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Santa Catalina Island has many options for overnight travelers from hotels and bed and breakfasts to vacation rentals and cottages. Many of us want to experience the outdoors while we are there and camping offers the best way to do that.

 

Catalina’s Campgrounds

The main port city of Avalon has a campground just up the hill at Hermit Gulch and the west-end town of Two Harbors has a campground called Two Harbors Campground which is a short walk away at Little Fisherman’s Beach. Farther afield is the campground at Little Harbor which can be reached via the Safari Bus from either town.

kayaking-camping-catalina-island-formap

Primitive camp sites are also available. Two that can be reached by hiking or mountain biking include Black Jack Campground at over 1500 feet on the shoulder of Catalina’s highest peak, Mt. Orizaba, and Parsons Landing Campground which is at sea level next to a secluded beach on the west end of the island.

 

Boat-In Camping

Boat-in camping is probably the most adventurous, but also the most rewarding way to stay on Catalina. The Catalina Island Conservancy has set aside nine beaches on the north shore (leeside) of the island for this use. Since none of these beaches have access from land, they require either a sea kayak or boat to get there. Boat operators are available in Avalon and can drop campers off at the beach of their choice. Kayak rentals are available in both towns. Snorkeling is popular at these beaches and in some cases it’s possible to hike above your camp for better views, but watch for cactus, poison oak, and rattlesnakes.

Here are the logistics for boat-in camping:

  • A nightly camping fee is required, reservations are recommended
  • Must bring in a toilet or carry out all waste
  • Must bring in potable water
  • Fires are prohibited
  • Cooking must be done with camp stoves and self-contained BBQs only
  • These are remote spots with little to no shade
  • Pitch tents in designated spots above the high tide line (see tide tables)
  • Dogs / pets not allowed on beaches per LA County code
  • Catalina Island Conservancy rules apply (inquire when you reserve)
  • Rangers visit beaches daily to check permits and make sure everyone is ok
  • The Catalina Island Company website allows campsite reservations.

Getting to Catalina Island is easy. Catalina Express high-speed boats head here daily from Long Beach, Los Angeles, and Dana Point.

Beaches on this map

Hotels on this map

  • Hermit Gulch Campground

    Hermit Gulch Campground is just up the hill from the main port city of Avalon on Santa Catalina Island. They make camping easy at Hermit Gulch. The campground has many […]

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  • Two Harbors Campground

    The Two Harbors Campground on Catalina Island has unique tent cabins for rent in addition to the standard tent campsites. The campground is right on Little Fishermans Cove Beach where […]

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  • Black Jack Campground on Catalina Island

    Black Jack is a remote campground in the central mountains of Santa Catalina Island. It’s popular with hikers and backpackers who are crossing the island on the Trans-Catalina Trail. This […]

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Other locations on this map

  • Avalon

    Avalon is the main port on Catalina and accessible from Long Beach, Los Angeles, and Dana Point

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  • Two Harbors

    Two Harbors is the small town on the west end of Catalina which is accessible from the San Pedro area of LA

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