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How Long Is The Ferry Ride From Newport Beach To Catalina Island


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Kara Niemann



California is renowned for its stunning coastal destinations, and one of the most popular attractions is Catalina Island. Located just off the coast of Southern California, this picturesque island offers a serene and idyllic escape from the bustling city life. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, taking a ferry from Newport Beach to Catalina Island is a convenient and enjoyable way to reach this paradise.


The ferry ride from Newport Beach to Catalina Island not only offers a convenient mode of transportation but also a breathtaking journey through the pristine waters of the Pacific Ocean. As you embark on this adventure, you’ll be treated to stunning panoramic views, an abundance of wildlife, and the anticipation of the island’s wonders awaiting you.


In this article, we’ll explore the various ferry options available for your journey, discuss the duration of the ride, highlight the activities and amenities on board, and provide tips for a hassle-free journey. So sit back, relax, and let’s dive into the details of this unforgettable ferry ride from Newport Beach to Catalina Island.


Ferry Options from Newport Beach to Catalina Island

When it comes to traveling from Newport Beach to Catalina Island, there are multiple ferry options to choose from, catering to different preferences and schedules. The two main ferry companies that operate this route are Catalina Express and Newport Flyer.


Catalina Express: This is the most popular and reliable ferry service, offering year-round departures from Newport Beach to Avalon, the main city on Catalina Island. Catalina Express operates modern and spacious vessels with various departure times throughout the day. The journey takes approximately one hour, allowing you to reach Catalina Island in no time and enjoy a full day of exploration.


Newport Flyer: If you’re looking for a more luxurious and exclusive experience, Newport Flyer is a great choice. This high-speed catamaran offers a more intimate atmosphere with limited seating, providing a comfortable and personalized journey. Newport Flyer operates during the peak season and offers departures to both Avalon and Two Harbors on Catalina Island, giving you more flexibility in choosing your destination.


It’s important to check the schedule and availability of these ferry services in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons or holidays. Additionally, consider making reservations online to secure your spot and avoid any last-minute inconveniences.


Both Catalina Express and Newport Flyer offer online booking options, allowing you to conveniently plan your trip ahead of time. Keep in mind that ferry prices may vary depending on the season, time of day, and the type of service you choose. It’s always a good idea to compare prices and check for any available discounts or promotions to ensure you’re getting the best deal.


Now that you’re familiar with the ferry options available from Newport Beach to Catalina Island, let’s dive into the next section to explore the duration of the ferry ride.


Duration of the Ferry Ride

The duration of the ferry ride from Newport Beach to Catalina Island can vary depending on factors such as the type of ferry and weather conditions. On average, the journey takes approximately one hour. However, it’s essential to check the specific departure times and schedules of the ferry companies for accurate information.


If you choose to travel with Catalina Express, their high-speed vessels ensure a swift and efficient journey, allowing you to reach Catalina Island in approximately one hour. Their experienced captains and crew prioritize safety and comfort, providing passengers with a smooth and enjoyable ride across the ocean.


On the other hand, if you opt for Newport Flyer, the high-speed catamaran offers a faster journey compared to traditional ferries. With their hydrofoil technology, the travel time can be reduced to around 45 minutes. This option is perfect for those looking to minimize travel time and spend more time exploring Catalina Island.


While the ferry ride duration is relatively short, it’s advisable to plan your schedule accordingly and arrive at the terminal at least 30 minutes before your designated departure time. This allows for check-in procedures, loading luggage, and ensuring a stress-free start to your island adventure.


It’s important to note that ferry journeys are also subject to weather conditions. In case of adverse weather, the ferry companies may adjust or cancel the departure for safety reasons. It’s always a good idea to monitor weather forecasts and check for any updates or notifications from the ferry company to avoid any inconvenience.


Now that we’ve covered the duration of the ferry ride, let’s move on to the next section to discover what to expect on the ferry itself and the amenities available.


What to Expect on the Ferry Ride

Embarking on a ferry ride from Newport Beach to Catalina Island is not only a means of transportation but also an experience in its own right. During the journey, there are several things you can expect that will add to the excitement and enjoyment of your trip.


First and foremost, expect stunning views and an opportunity to embrace the beauty of the Pacific Ocean. As you leave the Newport Beach harbor, you’ll be treated to panoramic vistas of the coastline and the open sea. Keep your camera handy to capture memorable moments and the breathtaking scenery along the way.


The ferries are designed with passenger comfort in mind. Depending on the type of ferry service you choose, you can expect spacious seating areas with comfortable seats, ample legroom, and large windows to soak in the surrounding views. Some ferries also offer outdoor seating options, allowing you to feel the refreshing ocean breeze and take in the coastal ambiance.


The ferry rides to Catalina Island are relatively smooth, thanks to the experienced captains and crew who navigate the waters. However, if you are prone to motion sickness, it may be a good idea to take precautions beforehand, such as taking medication or opting for a seat near the center of the vessel where the motion is minimal.


Additionally, the ferry services provide onboard amenities to enhance your journey. You can expect clean and well-maintained restrooms, onboard concessions offering snacks and beverages, and friendly staff members who are available to assist you throughout the voyage.


During the ferry ride, the crew members often share interesting facts and information about Catalina Island, its history, and attractions, enriching your knowledge and building anticipation for your arrival. They are also available to answer any questions you may have and provide guidance on how to make the most of your time on the island.


Once you reach Catalina Island, expect a smooth docking process at either Avalon or Two Harbors, depending on your chosen destination. The ferry companies ensure efficient disembarkation, allowing you to step foot on the island and begin your adventure without delay.


Now that you know what to expect on the ferry ride, let’s proceed to the next section to explore the activities and amenities available during your journey.


Activities and Amenities on the Ferry

While the ferry ride from Newport Beach to Catalina Island offers a chance to relax and enjoy the scenic views, there are also various activities and amenities available to make your journey even more enjoyable.


One of the primary amenities you can expect on the ferry is onboard concessions. You’ll find a selection of snacks, beverages, and other refreshments to satisfy your cravings during the ride. Grab a cup of coffee, indulge in a tasty snack, or enjoy a refreshing beverage as you soak in the ocean views.


Most ferries provide onboard Wi-Fi, allowing you to stay connected and share your journey with friends and family. Whether you want to post pictures of the stunning coastal scenery or check your emails, having access to Wi-Fi ensures you can stay connected while on the go.


In addition to onboard amenities, the ferries also offer entertainment options to keep you engaged during the journey. Some vessels are equipped with televisions and screens where you can watch movies or catch up on your favorite shows, adding a touch of entertainment to your travel experience.


For those who love shopping, some ferries have onboard gift shops where you can browse and purchase souvenirs, Catalina Island merchandise, and other items to commemorate your trip. It’s a great opportunity to find unique mementos and gifts for yourself or loved ones.


Moreover, while onboard, the crew may provide informative talks, highlighting interesting facts, history, and tourist attractions on Catalina Island. These talks provide valuable insights and can help you plan your itinerary for your time on the island, ensuring you make the most of your visit.


Lastly, don’t forget to take advantage of the photo opportunities aboard the ferry. Capture the scenic views, the open ocean, and the excitement of the journey to create lasting memories of your trip. You never know when you’ll come across a perfect moment that you’ll want to cherish forever.


With these activities and amenities available on the ferry, your journey from Newport Beach to Catalina Island becomes more than just a mode of transportation—it becomes an immersive and enjoyable part of your overall experience.


As we wrap up this section, let’s move on to the next to discover the scenic views you can expect during the ferry ride.


Scenic Views during the Ferry Ride

The ferry ride from Newport Beach to Catalina Island treats passengers to a spectacular display of scenic views that will leave you in awe. As you embark on this journey across the Pacific Ocean, be prepared for a visual feast that showcases Southern California’s natural beauty.


As the ferry departs from Newport Beach, you’ll be greeted with picturesque coastal views. The golden sandy beaches, rolling waves, and vibrant beachfront communities create a stunning backdrop as you sail away from the mainland. Take a moment to appreciate the iconic beach lifestyle that California is renowned for.


As you venture further into the open ocean, you’ll be captivated by the deep blue hues of the Pacific stretching as far as the eye can see. The endless expanse of water is both mesmerizing and serene, providing a sense of tranquility as you leave the bustling coastal city behind.


Keep your eyes peeled during the journey as wildlife sightings are not uncommon. Dolphins playfully swimming alongside the ferry, gracefully leaping out of the water, or catching a glimpse of a majestic whale in the distance. These encounters with marine life add an extra layer of excitement and create unforgettable memories.


As you approach Catalina Island, the landscape transforms into a rugged and rocky shoreline, creating a dramatic and picturesque panorama. The island’s rugged cliffs, rolling hills, and lush vegetation come into view, setting the stage for the adventures that await you on Catalina Island.


Whether you choose to sit inside and enjoy the views from the large windows or opt for outside seating to feel the gentle sea breeze against your face, the scenic beauty surrounding the ferry will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression.


Don’t forget to bring your camera or smartphone to capture these breathtaking sights. From the shimmering ocean waves to the towering cliffs and the wildlife encounters, these photo opportunities are a reminder of the natural wonders that await you on Catalina Island.


Now that you know what scenic views to expect during the ferry ride, let’s move on to the final section, where we’ll share some tips to ensure a smooth journey.


Tips for a Smooth Ferry Journey

To make your ferry journey from Newport Beach to Catalina Island as smooth and enjoyable as possible, consider the following tips:

  1. Plan ahead: Check the ferry schedules and availability in advance, especially during peak seasons. Make online reservations to secure your spot and avoid any last-minute inconveniences.
  2. Arrive early: Be sure to arrive at the ferry terminal at least 30 minutes before your designated departure time. This allows ample time to check-in, load your luggage, and get settled on the ferry.
  3. Dress comfortably: Opt for comfortable clothing and shoes, as you’ll be spending an hour or more on the ferry. Layering is recommended, as temperatures can vary both on the ferry and on Catalina Island.
  4. Check the weather: Keep an eye on the weather forecast before your journey. Adverse weather conditions can impact the ferry schedule or even result in cancellations. Stay informed to avoid any surprises.
  5. Stay hydrated: Bring a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated during the journey. While some ferries offer onboard concessions, having your own water bottle ensures you have easy access to fluids throughout the ride.
  6. Bring snacks: Although some ferries have onboard concessions, you may prefer to bring your own snacks. Pack some light snacks or a picnic to enjoy during the journey, especially if you have dietary restrictions or preferences.
  7. Motion sickness remedies: If you are prone to motion sickness, consider taking anti-nausea medication or using other remedies recommended by your healthcare professional. Sit near the center of the ferry to minimize motion, if possible.
  8. Enjoy the amenities: Take advantage of the onboard amenities, such as Wi-Fi, onboard entertainment, and onboard gift shops. Make the most of your time on the ferry by engaging in activities or simply relaxing and taking in the views.
  9. Follow safety instructions: Pay attention to safety instructions provided by the crew and follow their guidance. Familiarize yourself with the location of life jackets and emergency exits in case of any unforeseen circumstances.
  10. Stay connected and charged: Ensure that your electronic devices, such as cameras or smartphones, are fully charged before boarding the ferry. Consider bringing portable chargers to keep your devices powered during the journey.

By keeping these tips in mind, you can have a smooth and enjoyable ferry journey from Newport Beach to Catalina Island, setting the tone for an amazing adventure on the island.


As we conclude, we hope this article has provided valuable insights into the ferry options, duration, amenities, scenic views, and tips for a smooth journey from Newport Beach to Catalina Island. Prepare yourself for an unforgettable experience as you embark on this picturesque voyage to discover the wonders of Catalina Island.



Embarking on a ferry ride from Newport Beach to Catalina Island offers more than just a means of transportation. It’s a gateway to a captivating island paradise with stunning coastal views and unforgettable experiences. Whether you choose Catalina Express or Newport Flyer, the ferry options available ensure a convenient and enjoyable journey.


During the approximately one-hour ferry ride, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, coastal landscapes, and the possibility of marine wildlife sightings. Onboard, comfortable seating, amenities such as concessions and Wi-Fi, and even entertainment options are provided to enhance your experience.


As you glide across the ocean waves, anticipation builds for the adventures that await you on Catalina Island. Explore the charming town of Avalon or venture to the more secluded Two Harbors. Engage in water activities, hiking trails, or simply relax on the sandy beaches.


To ensure a smooth journey, remember to plan ahead, arrive early, and dress comfortably. Keep an eye on the weather and bring essentials such as water and snacks. Following safety instructions and taking motion sickness remedies if needed will help you fully enjoy the ferry ride.


As you disembark on Catalina Island, you’ll be greeted by its rugged cliffs, rolling hills, and lush vegetation. The memories you make during the ferry ride will be a prelude to the abundant beauty and adventure that await you on this beloved island destination.


So, whether you’re a local seeking a quick escape or a visitor yearning for a Southern California getaway, the ferry ride from Newport Beach to Catalina Island provides an unforgettable experience. Book your tickets, get ready to embrace the scenic views, and embark on a journey that will leave you with lasting memories of Catalina Island’s charm and natural wonders.