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


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Christin Bartell



Located off the coast of Southern California, Catalina Island is a breathtaking destination that offers a mix of natural beauty, rich history, and exciting recreational opportunities. Whether you’re a local looking for a weekend getaway or a tourist exploring the wonders of California, Catalina Island should be on your must-visit list.


With its crystal-clear waters, rugged cliffs, and abundant marine life, Catalina Island attracts visitors from all over the world. And while there are various ways to reach this picturesque island, one of the most popular and convenient options is taking a ferry ride from Long Beach.


Known for its vibrant waterfront, lively downtown area, and proximity to other popular tourist destinations, Long Beach serves as the main departure point for ferries heading to Catalina Island. This means that if you’re staying in or near Long Beach, you can easily hop on a ferry and embark on an unforgettable journey to Catalina.


But how long is the ferry ride from Long Beach to Catalina Island? In this article, we will explore the details of this transportation option, including the ferry operators, schedules, duration of the ride, and the scenic views you can expect along the way. So, let’s dive in and discover everything you need to know about this exciting ferry adventure.


Ferry Transportation to Catalina Island

When it comes to traveling to Catalina Island from Long Beach, the ferry is a popular choice among both locals and tourists. Not only does it offer a convenient mode of transportation, but it also provides an opportunity to enjoy the stunning coastal views along the way.


Several ferry operators offer services from Long Beach to Catalina Island, ensuring that you have options when it comes to planning your trip. Catalina Express is the most well-known and established operator, offering frequent daily departures from Long Beach to Avalon, the main city on Catalina Island. Another popular operator is the Catalina Flyer, which offers a daily ferry service from Newport Beach to Avalon.


These ferry services provide a comfortable and enjoyable ride, with spacious seating areas, refreshments onboard, and sometimes even entertainment options. Whether you choose Catalina Express or Catalina Flyer, you can expect a smooth and pleasant journey to start your Catalina Island adventure.


The ferry transportation to Catalina Island runs year-round, ensuring that you can visit the island at any time of the year. However, it’s important to note that the schedules may vary depending on the time of year and demand. It’s recommended to check the websites of the ferry operators for the most up-to-date schedules and to make advanced reservations.


The convenience of ferry transportation to Catalina Island extends beyond just getting there. If you’re planning to bring a bicycle, kayak, or even your beloved four-legged friend, most ferry operators allow for such items and pets to be transported for an additional fee. This makes the ferry a great option for outdoor enthusiasts and pet owners looking to explore the island.


Whether you’re looking for a day trip to Catalina Island or planning a longer stay, the ferry transportation provides a convenient, reliable, and enjoyable way to reach this stunning destination. So sit back, relax, and get ready for an unforgettable journey as you set sail from Long Beach to Catalina Island.


Ferry Operators and Schedules

When planning your trip to Catalina Island from Long Beach, it’s important to know the ferry operators and their schedules. By understanding your options, you can choose the one that best suits your needs and ensures a smooth and convenient journey.


The primary ferry operator from Long Beach to Catalina Island is Catalina Express. They offer daily departures from the Catalina Landing in downtown Long Beach to Avalon, the main city on the island. The Catalina Express fleet consists of modern, high-speed catamarans that can comfortably accommodate passengers and provide a fast and efficient journey.


Catalina Express operates multiple departures each day in both directions. During peak travel times, such as weekends and summer months, there may be more frequent departures to accommodate the higher demand. It’s advisable to check the Catalina Express website or contact their customer service for the most accurate and up-to-date schedules.


In addition to Catalina Express, another ferry operator that offers service to Catalina Island is the Catalina Flyer. They provide daily departures from Newport Beach to Avalon. The Catalina Flyer offers a more leisurely pace, allowing passengers to enjoy the journey while taking in the sights and sounds of the ocean.


Similar to Catalina Express, the Catalina Flyer has varying schedules throughout the year, with increased frequency during peak travel seasons. It’s recommended to visit their website or contact their customer service to confirm the schedules and make any necessary reservations.


Both Catalina Express and Catalina Flyer offer round-trip ferry tickets, allowing you to conveniently return to Long Beach or Newport Beach after your visit to Catalina Island. The fares may vary depending on the season and the type of ticket (economy or premium), so it’s a good idea to compare prices and book in advance to secure your preferred departure times.


Before embarking on your ferry journey, make sure to arrive at the designated departure point with ample time to check-in and board the vessel. It’s always a good idea to prepare for some waiting time, especially during peak travel periods, so that you can start your island adventure stress-free.


By familiarizing yourself with the ferry operators and their schedules, you can make informed decisions and plan your trip accordingly. So, go ahead and choose the ferry that best fits your needs, and get ready for an exciting journey to beautiful Catalina Island!


Departure Point: Long Beach

When setting off on your ferry journey to Catalina Island, Long Beach serves as the main departure point. Known for its vibrant waterfront and bustling downtown area, Long Beach offers a convenient and easily accessible location to begin your adventure.


The departure point for most ferry operators, including Catalina Express and Catalina Flyer, is the Catalina Landing. This terminal is conveniently located in downtown Long Beach, making it easily reachable by various means of transportation. Whether you’re arriving by car, taxi, ride-sharing service, or public transportation, you’ll find ample parking options nearby and convenient drop-off areas.


As you approach the Catalina Landing, you’ll be greeted by a bustling hub of activity. The terminal is equipped with modern facilities, including ticketing booths, waiting areas, and restrooms, ensuring a comfortable and organized experience for passengers.


The Catalina Landing is strategically positioned near popular attractions, restaurants, and hotels in downtown Long Beach. This allows visitors to explore the area before or after their ferry ride, adding to the overall experience of visiting Catalina Island. Whether you’re looking to enjoy a meal at one of the waterfront restaurants, stroll along the picturesque Long Beach Harbor, or visit the famous Queen Mary, there is plenty to see and do in this vibrant area.


One of the advantages of departing from Long Beach is its proximity to other notable Southern California destinations. If you’re planning to explore more of the region, you can easily combine your trip to Catalina Island with visits to nearby attractions. From Long Beach, you’ll have convenient access to popular destinations such as Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, and even Disneyland Resort, all within a short drive from the Catalina Landing.


When planning your visit to Catalina Island from Long Beach, it’s important to consider transportation to and from the Catalina Landing. If you’re staying in Long Beach, you can easily reach the terminal by walking, taking a short ride-share trip, or using public transportation options such as buses or the Metro Blue Line. If you’re staying outside of Long Beach, it’s recommended to plan your transportation in advance or utilize the available parking facilities near the Catalina Landing.


Departing from Long Beach offers not only a convenient starting point for your journey to Catalina Island but also the opportunity to explore the vibrant city before or after your ferry ride. So, get ready to set sail from Long Beach and embark on an exciting adventure to beautiful Catalina Island!


Duration of the Ferry Ride

One of the most commonly asked questions when planning a trip to Catalina Island is, “How long is the ferry ride from Long Beach?” The duration of the ferry journey can vary depending on the operator, vessel, and sea conditions. However, on average, the ferry ride from Long Beach to Catalina Island takes approximately one hour.


Catalina Express, the main ferry operator, offers high-speed catamarans that are designed to provide a swift and efficient journey. These vessels can reach speeds of up to 30 knots, ensuring a relatively quick trip across the Channel. The Catalina Flyer, on the other hand, offers a more leisurely pace, which allows passengers to enjoy the scenic views and relax during the journey.


It’s important to note that the duration of the ferry ride can also be affected by external factors such as weather and sea conditions. During periods of rough seas or inclement weather, the ferry operators may adjust their schedules or slow down the vessels for safety reasons. Therefore, it’s advisable to check the current conditions and any potential delays or updates before your planned departure.


While the ferry ride itself may take around an hour, it’s crucial to factor in additional time for check-in, boarding, and disembarking. It’s recommended to arrive at the terminal at least 30 minutes before your scheduled departure time to ensure a smooth process. During busy travel periods, such as weekends and holidays, it’s wise to allow for more time to account for potential crowds and longer waiting times.


As you embark on your ferry journey from Long Beach to Catalina Island, you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy scenic views of the Pacific Ocean. Keep an eye out for playful dolphins, graceful seabirds, and even the occasional whale sighting during the crossing. The open-air decks of the ferry provide a perfect vantage point to take in the breathtaking surroundings and capture memorable photos.


Whether you choose the high-speed Catalina Express or the more leisurely Catalina Flyer, the duration of the ferry ride from Long Beach to Catalina Island is relatively short, allowing you to swiftly reach your coveted island destination. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy the journey as you make your way to the enchanting Catalina Island.


Scenic Views during the Journey

As you embark on your ferry journey from Long Beach to Catalina Island, you are in for a treat as the voyage itself offers stunning and picturesque views of the surrounding coastal landscapes.


Leaving the shores of Long Beach, you’ll be greeted with panoramic vistas of the Pacific Ocean stretching out into the horizon. The sparkling blue waters, gentle waves, and fresh marine air create a sense of tranquility and anticipation for the adventure that awaits you on Catalina Island.


One of the highlights of the ferry ride is the opportunity to spot marine wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled for playful dolphins gracefully swimming alongside the ferry, their acrobatic jumps and flips a sight to behold. Seabirds, such as pelicans and seagulls, might also accompany you on your journey, effortlessly gliding through the air and diving into the water in search of food.


As you continue your voyage, you’ll notice the rugged coastline of the Palos Verdes Peninsula coming into view. The towering cliffs, with their distinctive sandstone formations and vibrant greenery, create a dramatic backdrop against the azure waters. Make sure to have your camera ready to capture the breathtaking beauty of this coastal landscape.


As you get closer to Catalina Island, the charming town of Avalon starts to come into focus. The iconic Catalina Casino, perched on the waterfront, is a sight that will surely captivate your attention. This architectural masterpiece, with its stunning Art Deco design, is a focal point of the island and serves as a reminder of Avalon’s glamorous past.


During the ferry ride, both Catalina Express and Catalina Flyer provide open-air decks where you can take in the panoramic views and immerse yourself in the natural beauty surrounding you. Feel the gentle sea breeze on your face and savor the serenity of being surrounded by the vastness of the ocean.


As you approach Catalina Island, you’ll be treated to a memorable sight: the crescent-shaped Avalon Bay. The crystal-clear waters, lined with palm trees and colorful buildings, create a postcard-perfect scene. This picturesque view is a tantalizing glimpse of the wonders you’ll discover once you set foot on Catalina Island.


Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a photography enthusiast, or simply someone who appreciates the beauty of the ocean, the scenic views during the ferry journey from Long Beach to Catalina Island will leave you in awe. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the visual feast that unfolds before your eyes as you make your way to the enchanting Catalina Island.


Arrival at Catalina Island

After a scenic and enjoyable ferry ride from Long Beach, you’ll arrive at your destination – Catalina Island. As the ferry docks in the charming town of Avalon, you’ll be greeted by the vibrancy and charm that this island paradise has to offer.


Stepping off the ferry, you’ll find yourself immersed in the beauty of Avalon. The picturesque harbor, lined with colorful buildings and palm trees, sets the stage for your Catalina Island adventure. Take a moment to breathe in the sea air and soak in the atmosphere of this idyllic coastal town.


Once you’re on the island, you’ll have a range of exciting activities and attractions to explore. Catalina Island is known for its pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and abundant marine life. Whether you’re an avid snorkeler, a kayaking enthusiast, or simply someone who enjoys lounging on the beach, Catalina Island offers something for everyone.


For those interested in history and culture, a visit to the Catalina Island Museum is a must. This museum showcases the island’s rich history, from its Native American roots to its transformation into a popular tourist destination. Learn about the island’s connection to Hollywood and marvel at exhibits on local art and culture.


Outdoor enthusiasts will be delighted by the hiking opportunities on Catalina Island. Set out on one of the island’s scenic trails and discover breathtaking vistas, lush landscapes, and unique wildlife. The Trans-Catalina Trail offers a challenging trek that takes you through diverse terrain, from rolling hills to pristine beaches.


Exploring the town of Avalon is also a must for visitors to Catalina Island. Stroll along the waterfront promenade, explore the boutique shops, indulge in delicious seafood at one of the waterfront restaurants, or simply relax and take in the island vibes at a cozy café.


If you’re looking for a bit of adventure, consider taking a tour of the island by zip line. Soar through the air, catching breathtaking glimpses of the coastline, and feel the adrenaline rush as you zip from one scenic point to another. It’s an unforgettable experience that will leave you with lifelong memories.


Whether you plan to spend the day, a weekend, or even a week on Catalina Island, there’s no shortage of things to do and see. From watersports and outdoor activities to cultural experiences and relaxation, Catalina Island offers a diverse array of attractions for visitors of all ages and interests.


As you explore Catalina Island, remember to check the ferry schedules for your return trip to Long Beach. It’s recommended to plan your time accordingly and allow for some flexibility to fully enjoy all that the island has to offer.


Arriving at Catalina Island is just the beginning of an unforgettable adventure. So, disembark from the ferry, take a deep breath, and let the magic of Catalina Island unfold before your eyes.



Embarking on a ferry ride from Long Beach to Catalina Island is not just a means of transportation, but an experience in itself. The journey offers breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, the chance to spot marine wildlife, and a sense of anticipation as you approach the charming town of Avalon.


With convenient departure points, such as the Catalina Landing in Long Beach, and ferry operators like Catalina Express and Catalina Flyer providing comfortable and enjoyable rides, reaching Catalina Island has never been easier.


Once you arrive at Catalina Island, you’ll be greeted by the vibrant town of Avalon, offering a range of activities and attractions for all types of travelers. Whether you’re seeking adventure in the great outdoors, relaxation on pristine beaches, or immersion in the island’s rich history and culture, Catalina Island has something to offer.


As you explore the island, take the time to indulge in the scenery, whether it’s the stunning coastline, the playful dolphins, or the charming streets of Avalon. Immerse yourself in the island life, from outdoor activities like hiking and water sports to leisurely strolls along the waterfront promenade.


Make the most of your time on the island, but also remember to check the ferry schedules for your return trip to Long Beach. Plan your day accordingly, allowing for flexibility to fully enjoy all that Catalina Island has to offer.


In summary, a ferry ride from Long Beach to Catalina Island provides not only a convenient mode of transportation, but also a chance to enjoy breathtaking views, immerse yourself in the island’s beauty, and create lasting memories. Catalina Island awaits, so hop aboard the ferry and embark on an unforgettable adventure to this captivating destination.