Boat-in camping is available at 17 beach campsites spread across 9 remote locations on Southern California’s Catalina Island. All of the campsites are on the beach and only accessible by boat or kayak. The boat-in campsites are located on the leeward coast of the island, which is the same side that Avalon and Two Harbors is located on. Since there are no boat rental services on the island you will need to have your own boat to reach these campsites. Check-in is handled by a ranger that visits each campsite daily via boat.
One of the big attractions to Catalina Island is the buffalo (well, really they are bison, not buffalo) that roam the island. As you are walking around Catalina Island, you will see large hoof prints in the dirt and mud from the bison, but don’t worry they likely will steer clear of you and will not come to visit you in your tent at night.
Since the campsites are very remote you will need to pack in all of your own supplies, as well as a portable camping toilet. Campfires are not allowed at the boat-in campsites. There are no moorings at the boat-in campsites.
Catalina Island Boat-In Camping Features
|Campground Type:||Organized, Primitive|
|Number of Campsites:||17 Campsites at 9 Locations|
|Cost:||Nightly camping fee with prior reservation are $16 for adults; $8 for children. Without reservation $20 for adult; $10 for children per person per day.|
|Hiking Access:||Yes – Hiking Trails nearby|
|Cell Phone Service:||Possible – Some Carriers|
|Operating Season:||Open Year-round|
|Other:||Los Angeles County fire rules and Catalina Island Conservancy rules are strictly enforced. There is a coastal ranger who will make daily visits to each boat-in site. It is strongly suggested that campers come equipped with a VHF radio for medical emergency calls.|
If you encounter one of Catalina Island’s buffalo while camping or hiking, give them plenty of space. The buffalo are normally docile and do not bother with people, however they can charge at you if they feel threatened.
|Nearest City/Town:||Two Harbors, California|
|Location:||Los Angeles County, California|
|Paved Road Access:||No|
|Proximity to Stores:|
|Directions:||Directions to each boat-in campsite will be provided with your reservations.|
|Phone:||310.510.TENT (8368)||Facebook:||Catalina Island Conservancy Facebook Page|
|Web:||Santa Catalina Island Company||Twitter:||Catalina Island Conservancy Twitter Feed|
|Reservations:||Santa Catalina Island Company|
When To Go
Winter – Weather on Catalina Island is pretty mild and the campgrounds are empty in the winter. Highs in the summer can exceed 90 degrees.
Tuesday 10/16 0%
High 78° / Low 65°
Sunny. High 78F. Winds NW at 10 to 15 mph.
Wednesday 10/17 0%
High 77° / Low 65°
A mainly sunny sky. High 77F. Winds S at 5 to 10 mph.
Thursday 10/18 0%
High 78° / Low 66°
Sunny skies. High 78F. NNE winds shifting to W at 10 to 15 mph.
Friday 10/19 0%
High 78° / Low 68°
A mainly sunny sky. High 78F. NNE winds shifting to WNW at 10 to 15 mph.
Saturday 10/20 0%
High 77° / Low 66°
Sunny. High 77F. NNE winds shifting to WNW at 10 to 20 mph.
Sunday 10/21 0%
High 72° / Low 64°
Mainly sunny. High 72F. Winds S at 5 to 10 mph.
What To Do
Hike the Trans-Catalina Trail, which is runs the entire length of the island and connects all of the campgrounds.
You may be able to catch a glimpse of one of Catalina Island’s many bison. The bison were brought to Catalina for a movie shoot in the 1920’s and have been inhabiting the island ever since.
Image Credits: David McCracken