"Santa Catalina Island" Top 5 Page for this destination Santa Catalina Island by Goner

Santa Catalina Island Travel Guide: 210 reviews and 462 photos

Island of Romance

Catalina is the only inhabited island off the coast the greater Los Angeles area, it's only 21 miles long - not a big island, but large enough for a romantic weekend (or otherwise). There is a nice beach for sunbathing, several good restaurants, and comfortable hotels and bed and breakfasts that make for a pleasant stay.

There's much more to do there besides laying on the beach; you can take a submarine ride, rent a golf cart and explore the island or take tours which take you around the town or to the backside of the island, scuba dive, snorkle or take a boat ride around the island day or night.

It's really a great place to get away from the city and enjoy what Catalina's has to offer.

History of Catalina

There have been people living on Santa Catalina Island for at least 7,000 years. Archaeologists have been excavating at Little Harbor which sits on the seaward side of the island and have found evidence of early groups of people who had adapted to marine life. These early people were the Takic branch of the Uto-Aztecan language family.

When the Europeans found this island it was called Pimu by the Pimungans that who lived there. They were excellent seaman and paddled their plank canoes to the mainland to trade as the island was very poor in resources. But, by the mid-1820's the native population was nearly decimated by new diseases they had no immunity to. By the mid-1820's the survivers left for the mainland and along with the Native American groups under the influence of Mission San Gabriel became known as Gabrielinos. There are some left today who are researching and trying to preserve their culture.

For many years the Island was under the influence of the Spanish who found its shores in 1542. Cabrillo claimed the island for the King of Spain, but when New Spain revolted, the island became part of Mexico. The island became a haven for smugglers, they would put their cargo ashore and smuggle it across to the mainland to escape the customs that had been levied by the new Mexican government.

When the California gold played out, prospectors came to the island and found silver. Many of these miners stayed and became squatters. They were evicted by James Lick who asserted his ownership in 1867. For the next 20 years the only inhabitants were sheep and cattle along with herders.

It wasn't long before the hot California summers sent the first vacationers to Catalina. They pitched their tents in the little coves and enjoyed the beaches and cool ocean breeze..

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:A Great Weekend Get-a-Way
  • Cons:Can be very crowded during the summer months
  • In a nutshell:A Great Weekend Get-A-Way in the Spring or Fall
  • Last visit to Santa Catalina Island: Sep 1999
  • Intro Updated Dec 7, 2003
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Reviews (22)

Comments (9)

  • kyoub's Profile Photo
    Mar 8, 2009 at 6:10 AM

    Very informative page. Now I know what I missed by not going there. Sounds like a fun day.

  • 123stingrayzjeff's Profile Photo
    Aug 18, 2006 at 9:00 AM

    Awesome info on Catalina!! I have been here every so often and I always enjoy it..I am a California native and I am always amazed at how many of us never venture to Catalina..That's Ok it's already really popular!!

  • sim1's Profile Photo
    Jan 7, 2005 at 10:36 PM

    Great page Nancy! It sounds like a perfect weekend get-a-way! Wow, I would never expect that there would be buffalo on this island! Great! :-))

  • wcph's Profile Photo
    Sep 27, 2004 at 1:13 AM

    Another nice and interesting page. Best wishes, wcph.

  • shellybelly567's Profile Photo
    Mar 26, 2004 at 10:02 PM

    Have you ever been to Pirate Days on the Island? I heard something about it when I was there last summer...Great page!

  • awayhome's Profile Photo
    Mar 14, 2004 at 10:23 PM

    Great page you have! I would love to visit on the summer, there's look so great! happy travel-))

  • annk's Profile Photo
    Jan 12, 2004 at 1:37 PM

    I still haven't seen the interior of the casino....every time I visit it's closed. Great photo of the buffalo!

  • rozehill's Profile Photo
    Jan 4, 2004 at 11:13 PM

    This is a delightful destination and very interesting about Wrigleys, I suppose they sell the gum on this island too! Magnificent page again!

  • mtncorg's Profile Photo
    Dec 10, 2003 at 9:47 PM

    The only better way to escape the LA chaos quickly is to hike atop the mountains. Nice tips on a very nice destination in SoCal


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