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.
Saturday 12/15 10%
High 68° / Low 50°
Clear. Lows overnight in the low 50s.
Sunday 12/16 10%
High 65° / Low 56°
Sunny skies. High around 65F. Winds W at 5 to 10 mph.
Monday 12/17 10%
High 64° / Low 56°
Cloudy. High 64F. Winds W at 5 to 10 mph.
Tuesday 12/18 10%
High 63° / Low 58°
Mainly sunny. High 63F. Winds NW at 5 to 10 mph.
Wednesday 12/19 0%
High 68° / Low 61°
Sunny. High 68F. Winds NNW at 5 to 10 mph.
Thursday 12/20 0%
High 69° / Low 60°
Mainly sunny. High 69F. Winds NW 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