Catalina Island Reopens to Visitors, With Safe Measures

The ferries are running at "reduced capacity," so advance bookings are recommended. Also? Beachside eating is happening.

Catalina Express

What to Know

  • "Social distancing and face covering guidelines remain in place at all establishments on the island"
  • The Catalina Express is running each day between Long Beach and Avalon (with reduced capacity)
  • A number of restaurants are offering beachside dining; check ahead before you go to see what each island eatery is offering

THAT STORIED AND SUBLIME ISLE, the one that's located 22 miles across the sea from mainland Southern California? It's a bison-beautiful, shoreline-sublime land that's long been known for welcoming leisure travelers with warmth, charm, and outdoorsy pleasures aplenty. Leisure travel came to a halt for several months during the pandemic, but ardent fans of Catalina Island remained well-connected to one of their favorite places. After all, the island did send a moving, you-are-missed love letter to mainlanders in June, and shared its cool Frida Kahlo show, the one with the outdoor projections, later in the summer. And the incredibly rare chance to spend the night in the world-famous Casino building? That came up in October. Catalina has still been itself, in short, and awaiting those eager to return.

THAT CAN NOW HAPPEN, as leisure travel has reopened to the island. There are a few things to know, starting with your trip across that much-sung-about "sea" (indeed, it's the Pacific Ocean we speak of). The Catalina Express is making daily trips between Long Beach and Avalon, but due to reduced capacity, booking your ticket in advance is a must. Face coverings, physical distancing, and other safety guidelines are being observed at all island businesses, too, so be sure to arrive with your mask. And dining? It's outdoors, with a briny twist in some spots: Tables have moved to the beach, with plenty of space for each set-up, at some places.

TO FIND OUT MORE... about hotel specials, the alfresco dining at Catalina's restaurants, and how you should plan for your ferry ride to the island and back, visit Visit Catalina Island now.

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