14 Jan 2019
Planning a vacation on a budget can be tough. It’s often hard to find fun experiences for multiple people that don’t break the bank.
While there are many fabulous tours, events, and activities on Catalina Island, we have compiled a list of budget-friendly things to do while you’re in town.
This post is part of a series. Activities under $20 (coming soon), activities under $10, and free activities.
Wrigley Memorial and Botanical Garden
ADULTS - $7, VETERANS - $5, KIDS - $3, KIDS UNDER 5 & ACTIVE MILITARY - FREE
At the very top of Avalon Canyon Rd. sits the Wrigley memorial and Botanical Garden. The memorial honors William Wrigley Jr., founder of Wrigley Chewing Gum and a major contributor to the history and development of the island. The garden was created by his wife, and now is known to be a unique showcase of endangered species, plants from around the globe, and native island plants.
Hours: Open every day from 8am-5pm
$10 FOR ROD & REEL FOR 4 HOURS + COST OF BAIT
Joe’s Rent-a-Boat offers fishing rods for rent on the green pier. $10 will cover 4 hours, though you can always pack your own handlines to use at the pier or Cabrillo Mole. You can get real fish bait, or if that grosses you out then stop by the Vons grocery store instead. We recommend canned cat food for chum (smellier the better, you want to attract them to the area) and frozen peas for hook bait (canned is okay, but messier). There are also a few gumball style machines on the pier that give you chum pellets for a quarter or two.
Feeding fish at Lover’s Cove
COST OF CHUM – ABOUT $2 to $5
Again, frozen peas are your friend here. Much easier to manage than bread, and also better for the fish. If you want a truly amazing experience that you can talk about for years to come, head on down to Lover’s Cove with your fish food, wade into the water, and start tossing the bait into the sea. You will immediately be swarmed by eager fish, who are not the least bit shy about swimming through your legs or trying to nab a pea out of your hands. Be sure to keep an eye out for our bright orange Garibaldi, the California state saltwater fish.
HOT TIP: Lover’s Cove is not a sand beach, it’s composed of rocks and pebbles, so water shoes will be your friend.
$10 – MORE TIME WITH RENTAL COSTS MORE (CHUM OPTIONAL)
If you don’t have any snorkel gear of your own, both Wet Spot Rentals and Joes Rent-a-Boat offer $10 rentals for one mask, snorkel, and fins. Bring a bag of frozen peas if you want to attract any fish, but that typically isn’t necessary if you plan to swim around and explore. We have a wide variety of fish in the harbor; see how many you can find!
COST OF KITE
You can buy a kite at Leo’s Drug Store or Island Toys (may be more than $10), but if you really want to pinch pennies then we suggest bringing kites you bought ahead of time. For an even more engaging kid’s activity, you can find DIY kite instructions online. Supplies can be found at Chet’s Hardware, and this allows kids to decorate them however they want. Then bring your kites down to the beach for some family fun.
Three Palms Arcade
25¢ PER TOKEN
It’s very easy to spend a lot of money at an arcade, but if you give your kids a budget and challenge them to see who can win the most tickets then it can be a great way to spend an afternoon. You’ll find all the classic games here, as well as the non-ticket-winning games, such as air hockey. If you want to spend a little more and have a nice meal, we also recommend staying for Three Palm’s delicious flat bread pizza.
Hours: Seasonal, contact (310) 510-0967 for current hours
Movie – Tuesday Matinee
$10 PER TICKET
Catch a movie in our beautiful Catalina Island Casino movie theatre. Tuesdays are matinee days which brings the normally $15 per adult or $13 per child/senior ticket down to $10 for any age. Only own showing per day at 7:30pm. The movies are typically first run films that change weekly or bi-weekly.
Hours: 7:30pm every day – best price on Tuesdays
Movie schedule here.