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Getting Here and Around
Two companies offer ferry service to Catalina Island. The boats have both indoor and outdoor seating and snack bars. Excessive baggage is not allowed, and there are extra fees for bicycles and surfboards. The waters around Santa Catalina can get rough, so if you're prone to seasickness, come prepared.
Catalina Express makes an hour-long run from Long Beach or San Pedro to Avalon and a 90-minute run from Dana Point to Avalon with some stops at Two Harbors. Round-trip fares begin at $68.50, with discounts for seniors and kids. On busy days, a $15 upgrade to the Commodore Lounge, when available, is worth it. Service from Newport Beach to Avalon is available through Catalina Passenger Service. Boats leave from Balboa Pavilion at 9 am (in season), take 75 minutes to reach the island, and cost $68 round-trip. Return boats leave Catalina at 4:30 pm. Reservations are advised in summer and on weekends for all trips. Keep an eye out for dolphins, which sometimes swim alongside the ferries.
Golf carts constitute the island's main form of transportation for sightseeing in the area, but they can't be used on the streets in town. You can rent them along Avalon's Crescent Avenue and Pebbly Beach Road for about $40 per hour with a $30 deposit, payable via cash or traveler's checks only.
Island Express helicopters depart hourly from San Pedro and Long Beach (8 am-dusk). The trip takes about 15 minutes and costs $86 one-way, $164 round-trip (plus tax). Reservations a week in advance are recommended.
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