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What you need to know about the helicopter to Catalina

a large body of water with a mountain in the background

For most people, getting to Catalina involves a relaxing ride on the Catalina ferry, an hour-long experience that frequently involves seeing dolphins, chatting with friends and perhaps an adult beverage or two. However, the helicopter to Catalina is another way to get to the island.

Previously known as Island Express, IEX Helicopters has been providing Catalina helicopter service since 1982. They depart regularly from their heliport in Long Beach, near the Queen Mary, and also offer regular weekend service from San Pedro. Charter flights via helicopter to Catalina can be arranged from Newport Beach and Burbank. The service operates 364 days a year, with several round-trips a day from Long Beach.

a plane sitting on top of a mountain

The helicopter to Catalina Island takes just 15 minutes from Long Beach, slightly longer from the other departure points. Flights go directly to the island, landing at the heliport in Pebbly Beach, about one mile from Avalon. While aloft, passengers are treated to spectacular views of Catalina Island as well as the possibility of spotting whales and other marine life. Hoping to see more of the island? Catalina Island helicopter tours are also available and allow travelers to see some of the island spectacular vistas and views. Flight tours of Catalina can be arranged for either 30 minutes or 15 minutes. Heli-hiking and heli picnics are also available as are heli-marine expeditions to search for whales and dolphins with an on-board marine biologist. IEX Helicopters can also arrange helicopter tours of Southern California as well as transportation to various SoCal destinations and festivals, including the Catalina Wine Mixer.

Due to safety considerations, all passengers on the Catalina Island helicopter need to abide by weight and luggage restrictions. Passengers must disclose their weight when making reservations and will also be weighed before departure.

a view of a car window

The sunset over the ocean is even more beautiful from the Catalina helicopter.

Ready to fly to Catalina Island? Click here to make reservations.