hills.

    Please note: This tour includes approximately 20 minutes of easy walking. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests or those with mobility concerns. Guests who suffer from motion sickness are cautioned to take the appropriate precautions before commencing the tour. Weather appropriate clothing to include a light windbreaker jacket; sun cap; sunglasses; sunscreen; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. You may get wet from sea spray on this tour. Minimum age to participate is 5 years old. The local operator requires that all guests sign a liability waiver before being allowed to take part in the tour. Wildlife sightings are not guaranteed.

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