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Ferry to Catalina

Discover the best ferry crossings to Catalina Island

Dana Point-Avalon

USA ⇔ Catalina Islands
1h 30 mins.
Up to 3 times p/day
From: 44,00

San Pedro-Avalon

USA ⇔ Catalina Islands
1h 18 mins.
Up to 7 Times p/day
From: 42,00

San Pedro-Two Harbors

USA ⇔ Catalina Islands
1h 18 mins.
Up to 7 Times p/day
From: 42,00

Long Beach-Avalon

USA ⇔ Catalina Islands
1h 30 mins.
Up to 3 times p/day
From: 44,00

Newport-Avalon

USA ⇔ Catalina Islands
1 Hour 5 Mins.
4 times per day
From: 39,00

Get to Catalina by ferry

So you want to become one of the million visitors that visit Catalina Island every year.[1]Catalina Island in Numbers – Catalinaintours.com But what is the best way to get there?

We did the research for you. Five ferry lines can get you there if you want to travel by ferry. Helicopters, planes, and private boat charters are also available, but those are far more expensive options. So for this time: let's go by ferry.

  • The Catalina Flyer from Newport Beach to Avalon is the fastest ferry to Catalina. This ferry is, however, a day-trip ferry, so this ferry only leaves at 9:00. Update: This changed recently, you are now also able to book multiple one-way trips!
  • The other four options are the regular ferries from the Catalina Express that leave from 4 harbors and arrive at two ports on the Catalina Islands. (Two Harbors and Avalon)

Please take a look at our map to see all possible options if you want to take the Catalina Island ferry.

Map with all ferry routes to Catalina

All connections go directly towards Catalina Island. No stops in between, and you can't travel by ferry to the other island(s) around Catalina. (San Clemente Island, for example) Not much to do there any way besides diving and fishing! 

Catalina Island ferry tickets and availability

Our online booking module makes finding and booking tickets for your desired ferry crossing very easy. All you have to do is enter your departure port, destination, and travel dates. The system will show you the best routes and possible alternatives. You can then choose the ferry that best suits your needs and budget!

Catalina Island ferry price

The price to get a round trip to Avalon on Catalina Island in 2023 is the following: 

  • San Pedro – Avalon $42.50 
  • Long Beach – Avalon $42.50, and $62.50 for the Commodore Lounge.
  • Dana Point – Avalon $44.50

There are, however, different prices based on seniority or on what you bring along:

  • Children @ $34.75 ea.
  • Senior @ $39.00 ea.
  • Infant @ $4.00 ea.
  • Bike/Surfboard @ $3.50 ea.

And if you want to know if an upgrade to the Commodore Lounge is worth it, read the following:

As someone who dislikes standing in queues, I found some reviews about reserving a spot in the Commodore Lounge, which convinced me to do the same. It cost me $103.50 roundtrip for one person, but paying an extra $20 was undoubtedly worth it to access the Commodore Lounge. By choosing to upgrade, I was among the first passengers to board the ferry, and I was also given a voucher for a complimentary beverage and a snack. The seating inside the lounge was enclosed and incredibly comfortable, similar to what you might find in business class on an airplane. I was thrilled with our decision to upgrade, and I'm already looking forward to my next trip to Catalina!

Did you know this ferry used to be free on your birthday?

Until 2017 Catalina Express offered a free ride on your birthday, however, due to the popularity and too many people taking advantage of this offer, they stopped this promotion in December 2017.

High-Speed ferry day trip to Catalina

The quickest crossing is the Catalina Flyer to Avalon. This fast ferry sails only at 9:00 AM ( Be there one hour early for early check-in), and the standard rate is above $ 50. Update: The prices for this ferry has been reduced to $39 and now has multiple sailings per day! The High-speed ferry departs from Newport Beach. You can leave your car behind in the parking lot. Here is a list of all Newport Beach parking spots nearby (and, unfortunately, the high hourly rates).
1 Catalina Flyer

Newport-Avalon

The ferry from Newport Beach to Avalon is a very fast ferry that sails in about 75 minutes to Catalina Island. Important to know: Pets are not allowed on this ferry.

From: 39,00
Read full review

To Catalina island by car 

No cars allowed

No cars allowed on Catalina Island

This island's popularity stems from its unique feature of prohibiting cars, making it a highly sought-after destination. Upon arrival, you have the option to rent golf carts. However, everything on the island is located within walking distance, rendering the need for a golf cart unnecessary. Except perhaps for Two Harbors, which is located 18 miles away.

Catalina Flyer

San Diego to Catalina Island

When you want to take the ferry to Catalina Island, and you arrive from San Diego, the best ferry to take is the ferry between Dana Point and Avalon. Not only due to the distance but primarily due to the easiness of parking near the ferry terminal. 

Navigate to: Dana Point Harbor Drive, and it's hard to miss all the parking spots. Also, check out this image we made with all parking spots at Dana Point Harbor.

All other connections are more into the city, meaning that parking gets more expensive and complicated, especially if you travel from San Diego. 

Cruises from San Diego to Catalina Island

Currently, a limited number of Pacific coastal cruises depart from San Diego, with occasional stops at Catalina Island. However, as of the time of writing, there are no available cruises. It's worth noting that when these cruises are operational, the San Diego to Catalina leg is just a small portion of the overall journey, which can result in exorbitant prices relative to the experiences offered.

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Frequently Asked Questions: Catalina ferry

Yes, you certainly can, however, it's not a very fun day experience as it would take a complete day and it's not the best route on the Island. The hiking routes through the hills are a better option. Those hiking routes however take at least two days, so you would need to make sleeping arrangements. 

The cheapest crossing is the crossing from San Pedro to Avalon. However, there isn't much difference in the 5 travel options. Are about the same price and distance.

At Downtown Long Beach (next to the Aquarium of the Pacific) you can leave by ferry to Avalon. This ferry takes about 1 hour and has several crossings per day.

Tickets for this ferry can be bought through the links above or through the booking engine on this page. Either way, the price will be more or less $50 for the crossing. 

  • Long Beach: $23 per day or ~$4 per hour.
  • San Pedro: $20 per day or ~$2 per hour.
  • Dana Point: $20 per day or ~$3 per hour.
  • Newport: $27 per day or ~$2 per hour.

 

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5 Comments
  1. I always park at Dana Point at Golden Lantern Parking, a very convenient and easy way to get to Catalina from the San Diego region.

  2. Can't wait for my next trip to Catalina Island!

  3. We would be coming in from the desert to the east (Palm Springs). Does anyone familiar with greater L.A. roads and traffic (we’re not) know if one of the departure points – San Pedro, Dana Point, Long Beach, Newport Beach – is better than others for us? I.e., would it make sense to drive farther, down to Dana Point, because we might miss some of the L.A. traffic by going east and south of the city? Or is it better just to aim for the closest ferry?

    • Hi Jeff,

      We would go for Newport Beach, as the CA-91W is also a toll route and is now the fastest route to Dana Point due to traffic conditions. Navigate to the Balboa Pier Parking Lot.

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References
References
1 Catalina Island in Numbers – Catalinaintours.com
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