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Key Info


Beaches, Hiking, Recreation Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend


  • 3.0Value
  • 4.0Food Scene
  • 5.0Atmosphere

An hourlong boat ride will bring you from Long Beach to Catalina Island. This island is popular among California residents and visitors alike for its wildlife, scenic town and beaches, and its prime dining experiences. There are plenty of activities to fill your day on Catalina Island.

Beach lovers can stake out a spot in the sun at South Beach or Middle Beach, which are covered in white sand and located conveniently near shops and restaurants. You can also opt to relax on a private strip of shore at Descanso Beach, where you'll pay a $2 fee to enter the beach club. The club, which is located near the island's casino, offers amenities like private cabana rental, food and drink services, and outdoor showers.

Adventurers may have more fun hiking the Trans-Catalina Trail, which spans 38.5 miles across the island with many camping stops along the way. There are also opportunities for water sports at the beaches as well as a popular zip line route that starts above Descanso Beach and traverses through the unique Catalina landscape.

Catalina Island is also a golfer's paradise as it boasts the oldest course in the state – the Catalina Island Golf Course – which was built in 1892 and is open for nine- or 18-hole play.

The island makes for an ideal daytrip from Long Beach, but there are also an array of upscale hotels in Catalina in case you want to turn your excursion into an overnight. For more information on accommodations, visit the island's tourism website.

To catch the ferry to Catalina Island, buy tickets for the Catalina Express ferry online or in person at the Long Beach Port. The Catalina Express area is located near the Aquarium of the Pacific, and there is a parking lot to keep your car during your Catalina trip. A roundtrip general ticket costs $37.25 for adults, $29.50 for children 11 and younger, $3 for infants and $33.75 for seniors. The boat leaves at many points throughout the day, and you can check the Catalina Express' website for exact times.

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#1 Junipero Beach

While there are miles of shoreline in the Long Beach area, not all beaches are made equal. There's Alamitos, which is easily accessed from the downtown area and close to hotels. There's Rosie's Dog Beach, which is a great place to bring your furry friends. However, a crowd favorite is Junipero Beach – also called Cherry Beach – which stretches along the Bluff Park area.

This strip of coastline begins where Alamitos Beach ends. At Junipero, the high rises that back Alamitos are replaced with the more residential communities of Bluff Park. Here, the sand is soft and waves are calm, making it an ideal place for families. Because the sand area is wide, there's plenty of space for visitors to spread out and you're sure to get a solid spot. The beach has many convenient amenities, such as showers, lifeguards on duty during peak months and bike paths. This is also one of the only areas in Bluff Park with handicap accessible beach entrance. Many people enjoy participating in the free yoga classes that take place on Junipero as well.

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