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Getting To and From LA's Catalina Island (And It Doesn't Involve a Car)

June 11, 2009 at 3:54 PM | by | ()

Santa Catalina Island, better known simply as Catalina, is close enough to LA to be part of Los Angeles County. The rocky island is just over 25 miles away from the mainland, making it a prime destination for meandering locals and vacationing tourists. In between gorgeous beaches and deluxe hotels, the Island boasts stunning reefs, creepy shipwrecks, and a century-old casino.

The problem, and this is where the "island" part becomes kind of important, is that in between Los Angeles and Catalina is a huge body of water. Turns out, this is one of the few places in LA you can't reach by car, no matter how long you're willing to sit in traffic.

Luckily there are a variety of options for getting to the Island paradise. They begin at very reasonable prices and then quickly get more expensive, albeit significantly more comfortable.

Unsurprisingly, the most common way to get to Catalina is by boat. The Catalina Express leaves from Long Beach, San Pedro, and Dana Point and will ferry you to multiple points around the Island. A round trip from Long Beach to Avalon, the central bay and the site of Catalina's most populated city, is $66.50. Going in each direction should take about an hour.

Tourists seeking a more ostentatious experience - or ones who need to get to Catalina really, really fast - might want to investigate helicopter rides. Island Express provides shuttle service between Long Beach and Catalina daily from 8am to sunset. 15 minutes plus $164 gets you there and back.

If you've got your own plane you can fly into the sunset and into Catalina's Airport In The Sky. The facility dates back to 1946 and sits at the top of a 1,602 ft mountain. To make the runway they blasted the peaks of two adjacent mountains and then used the debris to fill in the empty space. There's a restaurant that takes advantage of the view, a gift shop, and plenty of gorgeous hiking trails. The facility is only 10 miles out of town so it's worth a visit even if you get in by boat or helicopter.

[Photo: Wikimedia]

Related Stories:
· Los Angeles Coverage [Jaunted]
· Island Coverage [Jaunted]

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