The Channel Islands of California are an archipelago made up of 8 islands split among 3 counties. Anacapa and San Nicolas are in Ventura County; San Miguel, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, and Santa Barbara are in Santa Barbara County, and San Clemente and Santa Catalina are in Los Angeles County. Of all the beautiful Channel Islands, we like to think that Catalina—is a special one. About 90% of Catalina is conserved land, and there are approximately 4000 year-round residents. Plenty of visitors also come to explore the beauty and fun to be found all over the island. Read on to learn 9 FAQs about getting around on Catalina Island.
1.) Is it walkable? A lot of Avalon is walkable. You can stroll the streets with shops and restaurants in town, and getting to Avalon’s beaches on foot is easy. There are other stops you can make downtown on foot like the Green Pier, the Casino, and fun stops like coffee, candy, ice cream, and an arcade. However, there are some other Catalina destinations you may want to visit that will require some help with transportation. There are plenty of options for transport on the island.
2.) Are taxis available? Absolutely! Catalina Taxi and Tours sends taxi vans to the boat every time a boat docks. You can simply line up near the taxi sign at the edge of the parking area. Taxis can also pick up from the helicopter terminal. Taxis are able to take up to 7 passengers to any destination in the City of Avalon, including Hamilton Cove. Taxi operating hours are 7am to 10pm from Sunday through Thursday, and 7am to 11pm on Friday and Saturday. A wheelchair accessible taxi is available on request.
3.) How do I get to see the other side of the island? Book a shuttle! Catalina Taxi and Tours offers private interior shuttles to the interior of Catalina Island. The taxi vans can accommodate up to 7 passengers as well as luggage and gear. Toyota 4Runners are also an option, and they can carry up to 4 passengers with luggage. If you are hoping to hike some of the amazing island trails, you can reserve a shuttle to head into the interior, then hike and make your way back to Avalon. Be sure to get a hiking permit (for free!) from the Catalina Conservancy. Some of the popular destinations just outside of Avalon include: Airport in the Sky, Two Harbors, Little Harbor, the Summit, Haypress, and Blackjack.
4.) Can I ride a bike? You can. Biking is allowed in Avalon and Two Harbors, and they’re more often used to cruise around short distances to local destinations. For those who are more into mountain biking, you’ll need to get a bike permit to ride into the island’s interior. There are many trails on the island.
5.) Can I rent a car? Nope! The streets of Avalon are charming and quaint. While many residents and island business owners have their own regular-sized cars and trucks, the city has special rules that regulate the size, number, noise, speed, and class of vehicles that operate on the island. The City of Avalon is making an effort to reduce the number of full-size vehicles on the island. There are very long waitlists for island residents and business owners to procure full-size vehicle permits. Visitors cannot rent cars.
6.) What is the deal with the golf carts? Because of the limitations on owning a full-size vehicle in Avalon, golf carts—also called autoettes—are the more common type of transportation on Catalina Island. There are rules regarding the types and sizes of autoettes; one can be registered to each residence or business. You can rent a golf cart for a few hours at a time, but in order to see more of the island, you’ll want to book a tour as golf carts are not allowed in the interior.
7.) Where do tours on the island go? Many different kinds of tours are available to show you some of the greatest spots on the island. Catalina Taxi and Tours offers private Jeep tours with 360-degree views. Tour guides can share some of Catalina’s history with you as you ride through the interior. You can picnic, enjoy picturesque views, and look for local wildlife like bison and Catalina Island foxes. Custom tours are also available.
8.) How can I see more of Catalina’s coast and beaches? Take a cruise! Catalina Divers Supply runs a Coastal Wildlife Cruise—a 2-hour adventure that brings passengers along the island’s coastline. You’ll look for ocean creatures, sea birds, and see some of the beautiful shorelines, beaches, and coves of Catalina.
9.) How else can I get around? Taxi. Pedal boat. Zip line. Kayak. Paddle board. Dinghy. Golf cart. Scuba. Snorkel. Snuba. Submersible. Tour. There are so many ways to explore Catalina Island. Why not hire a Catalina Island Taxi or Tour to take you to some of your must-see stops.
Are you ready for some island adventures? Contact Catalina Taxi at: 310-510-0025, or book a tour online.