Only about 20 miles from Avalon, Two Harbors is a world away from that quaint town, with dirt roads, spectacular natural beauty and a sense of isolation that invites you to relax and unwind.
This remote area of Catalina Island has several names and is the perfect destination for a weekend getaway to one of our Two Harbors Casas. The community itself, named for Isthmus Cove on the leeward side and Cat Harbor on the windward side. Isthmus, the geographic word for a narrow spit of land between two bodies of water, is the word many residents and visitors alike call the area. “The West End” includes Two Harbors as well as the many coves and camps on Catalina Island’s northwestern portion.
Whatever you choose to call it, this part of Santa Catalina Island is very different from the much more frequented Avalon. Two Harbors is a study in isolation. About 200 people live here year round, serving the boaters, campers and hikers that visit the area. Two Harbors is also home to the University of Southern California’s Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies, one of the world’s premier locations to study the marine environment and the impact humans are having on the natural world. Two Harbors camping is a popular activity, whether in tents, tent cabins or at one of the many summer youth camps that dot the area. Two Harbors Casas are the perfect choice for parents who may want to stay close by their young summer campers.
Two Harbors is Catalina Island’s most distinctive area, whether on a map or from the mainland. About a quarter of a mile separates the two coves that give Two Harbors its name, making it the narrowest spot on Catalina Island, Calif. The area is recognizable from the mainland – its low profile easily distinguished when watching the sun sink below the horizon during Southern California’s famous sunsets.
Catalina Island’s profile has long called to boaters. Today, the isthmus is a center for Southern California yachting, serving as a summer destination, a waystation during races and a jumping off point for long-term cruising. For thousands of years before Europeans discovered the island, Two Harbors was home to native islanders attracted to its easy access to the ocean – which served them as both larder and transportation hub. Although its native name has been lost to time, the area that is now Two Harbors was once one of the largest villages on the island. Less than 50 years after Southern California’s mission period devastated the native population, the United States was split by the Civil War and even this remote outpost was impacted by that great conflict. Union troops were stationed in Two Harbors, their work on the island immortalized in the Civil War Barracks, which have become the Isthmus Yacht Club, located on the rise in the center of the isthmus.
Two Harbors At A Glance
- Narrowest point on Catalina island
- Many activities
- Part of unincorporated Los Angeles County
- Services include general store, restaurant and snack stand
- Served by Los Angeles County Fire and Sheriff’s departments