For thousands of years, transportation to Catalina Island – then known as Pimu – involved a hand-crafted dugout canoe and paddle power. Generations of native islanders traveled back and forth to trade with the mainland using these canoes and a comprehensive understanding of the ocean and its moods.
Once the island began to be developed as a resort, Catalina transportation took on a whole new look. Steamers and seaplanes were the way to get to Catalina Island for decades with hundreds of thousands of travelers crossing the channel to visit the island.
These days, riding the ferry to Catalina Island takes just about an hour – and while the ferry captains have a deep understanding of the ocean, you don’t have to. Regular Catalina ferries are available from two companies who between them operate four ports in two counties. Catalina Express operates several daily round trips year round from San Pedro, Long Beach and Dana Point. Catalina Passenger Services operates seasonally from Newport Beach with their large Catalina Island ferry, the Catalina Flyer.
For Catalina summer campers, there’s another option for Catalina ferry service. Catalina Classic Cruises, which provides charter transportation services to a number of summer camps located on the front side of the island, also operates from Long Beach.