12 Ways to Save Money on a Trip to Catalina Island – Orange County Register
Yes, this Channel Island is beautiful with panoramic views around every turn. Its founders hoped to make it think of a stay off the Italian coast. But it is also expensive to visit, hence its nickname: “the island of Cashalina”.
Here are some tips to make it more affordable:
1 Take the Catalina Express. Unfortunately, the Catalina Express no longer offers its “Free Travel on Your Birthday” offer, but see if you at least qualify for a discount. Catalina Express has the most crossings and departs from Dana Point, Long Beach, and San Pedro several times a day. You can go to the main town – Avalon – or to the two smaller ports. The regular adult fare so far was $ 76 round trip, but those 55 and over paid $ 69 ($ 2 more from Dana Point). Do you have an AAA Auto Club card? You can buy your tickets from AAA and go for $ 67 (plus $ 2 for Dana Point). In the past, Costco has sold gift cards for the Catalina Express – I haven’t seen any lately, but maybe they exist.
2. Hit the Flyer. Look for an offer on the Catalina Flyer catamaran, which sails just once every day from Newport Harbor. As of this writing, the round-trip fare was $ 70, but there’s a discount online that brought the price down to $ 54. I don’t know how long it will be available. Otherwise, check their website for other discount coupons. Also, sites like Groupon sometimes have deals at half the price, but read all the fine print and make a reservation right away. Now this is important: note that there is only one sailing per day, and you really only have a few hours in Avalon before it’s time to come back unless you are staying overnight. . Always good to take that special someone to lunch! Call 800-830-7744 or visit catalinainfo.com.
3. Bum a ride. Take a ride to the ferry terminal so you don’t have to pay for parking. For example, the parking garage near the Catalina Flyer currently charges $ 28 per day.
4. Bring your own beach chairs and towel: If you bring your own towel or chairs and a cooler, you can settle in for the day at one of Avalon’s small beaches, or the more spacious beach at Two Harbors, without having to pay for an expensive lounge chair. .
5. Bring your bike: It costs $ 7 to bring your bike to the ferry, but then you have transportation all day. Most of Avalon is very cycling. To ride the mountain biking trails in the hills, you’ll need a $ 35 Freewheeler Bike Pass that includes an annual membership to the Catalina Island Conservancy. Find out more: catalinaconservancy.org
6. Go hiking: Beautiful meadows with spectacular water views are found in the island’s hinterland, 88% of which are unmanaged and managed by the reserve, from which you will need to obtain a free hiking permit. Check out the Trans-Catalina Trail for some fun times.
7. Go on weekdays or, better yet, in the spring or fall: They are cheaper than weekends, especially out of season. You can save 30% and Avalon will also be less congested.
8. Plan a picnic: There is a Vons store at 240 Sumner Ave. in Avalon, just off the main drag, with the same weekly promotions as elsewhere. Stop and grab some cold cuts yourself and have a cute picnic by the water, without having to bring a cooler. There is also a nice little park with a small lawn and grills that you will see when you get off the ferry; buy charcoal at the store. Note that you cannot bring propane on the ferry. There is also a basketball court and a playground. All free.
9. Book a package: If you buy a hotel and ferry package, you can save money on both. Sometimes other attractions like the zip line are included. The Atwater Hotel is generally the most affordable hotel on the island and has a great location. You can also find houses for rent on your favorite websites. Find out more: catalinaisland.com/
10. Check the room: The Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce lists an ever-changing variety of offers and discounts, and will also keep you up to date with events and even when cruise ships will be in town. Find out more here: Catalinachamber.com
11. Go camping: Hermit Gulch Campground near Avalon offers tent pitches and tent cabins, while Two Harbors Campground is a short walk from the ferry, and you can even have your gear hauled for you. There are also boats and hikes at the campsites, including one that was named by Sunset Magazine as one of America’s best. Find out more here: lovecatalina.com/places-to-stay/camping/
12. Take the bus. Instead of renting an expensive golf cart, simply take the Garibaldi Shuttle for $ 2, which loops 4 miles around Avalon, including the Botanical Garden. It works during the day every day. People 65 and older or people with disabilities can call Dial-a-Ride for the same price. Find out more here: cityofavalon.com/transit
And have a nice day! Let me add that the nature center run by the Catalina Island Conservancy is free and interesting to visit, but as of this writing it has remained closed due to COVID-19. If it reopened on your next visit to the island, stop and take a look.