Catalina —  a fabulous Southern California spot with land and water adventures that can be enjoyed on every budget.

A less expensive, romantic and often overlooked way to explore the magical island with family or a significant other is at one of the five camping sites.

The Two Harbors Campground offers both tent camping and cabins which sleep up to six people. This site features 42 individual sites and three group-camping areas. For campground facilities, rangers rent equipment.

The Parsons’ Landing Campground is a bring-your-own supplies locale with eight campsites which can accommodate up to six people. It is accessible only via a hike or kayak trip.

The Black Jack Campground offers select camping equipment rentals for their 11-site facility which is accessible only by hiking, taking the Airport Shuttle or by Safari Bus.

Little Harbor Campground is on the backside of Catalina, right on the beach, accessible by Safari Bus, biking or a somewhat strenuous hike. Select equipment is available for rent.

Hermit Gulch Campground is the only campground within Avalon’s city limits, so it is close to the many things town has offer such as groceries, shopping and nightlife. This locale offers a tent cabin rental that sleeps six.  Other equipment is also available for rent.

Showers, chemical toilets, fresh water, BBQ, fire pit and picnic tables are available at some of the campsites and variations thereof are available at others.

Things to remember about camping in the area:

1. There are no lifeguards.

2. All persons under 18 years of age must be accompanied by an adult.

  • There are no electrical hook-ups at any of the campsites.
  • Fires and smoking are permitted only in BBQ and fire ring areas and there are no wood fires of any kind allowed at the Hermit Gulch campground.
  • There is no gathering of wood or plants or defacing any nature or manmade feature in the area allowed.

6.  Hunting of any kind is prohibited.

  •  Campground and beach quiet hours are between 10:00 pm and 8:00 a.m. which must be observed.
  • No pets allowed in the campgrounds.
  • No littering, and recycle materials in recycle containers provided.

10. Beware of bison, poison oak and rattlesnakes.

If you are camping, hiking on the many beautiful trails is enjoyable, but a permit is required. Garden to Sky Hike that starts at Wrigley Memorial & Botanic Garden is one possibility although there is an admission charge to the garden.

From Blackjack Campground,  you can hike through Cottonwood Canyon to the Airport in the Sky where you can get refreshments before heading downhill to the Little Harbor Campgrounds overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Cycling is also allowed on about eight miles of the Trans-Catalina Trail, also with a permit.

Two Harbors Visitor Information 

Center Open daily from 7:30 a.m. 

to 4p.m. (winter) 6:30 p.m. 

(summer), call (310) 510-4226

You can check out the visuals online, reservations can be obtained online or at  Two Harbors Enterprises

(877) 778-1487 (but there is a telephone processing fee)

Robyn Flans
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