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Old 06-22-2012, 09:18 AM   #1
Twinprincesses
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Catalina Island Question...

Is it really that expensive to get out to the island? Everything I have looked at is around $70 round trip per person just to get to the island.
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Old 06-22-2012, 01:30 PM   #2
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Unfortunately yes, that sounds about right.
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Old 06-22-2012, 07:57 PM   #3
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If you happen to be travelling on your birthday you can go for free. There's a link on the Catalina site and on the Catalina Express site.

We went last summer and loved the island. Hope to go back next year.
There's a long post about Catalina not too far down on the Southern CA forum.
It was $70 when we went. We upgraded to the lounge for $15 but I didn't think it was worth it.

Last edited by endy; 06-22-2012 at 07:59 PM. Reason: correction
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Old 06-23-2012, 04:38 PM   #4
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Yes, it's expensive to get there. It's a cute little beach/island town atmosphere and very walkable. If you're going over to SCUBA dive or do something that you can only do there, it may be worth it. And there are a few discount coupons floating around that might shave a little off a few dollars.

But if you're just looking for the beach-town atmosphere and the price of Catalina scares you, you might be better off going to Newport or Balboa for the same type of feel.

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Old 06-23-2012, 06:03 PM   #5
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Thank you, I just hate to pay that much for the 4 of us only to find the kids want to leave.
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Old 06-23-2012, 08:11 PM   #6
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This is the Catalina thread to which endy was referring: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2703621

I started it mainly to inform people about the free birthday round-trip boat offer (through April 2013), but it kind of turned into a general purpose Catalina thread. (I'm heading back to Catalina in about a month, so expect to see my Catalina Island Superthread popping up very soon - it's been in the works for a while!)

I must admit that Catalina has been my second favorite Southern California location (Disneyland being my first) for probably about 25 years. At some points in my life, I was actually more interested in visiting Avalon (the main town on Catalina) than I was in visiting Disneyland.

But, that said, unlike Disneyland - where you pay X number of dollars and instantly have access to all the rides and shows - with Catalina you pay the money for the boat trip and then you still have to pay more money when you get there to do other things. That is one aspect I don't like.

I have spent some trips to Avalon just walking around the tiny city and looking in shops, sitting and watching the ocean, taking pictures, etc. In other words, spending little to no money beyond the boat fare - and still having a great time! And then I've spent other visits there moving about at a frantic pace, busily rushing from one tour to another, with barely any time to eat and spending lots of money! I am easily entertained and amused, though - I can find great joy in just sitting there, staring at the ocean, whereas many other people (kids, especially) would be bored to tears doing that!

I wholeheartedly believe that a trip to Catalina is worth it - and endy is one of the ones who went there largely based on my recommendation and enjoyed it! Most folks fall in love with Avalon. Yes, there are other beachy towns to see that do not cost $, but there is a certain charm to Avalon that I can't explain. And there are lovely views from up in the hills as well as lots of interesting sightings of sea life, eagles, deer, buffalo, etc.

However, if you have kids who are prone to getting bored easily, or getting fussy and wanting to leave, I can totally, completely understand how you'd be reluctant to shell out the money and bring them to Avalon only to have them suddenly state that they want to leave. That makes sense. It's a lot of money to spend if you don't know that the kids will like it.

But other than that issue, Catalina/Avalon is an amazing place and I highly recommend that everyone visits at least once!

By the way, I can remember when my friends and I paid somewhere in the range of maybe $35 to get to Catalina and back - and we thought that was expensive!
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And for some non-holiday seaside fun in the sun ~~ 2012 Catalina Island/Avalon Trip Report - My Solo Day Trip, in Photos (LOTS of Photos!)- 7/21/12 & Highlights from 2013 & 2014

Last edited by Sherry E; 06-24-2012 at 04:40 PM. Reason: Typo
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Old 06-23-2012, 08:38 PM   #7
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Twinprincesses
My ds was 14 last summer and hadn't paid much attention to the Catalina travel guide or the pictures I tried to show him. I think within an hour of arriving he was in love with the town. We did all the tours at a comfortable pace, we were there for 5 days tho. He tried sucba diving, segway tour, mini golf and real golf. You wouldn't believe all the cool golf carts there are that people drive around instead of cars.

Your girls are 9, I think they should enjoy Avalon. Check out the website at
http://www.catalinachamber.com/
look at all the stuff there is to do and pick a few things they would like. I highly recommend the undersea tour.

Read Sherry's super thread.
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Old 06-24-2012, 04:29 PM   #8
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Thank you so much. We are torn with what to do for a couple of days and this may just be perfect.
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Old 06-24-2012, 04:55 PM   #9
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Just some extra info...

Not too long ago Groupon had a discount on Catalina Express boat fare, I think, that was quite substantial. You may want to check there. Often times the Entertainment Book (which everyone uses for hotel discounts when they visit Disneyland) offers very small discounts on Catalina Express.

By the way, I recommend the Express because Catalina Express is the boat with the most frequent departures and arrivals (especially during summer). The Express is great for one-day trips because you can get an early boat out and an evening boat back.

If you take another boat service like the Catalina Flyer, the departures and returns are very limited, and will allow you very little time to actually do anything in Avalon (like in the way of tours and all that). The Flyer would be okay if you were staying a couple of nights or more in Avalon, but for a one-day trip it's not good.

You can often get package deals that combine the Catalina Express with a 2-night stay at one of the hotels in Avalon, depending on which nights of the week you're staying. Some of the packages may include the Flyer as well.

I second endy's recommendation of the undersea tour (also known as the Semi-Submersible). It's much better than the famous glass bottom boat in terms of actually being able to see some ocean critters up close. My friends and I saw a shark when we did that tour! The Flying Fish tour is a lot of fun as well (it's a nighttime tour).
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And for some non-holiday seaside fun in the sun ~~ 2012 Catalina Island/Avalon Trip Report - My Solo Day Trip, in Photos (LOTS of Photos!)- 7/21/12 & Highlights from 2013 & 2014
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Old 07-16-2012, 06:39 AM   #10
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Wow. Lots of good info Sherry E
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Old 07-17-2012, 06:45 PM   #11
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I've been going to Catalina since childhood, and I've always loved it. As a teenager, I asked my parents to take me there for my birthday (they did!)

Our boys are currently ages 5, 11 and 12, but we've been taking them to Catalina since our oldest was 2 years old. They LOVE Luau Larry's for lunch and the small beach with all the floaties you can rent/buy. The walk along the main street is entirely manageable for little kids and the glass bottom boat is tons of fun for tiny ones. Next year, our kids are old enough for the kayaking and ziplining, and those are high on our list of activities.

The Catalina Flyer from Newport to Avalon is tons of fun. (I've taken both the Flyer from Newport and the Express from Long Beach, and I'm entirely loyal to the Flyer.) We grab breakfast- to-go at the bakery around the corner, get in line for boarding and enjoy the ride out of the Newport Harbor to Avalon. The Flyer is one of the highlights of our Catalina visit.

As a previous poster mentioned, if the cost of Catalina is too high, consider a visit to the Newport peninsula and Balboa Island. A little different, but equally as wonderful.

P.S. Hi Sherry!!!
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Old 07-17-2012, 06:47 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherry E View Post
Just some extra info...

If you take another boat service like the Catalina Flyer, the departures and returns are very limited, and will allow you very little time to actually do anything in Avalon (like in the way of tours and all that). The Flyer would be okay if you were staying a couple of nights or more in Avalon, but for a one-day trip it's not good.
I should add that, although I'm loyal to the Flyer, I completely agree with Sherry's analysis. The schedule is limited, so it has to fit yours to make it work. I've taken the Express when the Flyer schedule doesn't fit my travel plans.
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Old 07-17-2012, 06:56 PM   #13
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We went for $49 a piece back about 10 days ago. We used the Catalina Flyer from Newport Beach. I wrote a little piece about it with some pics in my trip report.
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