When the Banning Brothers first began developing Catalina Island as a tourist destination back in the early 19th century, Avalon was seen as a seasonal destination. For generations, visiting Catalina was something that was only done in the summer months. From Labor Day until Memorial Day, the island’s visitor services were minimal – the joke was that “would the last person to leave the island after Labor Day please turn off the lights?” Restaurants closed their doors, busses stopped running and tour boats were hauled from the water.
These days, visiting the island is something that happens 12 months of the year. Hours may change, but restaurants stay open nearly year-round and – while not every activity is available as readily in February as it is in July – there’s still plenty to do 365 days of the year.
What most off-season visitors discover is that discovering Catalina off season gives them an entirely new perspective on this Southern California destination. While they may trade expansive hours, what they get in return is hillsides greened by rain, uncrowded activities and a destination that welcomes them with enthusiasm. Thanks to Southern California’s normally mild temperatures, they can also expect mild winters and sunny skies.