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Nine things to know about Catalina Island

a boat is docked in a harbor

Top nine things every Catalina Island visitor needs to knowCatalina Island takes a lifetime to know – and there are people who live here their entire lives and never learn everything there is to know about this Southern California vacation paradise. Here’s our top nine things you need to know to enjoy your getaway on Catalina Island.

We’re not a foreign country: Santa Catalina Island is part of California and Los Angeles County. Avalon, the island’s only municipality, is a general law city with its own city council. Law enforcement is provided by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the island is governed by the same laws as the rest of the county – included drinking age, open container and DUI laws.

Catalina has been inhabited for thousands of years: Long before it became a vacation destination, this island was home to generations of native islanders who had their own culture and community. Learn more at the Catalina Island Museum.

You need to get out of town: While Avalon offers plenty to see and do, the rest of Catalina Island is a protected environment featuring unique flora and fauna found nowhere else. Take a tour or take hike, but make sure to see what the rest of the island has to offer.

a man standing on a rocky beach next to the ocean

Catalina Island, California

You can do everything you want — or nothing at all: There are hundreds of things to do on Catalina Island – you can make your vacation a non-stop adrenalin-fest or you can relax and perfect the art of doing nothing at all.

Catalina Island is a big place: You’ve got plenty of room to explore. Catalina is approximately 76 square miles and it includes 62 miles of coastline.

Santa Catalina is part of an archipelago: Catalina Island is just one of the eight islands that make up the Channel Islands. It is the only inhabited island in the archipelago, the others are military bases or protected wildlands – including the Channel Islands National Park.

Nearly the entire island is protected: Just about 90 percent of the island is owned by the Catalina Island Conservancy, a non-profit organization founded in the 1970s to preserve and protect the island – forever.

Not everyone is on vacation: Santa Catalina Island is home to approximately 4,000 people who live, work and raise their families here.

One trip is never enough: The most important thing to know about Santa Catalina Island is that it’s addictive. With so much to see and do – you’ll want to come back again and again.

a large body of water with a city in the night sky

Catalina Island, California